In a world promoting the ‘get what you want and get it now’ attitude, Christ’s attitude is mind-numbing and shocking. Christ “took the nature of a slave” despite being “in the rank of Godhead.” He dispossessed Himself of His rightful station and fashioned Himself as a human being. He allowed Himself to die. Paul calls upon Christians to do the same:
Yours is to be the same mind which Christ Jesus shewed. His nature is, from the first, divine, and yet he did not see, in the rank of Godhead, a prize to be coveted; he dispossessed himself, and took the nature of a slave, fashioned in the likeness of men, and presenting himself to us in human form; and then he lowered his own dignity, accepted an obedience which brought him to death, death on a cross.
What prize do we covet?
John tells us: “When all things began, the Word already was. The Word dwelt with God, and what God was, the Word was. The Word, then, was with God at the beginning, and through Him all things came to be; no single thing was created without Him.”
Paul reiterates that “it is in Christ that the complete being of the Godhead dwells embodied.” (Colossians 2:9)
Therefore, since Christ is God, “our release is secured and our sins are forgiven through the shedding of His blood.” (Ephesians 1:7) “In Christ indeed we have been given our share in the heritage, as was decreed in His design whose purpose is everywhere at work.” (Ephesians 1:11)
We need not worry. “We are citizens of heaven, and from heaven we expect our deliverer to come, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 3:20) “The Lord is near; have no anxiety.” (Philippians 4:6)
“Of one thing I am certain,” writes Paul, “the One who started the good work in you will bring it to completion by the Day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)
“What use is it for a man to say he has faith when he does nothing to show it?” ask James. (James 2: 14) “With faith; if it does not lead to action, it is in itself a lifeless thing.”
The author of Hebrews asks, “And what is faith?” And offers this answer: “Faith gives substance to our hopes, and makes us certain of realities we do not see.” (Hebrews 11: 1)
Abel offers a better sacrifice than Cain by believing God is good. “Without faith it is impossible to please [God]; for anyone who comes to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who search for Him.” (Hebrews 11: 6)
Jesus says that faith as tiny as a mustard-seed is able to “give substance to our hopes.” Our faith is not in our good deeds, but in Christ, “for it is in Christ that the complete being of the Godhead dwells embodied, and in Him [we] are brought to completion.” (Colossians 2: 9)
Our faith is not lifeless, but alive. Though we do not see the realities of which we are certain, our faith does indeed “give substance to our hopes.” And this living faith allows us to act.