For by the grace given to me I bid every one among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith which God has assigned him.

Romans 12:3 RSV

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.

In this verse, Paul was still dealing with the problem of getting a NEW MIND into Christians.

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.

Salvation is the gift of God, and only that, even though no one may receive it while spurning the conditions upon which it is freely given.

“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.

In this recurrence of the warning, he plainly forbade that conceit which so naturally rises in the minds of people who, through God’s mercy, are permitted to enjoy some little distinction of faith and piety.

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 among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.

Philippians 2:5‭-‬7 RSV

“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”

While true enough either way, the eternity and pre-existence of Christ clearly enunciated in the whole passage suggest “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.

The Christian’s being, their minds, bodies and souls, are “in Christ,” “in God,” “in the Holy Spirit,” or having “the word of Christ dwell in” him are also equivalent in every way.

Therefore gird up your minds, be sober, set your hope fully upon the grace that is coming to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 1:13 RSV

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