One of the most challenging and awe inspiring verses in Scripture is Philippians 2:5 – “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus”. The Apostle Paul encourages and exhorts us to have the same mind or way of thinking as our Lord Jesus Christ. Different versions put it in various ways as they endeavour to come to grips with the full depth of what Paul is trying to teach us. For example the CEV has “think the same way that Christ Jesus thought”, the TLV “Have this attitude in yourselves, which also was in Messiah” and the WNT puts it this way – “Let the same disposition be in you which was in Christ Jesus.”
We will first examine the mindset which the Apostle wants us to have and then we will consider what the Lord Jesus Christ had in his mind regarding the origin of this dispensation that he came to save.
In Romans 12:16 the Apostle Paul exhorts us to “Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.” These thoughts are amplified by the Apostle in Romans 15:5 – 7 – “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” Being of the same mind in the things of God brings glory to God, being clever in our own estimation dishonours our Creator.
However the concept that the Apostle Paul has in mind of unity rather than union goes deeper than just what we think within ourselves – it impacts on the way we interact with each other as he shows in 1 Corinthians 1:10 – “Now I beg you, brothers, through the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfected together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” The seriousness with which the Apostle views these principles is seen in the way in which he concludes his final appeal to the Ecclesia in Corinth – “Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.” – 2 Corinthians 13:11. Notice the order in which these words are written – we need to be at one, to agree with each other, to live in peace together in order for God be among us, to be with us. The Apostle does not put them the other way around – that God will be with or among us in the hope that we will be of one mind.
Similar ideas are expressed by Paul to his beloved family in Philippi – Philippians 1:27, 2:2 and in 3:16 – “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel”, and therefore “complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind”, “Nevertheless, that we may attain to this, let us proceed on in one path, and with one consent.”
But the Apostle Paul is not alone in exhorting the brothers and sisters of the Lord Jesus Christ to be united in their thinking, speaking and acting. The Apostle Peter also expresses the same principle in 1 Peter 3:8 – “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.” The Apostle Peter also encourages us to base our united teaching firmly on the basis of the WORD of God – “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God” – 1 Peter 4:11.
The desirability, nay the imperative, for brothers and sisters to walk in unity rather than merely coexist in union is not a concept introduced in the New Testament. The principles are clearly enunciated in the Old Testament too – as witnessed by Psalm 133 – “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes! It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the LORD has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.” The prophets of God are of the same mind set as King David. An example of this is seen in Amos 3:3 – 7 – “Do two walk together, unless they have agreed? Will a lion roar in the thicket, when he has no prey? Does a young lion cry out of his den, if he has caught nothing? Can a bird fall in a trap on the earth, where no snare is set for him? Does a snare spring up from the ground, when there is nothing to catch? Does the trumpet alarm sound in a city, without the people being afraid? Does evil happen to a city, and Yahweh hasn’t done it? Surely the Lord Yahweh will do nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.”
Let the Apostle Paul summarise these verses in the words of 2 Corinthians 6:14 – 18 – “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”
So what is the mind of our Lord when we consider the vexing issue of Creation versus Theistic Evolution (or as some would like to phrase it Evolutionary Creationism!)?
The Gospel in Mark 10:2 – 9 (and the parallel record in Matthew 19) clearly shows that our Lord accepted and believed that Adam and Eve were the first human beings on this planet (in this dispensation) and therefore the sole physical progenitors of the human race that has populated this globe on which we live. Have we noticed that our Lord puts together two sections from the Genesis record and relates them to the same incident – the creation of Adam and Eve – our original parents? Yet we are told by many TE/EC believers / supporters that Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 are records of two different creations!! That is not what our Lord believed and taught.
The Lord Jesus Christ is the foundation of our faith and of our life – therefore his beliefs and teachings should be ours – regardless of the opinions or teachings of other men. In essence “the Truth” as we know it is not ours to change or to play with. We are to have within us “the mind of Christ” with all that that concept entails – regardless of what we think or feel.
Let us therefore pay earnest head to the exhortation of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 2:5 – “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus”.