The Christian Life Ought to Mirror the Life of Our Lord
The Christian life ought to mirror the life of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is the teaching of the Apostle Paul. It is especially clear in two places in his letter to the Philippians. In 2:1-11 and 3:1-11 Paul touches upon this theme. In the second chapter Paul grounds his call to humility and unity in the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Just as the pre-incarnate Son of God set aside the prerogatives and privileges of his heavenly estate in order to save a fallen race, so also the Christian ought to look out for the interests of others. In the third chapter of Philippians Paul warns the Philippians to avoid a reliance upon circumcision and reminds them that they ought to find their righteousness where Paul himself has found it, namely, in Christ. Paul's concern is to be able to share in the sufferings of Christ so that he might also share in the resurrection glory. A couple of things need to be said at this point. The most general and abstract point that can be made is that the Christian life flows from the particularities of true doctrine. In Philippians 2 the factuality and nature of the incarnation sets a pattern for Christian behavior. Paul's rigorous demands could not be founded upon a fairy tale. In Philippians 3, union with Christ provides the foundation for the colors and contours of the Christian life. By being found in Christ with a righteousness not his own, Paul follows the path of his Savior and Lord. Simply put, the Christian life ought to mirror the life of our Lord. Humiliation precedes exaltation. Pilgrimage precedes arrival at the heavenly destination. The church wanders in the wilderness before it enters its final rest. This is a basic biblical paradigm. There is one final thing to say. It should go without saying, but it needs to be said anyway. We should not put the cart before the horse. One must be saved before one can serve. One must experience the grace of the gospel before one can endeavor after new obedience. To use a common technical expression: the indicative must precede the imperative. What God has done must go before what we are called to do. Does your life mirror the two estates of Christ?