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1 Peter 5:6 “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time.”

Otherwise, if we try to exalt ourselves, God must come along and humble us.

Remember the Greek people were a proud people and the Jews were filled with nationalistic pride.

Gromacki: “Paradoxically, he illustrated exhortation with doctrine, whereas most preachers try to make their doctrinal sermons practical.”


A. Humbling in Mind — Christ’s Mindset Chose Service to Others Over Personal Rights (:5-7)

1. We must keep on thinking like Christ

“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.”

speaking of that inner disposition to seek the prosperity of others

2. We cannot hold on to our personal rights

“who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped”

Jesus’ existence did not begin in the manger in Bethlehem or even in the womb of Mary.

Pentecost: “If these Greeks should think they have a superior vantage point, how much superior was the vantage point of the Son of God, for He was not the most exalted among men, He was the eternal Son of the eternal God. If any had a right to consider Himself, a right to express His own rights, it was Jesus Christ.”

Wycliffe: “Though in His pre-incarnate state he possessed the essential qualities of God, he did not consider his status of divine equality a prize to be selfishly hoarded”

morphe, form, in verses 6 and 7 denotes a permanent expression of essential attributes, while schema, fashion (v8), refers to outward appearance that is subject to change

Our Lord was in the form of God. Thus the outward expression of His inmost being was as to its nature the expression of the divine essence of Deity.

context is speaking of the outward expression (not the inward possession) of the divine attributes

3. We must empty ourselves in order to serve others (seek their prosperity and welfare above his own personal interests)

“but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.”

Christ did not empty himself of His Deity, but of the rights and privileges and full manifestation of that Deity

Wycliffe: “unlike the first Adam, who made a frantic attempt to seize equality with God (Gen 3:5), Jesus, the last Adam (1 Cor. 15:47), humbled himself and obediently accepted the role of the Suffering Servant”

Active process of humbling himself began with the Incarnation but extended much further

Gromacki: “Christ surrendered the independent exercise of His divine attributes. In the incarnation, he yielded His will to that of the Father. He was God manifest in the flesh. Therefore He possessed the attributes, but He used them only under the control of the Holy Spirit and within the will of the Father for His earthly life.”

B. Humbling in Action — Christ’s Obedience Was Absolute and Humiliating (:8)

1. The mindset must be accompanied by the action

a. the mindset — “having been found in likeness as a man”

b. the action — “He humbled Himself”

the word means “to make or bring low”

2. Christ’s obedience was Absolute — “unto death”

“up to the point of” — not obedient to death, for He remained

the Master of all and willingly yielded up His spirit

substitutionary atonement for sin

3. Christ’s obedience was Humiliating — “even the death of the cross”


A. God has Exalted Christ to the Position of Absolute Supremacy (:9)

“Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name”

MacArthur: Christ’s exaltation was thus fourfold: resurrection, ascension, coronation, and intercession. He rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. There He was seated on the throne of God to intercede as High Priest of His people. He sympathizes with us (Heb. 4:15); who is “holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens” (Heb. 7:26); and “always lives to make intercession for [believers]” (Heb. 7:25). Just as the descent of Christ into humiliation was in steps (He was in the form of God but willing to let that go; humbled Himself; became a servant; was made in the likeness of men; was found in fashion as a man; and was obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross [Phil. 2:5-8; see pp. xx-xx]), so His resurrection, ascension, coronation, and intercession show the steps of His exaltation by God.

B. The Lordship of Jesus Christ Will Ultimately Be Recognized by Universal Submission to the Glory of God (:10-11)

(cf. Is. 45:23)

Wycliffe: the totality of created rational beings will pay due homage.

1. Bowing Down in Worship

“that at the name of Jesus eveery knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth”

2. Confession of Lordship

“and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”

Implications for Gospel Invitations: no separation between Jesus as Savior and Jesus as Lord. You must receive Him for who He truly is – which includes His inherent Lordship.

MacArthur: The lordship of Jesus Christ is a crucial issue. Many in our day seem to believe they can accept the work of Christ on the cross apart from worshiping Him as King. Nearly 100 years ago Charles Haddon Spurgeon wrote, “I cannot conceive it possible for anyone truly to receive Christ as Saviour and yet not to receive him as Lord. One of the first instincts of a redeemed soul is to fall at the feet of the Saviour, and gratefully and adoringly to cry, ‘Blessed Master, bought with thy precious blood, I own that I am thine,–thine only, thine wholly, thine for ever. Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?’ A man who is really saved by grace does not need to be told that he is under solemn obligations to serve Christ; the new life within him tells him that. Instead of regarding it as a burden, he gladly surrenders himself–body, soul, and spirit, to the Lord who has redeemed him, reckoning this to be his reasonable service” (Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, vol. 56 [Pasadena, Tex.: Pilgrim Publications, 1979], p. 617). Take a moment now to acknowledge the lordship of Christ in your own life–it is only your reasonable service to do so.

Application: if each one would set aside self in the same way and humble himself, the church would achieve true unity and be effective in its proclamation of the gospel.