Philippians 2

Philippians 2: Every Knee Shall Bow, and Every Tongue Shall Confess

                Paul urges the Philippians to be “…likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” (Philippians 2:2) Paul explains that the Saints should not act from selfish ambitions. He urges the members to be like Jesus Christ; “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” (Philippians 2:6)

What does Paul mean when he said that Jesus Christ thought it was not robbery to be equal with God? What does that mean for the followers of Christ? It means that as Jesus Christ wanted to be like His Father, we too want to be like our Father. It is ok to have a desire to become like God, Paul himself said; “For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there by gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” (1 Corinthians 8:5-6)

Can we become like God?

                The question arises, can we as children of God, become like Him? OR in other words, is it possible for mankind to become gods? Notice I used a lowercase “g” for “gods”, instead of the uppercase “G” for God the Eternal Father. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes that we are of divine nature and therefore have the potential to be like our Heavenly Father, and the Bible agrees with this doctrine;

From the beginning; “…God said, Let us make man in our own image, after our own likeness…” (Genesis 1:26) Later, after Adam and Eve had partaken of the fruit; “…the Lord God said, behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil…” (Genesis 3:22) This suggested that the purpose for Adam and Eve to have partaken of the fruit and to have knowledge of Good and Evil was part of God’s plan from the beginning, for mankind (His Children) to one day return and live with Him in His Kingdom, and to become like Him. Remember we have divine potential to become LIKE Him, but NOT BECOME Him.

Later we read in the New Testament when Jesus Christ is being accused of blasphemy, they charge Him by saying; “…because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.” (John 10:33) Jesus responds to them saying; “…Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken.” (John 10:34-35) Jesus Christ was referencing an Old Testament Scripture; Psalms 82:6.

We need to understand that having a belief that one day a human can become a “god” is in no way devaluing our relationship with THE God. If we truly are His offspring, it is only natural for us to want to become like our Father. He has shown us the way, and has asked us to follow Him and His Son, Jesus Christ. If we truly believe in Them and have a desire to follow Them, we will also want to become like Them! It is like a father on earth who is an accountant, who has a son, who also grows up to be an accountant. Like father, like son.

Paul goes on to explain the divine nature of our Savior Jesus Christ, and how being obedient to the Father, He was exalted on High; “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things of earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11)

                Paul explains that because of this great sacrifice from Jesus Christ we must do the work and will of God and “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” (Philippians 2:12) This means that through Jesus Christ we can be saved, but we still have our part to accept His gift to us, therefore we must ‘work out’ our own Salvation, and do so; “…without murmurings and disputings:” (Philippians 2:14)

Paul then tells the Philippians that he will soon send Timotheus to them.

John 10

John 10: The Book of Mormon

                Jesus opens up this chapter by exclaiming; “…He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice…” (John 10:1-2) Essentially Jesus is saying that there can be no other Christ, He is the one and true “…good shepherd…” (John 10:11) Those who try to impersonate will not have true followers, for the true sheep know their shepherd and only follow him.

Jesus goes onto say; “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.” (John 10:14-15) Those who know Jesus follow Him, and He knows them and lays His own life down for them. This was accomplished through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, when He sacrificed Himself for the sins of all mankind!

Other Sheep: One fold, One Shepherd – The Bible and the Book of Mormon:

It is interesting to note what Jesus says next; “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” (John 10:16) Why is this important? During the time of the Old Testament and much of the New Testament there were other people scattered across the world, not just in the “Old World” that we think about in the Bible, which encompasses much of the Middle East. The “Other Sheep” Jesus spoke of lived in the “New World”, or Ancient America and their story and interactions with prophets and God are recorded in the Book of Mormon. Shortly after the death of Jesus on the cross, He visited the people of Ancient America and instructed them and showed the prints on his hands and feet, just as He did with Mary. While He was visiting His other Sheep, He told them; “…I say unto you, that ye are they of whom I said: Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” (3 Nephi 15:21; The Book of Mormon)

                Jesus continues His address to the Jews…

“Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again, No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself.” (John 10:17-18) Jesus essentially tells the Jews that opposed Him, that NO man could take His life, if they managed to kill Him, it was because He allowed it. Some of the Jews in the crown accused Him of being the devil or possessed of the devil. However, others asked how He could be the devil or possessed of one, if He performed great miracles in the name of God. Jesus reassures those people that He does the work in the name of His Father, and that anyone who doesn’t believe Him is not part of His fold, because His sheep hear Him and know Him.

Jesus boldly states; “I and my Father are one.” (John 10:30) One thing we need to learn here is what Jesus meant when He said that He and His Father were one, did He mean physically? Many believe that God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are One being. But are they? We can see from many scriptures in the Bible that this is not the case, in the next book of the Bible, the Apostle Stephen recounts; “…being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God.” (Acts 7:55) The LDS position is that they are not One being, but three SEPARATE and INDIVIDUAL BEINGS, in ONE PURPOSE; Stephens testimony confirms this.

Upon hearing what the Jews thought was blaspheme, they gathered rocks to stone Him. Jesus asks them; “…for which of these works do ye stone me?” (John 10:32) The Jews respond; “For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.” (John 10:33) So, Jesus was going to be stoned for comparing Himself to God? We being made in the likeness of God, permits all of us to one day be like our Father in heaven, but never replace Him. Jesus confirms this; “…Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken.” (John 10:34-35) Notice how Jesus sad; “god” and not “God”. We being offspring of God, can become like Him, gods. But never become HIM, God. This is important to understand as children of God, we definitely have the ability to become like Him. This is the very reason we are on Earth, to learn and gain a knowledge of Good and Evil and choose the good. In 1 John 3:2, it reads; “…now we are the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be” but we know that, when he [Jesus] shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2)

                Jesus ends His speaking by telling those gathered they have two choices, to believe Him or not; “If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.” (John 10:38) Again, Jesus tells them that they have a choice to believe Him, but if they do know Him they will believe. The Father is in Him, and He is in the Father… they are of One Purpose, and He is indeed the Only Begotten of the Father.