Even after Christ is enthroned in the heart, the old mental habits and value-judgments of the natural man are prone to reassert themselves, these being the most persistent and pernicious of human sins.
The body is relatively easy to bring under control; but the pride, ambition, conceit, vainglory and self-love of the mind can only be driven out by the filling of the personality with the “mind of Christ” who “made himself of no reputation and took upon him the form of a servant” (Philippians 2:5f), thus sacrificing the very thing to which the natural human mind clings most tenaciously.
Paradoxically, even the great spiritual emoluments of Christian service, the achievement of a degree of human righteousness, as viewed by human eyes, the gaining of respectability and reputation among fellow mortals, all of the rewards and honors of godly living, even such things as these, quite easily, and often do, lead to pride, conceit, arrogance, and self-righteousness, which are totally abhorrent to God.
It cannot be doubted that this very fact led to the fantastic emphasis in this epistle to the effect that nobody, but nobody, ever deserved salvation.
Even the fulfillment of conditions upon which God gives salvation cannot merit the gift.
“More highly than he ought to think” It was the primary sin of Israel that they fell into the thinking prohibited here, a lapse which led at last to their tragic hardening.
In chapter 11, Paul strongly warned against the same violation in the Gentiles, and that warning is in view here.
Despite the warning, Paul’s admonition was not directed to the utter negation of self, nor the sinful depreciation of the noble endowments God has granted mortal man.
But it strikes a perfect balance, admitting that it is right and proper for one to think highly of himself, but not more highly than becomes a sinner without merit of salvation, and certainly not so highly as to produce any conceit that might arise from a comparison of his own gifts with those of his fellow Christians.
“Have this mind in you” This is one of EIGHT Scriptural expressions describing the redeemed in Christ.
For a full list and discussion of these, see our next post from Galatians 5:23.
“Which was also in Christ Jesus” The proper verb in this clause must be “is” rather than “was”
The Greek in this clause has no verb at all, the reason being that no single tense of the verb “to be” is adequate in this clause.
Of himself, Jesus said, “I am … I was … and behold I am alive forever more” (Revelation 1:17,18).
Jesus Christ IS, WAS and EVER WILL BE.
See also Hebrews 13:8.
Having the mind of Christ in one is equivalent to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, as well as to the indwelling of the Father and the Son in Christian hearts.