Christ, Our Example
by Gil Rugh
Paul instructed the Philippians to, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5). Christ is the greatest example to model our thinking after. If we learn to pattern our thoughts after Christ’s, our behavior will also start to match His example.
We must be very cautious on this point, however. There is a theological heresy (which is a favorite of apostates) which teaches that Jesus Christ came to earth to be an example for us, and that we experience salvation by patterning our lives after Him. That is a satanic lie. No one will ever be saved by trying to live like Christ. The penalty for sin is death; living a good life cannot pay the sin debt. Jesus came to earth and died to pay the penalty for sin. We are saved by believing He loved and died for us to pay that penalty.
From the day each of us was born into the human race, we manifested the traits of humanity and the characteristics of our sinful parents. When we come to trust in Christ for salvation, we are born into God’s family and are transformed into a new creature in Christ. As God’s children, we are to reflect the character of our heavenly Father, just as we naturally reflect the character of our earthly parents. God says His character will be manifested in our lives as we live in obedience to Him.
Since our actions are usually a direct result of our thoughts, it is crucial to learn to think like Christ. John provided an example of how to pattern our thoughts after Christ in his narrative of the Last Supper, which took place on the night before Christ’s crucifixion.
Each disciple thought of himself as superior to the others. Consequently, no one would humble himself to do the work of a servant and wash the feet of the others, so Jesus got up and performed the task. Then He told them, “I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master; neither is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him” (John 13:15, 16). Jesus told them that they were not greater than He, and because He, as their Master had been willing to serve them, they should also be willing to serve. He told them to follow His example and take on the attitude of a servant.
Jesus is to be our example in all things, and that begins with our thoughts. As we model our thinking after Him, our lives will reflect His character and bring glory to His name.