Carmen Christi

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!  Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

                                                                                                                                                Philippians 2:5-11

                There are some weeks when the task of wrestling with the Scriptures becomes a real joy.  To be sure some weeks are difficult as I engage in the process of understanding the Word of God so that I can prepare an expository message upon it.  Other weeks, begin with the same difficulties but become a joy as the passage leads to some wonderful discoveries.  One week as I was studying Paul’s great poetic passage on the incarnation in the second chapter of Philippians I was overjoyed to discover precious truth.  Verses six through eleven are a very powerful and poetic exploration of the doctrine of the Incarnation of the Christ.  Paul presents this doctrine as an example to us of how we are to live as believers.

                In my reading about this doctrine as it is outlined in this passage I came across the following quotes that helped me in my understanding of the doctrine.

                Bishop Lightfoot wrote the following,

                “He divested Himself not of His Divine nature, for this was impossible, but of the glories, the prerogatives, of Deity.  This He did by taking upon Him the form of a servant.  The three parts of the doctrine so far given in the Carmen Christi (Hymn of Christ) is nowhere more beautifully summed up than in Milton’s immortal lines from his poem “On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity”.  That glorious Form, that Light insufferable, And that far-beaming blaze of Majesty, wherewith He wont at Heav’n’s High Council Table, to sit the midst of Trinal Unity, He laid aside; and here with us to be, Forsook the courts of everlasting day, and chose with us a darksome house of mortal clay.”

                In the fourth century Ambrose wrote the following verse to a hymn.

                                “From God the Father He proceeds

                                To God the Father back He speeds;

                                Proceeds as far as very hell,

                                Speeds back to light ineffable.”

                Finally we have these words from Samuel Rutherford in his letters.

                                “If there were then thousand thousand  millions of worlds, and as man heavens full of men and angels, Christ would not be pinched to supply all our wants, and to fill us all.  Christ is a well of life, but who knoweth how deep it is to the bottom.”