Scandal of the cross: Gordon Fee on Philippians 2:5-11

I am reading Gordon Fee’s commentary on Philippians (NICNT). Here is a great quote on Philippians 2:5-11.

“[H]ere we see again why the ‘scandal of the cross’ was so central to his [Paul’s] understanding of everything Christian. For in ‘pouring himself out’ and ‘humbling himself to death on the cross,’ Christ Jesus has revealed the character of God himself. Here is the epitome of God-likeness: the pre-existent Christ was not a ‘grasping, selfish’ being, but one whose love for others found its consummate expression in ‘pouring himself out,’ in taking on the role of a slave, in humbling himself to the point of death on behalf of those so loved. No wonder Paul cannot abide triumphalism — in any of its forms. It goes against everything that God is and that God is about. To be sure, there is final vindication for the one who goes the way of the cross; but for believers the vindication is eschatological, not present. Discipleship in the present calls for servanthood, self-sacrifice for the sake of others. Hence Paul concludes the narrative with a further call to ‘obedience’ on the part of the Philippians (v. 12), which will take shape as God works out his salvation among them for his own good pleasure (v. 13); but for God to do so, they must stop the bickering (v. 14) and get on with ‘having the same love’ for one another (v. 2) as Christ has portrayed in this unparalleled passage.”

(Source: Gordon Fee, Paul’s Letter to the Philippians [NICNT; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995], 197.)


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