Our Humble God

The worship team at Wellspring has been memorizing Philippians 2:1-11 together over the past couple of weeks. If you are not familiar with this passage, it is one of the more famous sections of Scripture that deals with humility. Specifically, it paints a wonderful picture of the way that Christ showed us humility by becoming a man and going to the cross with full obedience to pay for our sins and satisfy God’s wrath. Verses 6-8 say this:

Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

It goes on to say that because of His great humility in making himself nothing, He now sits as Lord over everything for all eternity. But, dwelling on this passage got me thinking: Is humility a trait of the Godhead only found within Christ, or do the Father and the Spirit also possess a similarly perfect example of humility.

I admit, it is weird to think of God as humble, especially considering the amount of Scripture that deals with Him being exalted above the heavens and having His glory proclaimed throughout the earth. These are not normally evidences of humility. We know that God values humility, in fact, The Bible goes so far as to say that He “opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5, James 4:6), but the question I want to answer is this:

Does God display humility? And if so, how do the Father, Son, and Spirit model a humility for us to imitate?

The Father

There are several ways in which the Father displays humility, but the one that is most compelling for me is His forgiveness. There is something inherently humble in the act of forgiveness. Think about it, what have you ever done in your life that is more pride destroying than taking the deep and real hurt you received at the hands of another and wiping it away rather than demanding justice for the wrong that they did toward you. When we forgive others, we are taking the debt that they owe us and paying it ourselves. This is truly humble. And this is what the Father does for us. In sending Christ to die for our sins, He is saying, “Because of my great love for, and my desire to see you reconciled to me, I will not destroy you eternally for your sins against me, instead I will sacrifice what is most precious to me, my Son. His death will perfectly pay for your sins and make possible our restored relationship.”

What is most humble, and most remarkable, about this is that the forgiveness that God offers is to unrepentant sinners. Romans 5 says that God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. God does not forgive those who come asking for it, He forgives first out of His gracious and humble heart. This is the hardest thing to do. To look someone in the eye who has wounded you deeply and has shown no remorse or care for you and say to them, “I forgive you, and I do not hold what you have done against you any longer.”

And He did it for us!

The Son

Of the members of the Trinity, Jesus is the one who’s name is most synonymous with humility. The Philippians passage says it best:

Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

There are several statements in this passage that point to the humility of Christ. Let’s analyze each briefly to get a sense of how the communicate the humble nature of our Lord:

He did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped

Jesus Christ is God. He is the perfect image of God. He is the Word, which is God. He is the exact imprint of His nature. In other words, He is fully and completely equal with God, but He didn’t think that this truth was something to be “grasped.” In other words, Jesus did cling tightly to this like a child with a toy that he doesn’t want to share. Instead, He chose to humble himself for our sake and decide to not partake of many benefits of being God.

He made Himself nothing and took the form of a servant

This statement links back to the previous one. He was in the form of God, but took the form of a servant. He came to serve by giving His life on the cross, not to be served like he deserved(Matthew 20:28). Jesus deserves our service, but He chose to serve us, becoming the suffering servant from Isaiah 53 who had nothing pleasing about His form and died at the hands of the Father Himself to save our sinful souls.

He was born in the likeness of men

If you have ever witnessed a birth, you know why this is a humble act. There are things I would choose to do, but being birthed for a second time is not one of those things.

As a man, He was obedient to the point of death on the cross

The humility of Jesus is on two levels. He was not only humble in becoming a man. But, as a man He humbled Himself by going to the cross. Considered to be the most brutal way to be killed, the cross was not something people chose out of love, but, as a man, Jesus did just that. He bore extreme physical pain and infinitely more extreme spiritual pain because of His love for a wretched sinner like me.

The Holy Spirit

Look at this passage from John 16:

“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”

The key is the four words in bold. The Spirit glorifies the Son. This is the way that the Holy Spirit displays humility. His job is not to glorify Himself, to draw attention to His own being. Instead, He supernaturally points people to Christ. That’s His job. He is certainly worthy to be praised, being equal with the Father and Son, but He choses to constantly deflect praise to Christ. It is a divine humility that we would do well to follow. Unlike the Spirit, we have no worth of our own, therefore, we should be even more eager to point others to Christ.

So what do we do with all this?

The simple answer is that if our God is a humble God, we should pursue humility with passion. We should seek to forgive as our Father has forgiven us. We should glory in Christ and follow His example of counting others more significant as ourselves as Philippians 2:3 says. And, with the Spirit we should seek to bring attention to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, before whom every knee shall bow and every tongue will confess. Let us be among those who confess and praise Him while we have breath, that we might meet Him face to face and rejoice in our humble and glorious God.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in God's attributes, Theology. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s