The form of a bond-servant

Philippians 2:5-8 (NASB)
5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,
6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,
7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.
8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

How much confidence do we have in our freedom through Christ? As Paul reminds us, we have been given freedom from sin, but this liberty is not to be used for the desires of our flesh but for the work of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:1-15) We have heard it said that there is power in freedom, but to be more precise, there is freedom in the power we are given through the Holy Spirit. What are we to do with this freedom, this power?


John 13:15
“For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.”

What is Christ’s example? In this verse from the Gospel of John, Jesus is speaking of washing one another’s feet, of serving each other in humility and love. They call Him “Teacher and Lord” and yet He washes away the filth of the road from the bottoms of their feet – just as, through His blood, He washes the stain of sin from our hearts. That is Christ’s example: to serve each other in such a way as to present one another spotless before God.

But the freedom to serve so selflessly comes only through confidence in the power of God. Jesus laid His glory aside and served us all because He KNEW that one day He would be glorified again, that He would resume His mantle as King of kings and Lord of lords. He was still God and yet He appeared to us in “the form of a bond-servant,” as a man, a person who walked and talked and knelt before our feet.

The confidence of Christ is in knowing that we are empowered by the Spirit to serve God’s will. When we know this, then we know when we kneel to serve others, we also have the strength to stand and lead them. We know when we give respect, we will receive respect. We know when we stop talking and listen, then we will be taught by the Spirit and be able to teach others. We know when we are humbled in this mortal life, we shall be glorified in eternal life.

Because we are in Christ, it is not our place to position ourselves as lords over others. As servants of the Lord we are to serve others, setting the example that was set for us. We must place such faith in our hope of glory that we become utterly inglorious in this life. We must believe in the gospel of salvation so strongly that we forget about it for a while. We should not consider our future glory as something to be grasped but as something that will come to us once we have fulfilled God’s will for us on earth. We must have such confidence in the power of the Holy Spirit that we forget such power is ours, giving ourselves obediently to God to be used according to His purposes. We must know that He will use all things in our lives to His glory.

Such humility walks hand-in-hand with the confidence of our salvation. Created in the image of God, we are nonetheless called to serve others. Co-heirs with Christ of the glory of God, we are called to wash the feet of our fellow men, to tend their wounds, to bind their broken hearts with the love of Christ. Born in sin but now empowered by the Holy Spirit, we are to walk humbly and obediently before the Lord our God.

Lord God and Father, I praise You for the glory You have promised us through Christ Jesus Your Son. Let me be so bold in my service as He, and let me be so humble in Your power as He. Even as I praise You for the blessings You have already given me, let me forget them and take the form of Your bond-servant, to serve others for Your glory alone. Amen.

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About Glenn Pettit

I am a deacon at The Well of Iowa, and husband to a beautiful wife and the father of four lovely kids. Called to teach and to preach, I write fresh messages about the Bible every now and then.
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