“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus”
In this argument for unity, Paul gave the most powerful example he could find—the Lord Jesus’ attitude that took Him to the cross. Jesus is set forth in all His towering superiority. There is hardly a greater passage in the New Testament that sets forth this lofty supremacy of the person of Christ.
The main argument of this passage is unity, and the person and work of Christ are presented almost incidentally. The greatest passage in the New Testament that argues for the God/man is an illustration for unity!
“Let this mind be in you”
The word “mind” here does not mean mental activity or intellectual process. It means attitude.
The only way God’s people can have unity is to have the same mental attitude (vv. 1-4). But how do we develop an attitude? Is it by sheer volition? Do we simply determine to think in a certain way?
If an attitude is a frame of reference in our thinking, a habit of thinking, then we build that base of thinking by the application of God’s truth to experience. The more we apply God’s Word to situations of our lives throughout the week, the more we are going to think like God. When we think of Jesus’ example as we face temptations to contention, it will help form a correct attitude in the situation.
“which was also in Christ Jesus”
We need to have the same attitude Jesus had. What attitude did He have in His incarnation and death? He had a giving, selfless attitude. His thought pattern was unswervingly to pay for the sins of the world. It was sacrificial.
If believers are going to have an attitude like Christ, it must be sacrificial. Sacrifice is fundamental to unity. If that obtains, then we will not concern ourselves merely with our own interests. Everyone cannot always have his own way. Someone has to give.
Jesus was willing to spend and be spent for us. He qualifies as the greatest example of lowliness of mind. He followed the path of utter selflessness. He gave himself to the greatest of degradations—a criminal’s death.
Yet He was God almighty, the highest of high. He went to a criminal’s death, the lowest of low. He could not have suffered more than He did; He could not have gone further than He did. That is to be our attitude. We should put no limitations on our attitude of willingness to give to fellow Christians.
We are to have the same attitude that Jesus had when He went to the cross for us—a sacrificial attitude.
If Jesus regarded no sacrifice as too great, no humiliation as too painful, should not we have this sacrificial attitude toward fellow Christians?