I heard a pastor say that a born again child of God should think he is equal to God. Is this how a believer should interpret this verse in Philippians 2:5 (KJV)?
ESV - 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.
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I would emphatically disagree with the interpretation of the pastor mentioned by the questioner. Paul himself explains what he means by "the mind that was in Christ Jesus" in the verses immediately following the one cited in the question (Philippians 2:6-8). Although Christ was (and is) eternally a Person of the Triune God, He willingly humbled Himself by being incarnated as a human. Rather than demanding the worship and obedience that was His right as God, He became a servant to all of humanity, living the life of sinless obedience to God that none of us could or can; voluntarily dying an undeserved, excruciating death to pay the penalty that was required by God for humanity's sin, and that no one else could have paid; and then rising from the dead to live forever so that humans, by placing their faith in Him, rather than in their own imperfect righteousness, would also be able to live eternally in God's presence. Jesus Himself said that He had come not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28). This is what Paul was speaking of in the passage cited. Those who place their faith entirely in Christ's death and resurrection to bring them into a right relationship with God are then to follow Christ's example of humility, obedience to God, and service to others, out of love and gratitude for the salvation and eternal life that He has made possible. This is what Paul meant by "the mind that was in Christ Jesus". As Christians, we are, by pure grace on God's part, co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17), but we will never be equal with God -- either now or in eternity. It was the temptation and desire for that equality that caused humanity's original fall into sin (Genesis 3:5).
My short answer is that God's Word tells us and this specific scripture is instructing us as His children to "have the mind, mindset and attitudes that Jesus Christ, our Lord exemplified while here during His life of 33 years. Jesus was, is and forever will be perfectly personified Holiness and Divinity and Grace! He taught us to "love our neighbor as we love ourselves". He came to set our ultimate example as our guiding light in this life and to set our path straight and, most importantly, be our Devine, everlasting Savior as that He is one with God, The Father and His Holy Spirit! "Praise God that He Provided a Savior"! And, His name is Jesus Christ!" ~~~Andy~~~
It is true, one has a right to agree or disagree. Having the mind of Christ is very simple to understand to a spiritual person. In John's gospel 5:30 Jesus says, “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” Having the mind of Christ is simply doing the father's will. If one calls himself a believer and if he is doing his own will...he needs to examine himself to see if he is in the faith. Christianity is not a game..it is life to them that believe. You are either in the system or not.
No, the born-again child of God should not think of himself as God. I memorized this verse as a new Christian, late teen. I remember quoting it to my mentor who came to my high school football games, standing at the fence, as I ran with the team out onto the field. (Daryl Miller). We quoted from the J.B. Phillips translation of the New Testament: "Let Christ himself be your example as to what your attitude should be." And if there's one thing I learned at Dallas Seminary where we students had this drilled into us: "attitude determines action" (by Professor, Dr. Howard Hendricks). I believe the best translation of the verse takes into consideration the Greek: “Have this attitude in/among yourselves which also [was] in Christ Jesus.”
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