We continue our series about what is stated concerning Jesus in the various books of the New Testament. Today, we will examine the book of Philippians. Notice the distinctive relationship between God and Jesus throughout this book of Philippians, especially the superior role of God compared to Jesus.
“To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi.” (Phil 1:1) God is always the one in control, and using Christ to gather his people.
“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Phil 1:2) God and Jesus are separate and distinct. Holy Spirit, since it is not a person, does not give greetings.
“God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.” (Phil 1:8) God and Jesus are spoken of as separate and distinct.
“Filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God.” (Phil 1:11) Fruitage from God flows through Jesus and brings glory and praise to God.
“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who although he existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped.” (Phil 2:5-6 NASB) Jesus would not even think about trying to be equal to God. Christians are to have the same attitude of humility. Obviously, Jesus is separate from and inferior to God.
“He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted him.” (Phil 2:8-9 NASB) Jesus’ obedience bespeaks his submission to his Father. His death means he is not God, and not eternal, since he was not in existence while he was dead. God, the superior one, highly exalted Jesus, not the other way around.
“For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:3) Christians serve God and worship him, not Christ.
“But that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.” (Phil 3:9) The righteousness from God comes through faith in Christ. God and Christ are separate individuals, with God as superior.
“The prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:14) God calls Paul heavenward through Jesus. Same point as above.
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:7) Same point as above.
“My God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:19) “My God” is obviously the Father. His gift “Christ Jesus.”
Throughout the book of Philippians, we find the distinctive relationship between God and Jesus. The superior role of God compared to Jesus is evident upon examination of the above verses.
All scriptures quoted from New International Version (NIV) unless noted otherwise.