Wednesday, April 4, 2018
Philippians 2:6-8 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
The creative power of God amazes me. He started with nothing and made everything. He didn’t take a little of something and make it better; He started with nothing but His word. The splendor of a starlit night was non-existent in any form, and then at the command of the voice of God it instantaneously appeared in its completed form.
We claim to be creative because we can take raw material and turn it into something beautiful and useful. That may be imaginative, inventive, and resourceful, but it is not creative. We have redefined the term to fit human capabilities. God alone is creative, and what He has formed from nothing fills me with awe. God’s work is most awesome and most appreciated when it begins with nothing.
In the first official act of Jesus coming to earth as the Savior of the world, He emptied Himself and made Himself nothing. For God to completely glorify Christ, Jesus had to be nothing. It is in the total humiliation of the Son that the Father could work to exalt Him.
As the model servant for all of us, we must begin where Jesus began. But that is not a popular place to begin. So much of the teaching we hear from self-help gurus and self-centered preachers focuses on finding the value of self and building on it. We have been trained by a Godless society to reject any self-degradation, because self has become our god.
But Jesus modeled something completely different – He denied self by accepting the nothingness of self, and He asked God to create something of value.
In one of the most incredible prophecies about Jesus in the Old Testament, Psalm 22 speaks of the crucifixion of Jesus. Jesus quotes this Psalm while on the cross to add validity to its prophetic truth. Jesus calls Himself a worm, and not a man. He makes Himself nothing in comparison to God. He considers anything and everything about His humanity to be worthless, and completely surrenders to the creative power of God to give Him a life of value.
Psalms 22:6-8 But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people. 7All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads: 8“He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.”
King David understood the truth of the nothingness of self when he wrote this confession to God after committing adultery with Bathsheba –
Psalms 51:1 – 10 1Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. 2Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. 3For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. 4Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. 6Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place…10Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Emphasis mine)
When we come to God for salvation by faith, He does not start with something we have to offer Him; He starts with nothing. We do not come to Jesus for salvation by offering Him our best and asking Him to improve the rest. We become as worms before Him, recognizing that we are only capable of processing dirt.
The hymn writer Isaac Watts understood the theology correctly when in 1707 he wrote the song At The Cross.
Alas! And did my Savior bleed?
And did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For such a worm as I?
In recent years the words of his song have been changed so that the last line now reads – For sinners such as I. Hopefully the theology won’t change with the words. We cannot define sinners as good people who do bad things. From God’s perspective, sinners are nothing and have nothing that God can use. When we admit that truth to ourselves and to Him, His creative power is released and makes something from nothing, and what He creates is good!
For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)
Jesus is our model – He became nothing so God could make Him something. We need to do the same.