The greater portion of this chapter forms its own chiastic structure (please see the teaching tools of scripture if you are unfamiliar with chiastic structures):
1a) Phi 2:1-4, Be like minded, without conceit or selfish ambition, looking out for the interests of others;
1b) Phi 2:5-11, Christ Jesus became a bondservant, serving as the sacrifice of God on the cross (chiasm);
1c) Phi 2:12-13, Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, God working in you;
1d) Phi 2:14, Do all things without complaining or disputing;
1e) Phi 2:15a, That you may become blameless and harmless;
central axis) Phi 2:15b, Children of God;
2e) Phi 2:15c, Without fault;
2d) Phi 2:15d, In the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine;
2c) Phi 2:16, Hold fast to the word of life, so that in that Day I will not have labored in vain;
2b) Phi 2:17-18, Paul poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice of the church’s faith;
2a) Phi 2:19-24, Timothy: like minded, not seeking his own but the things of Christ (chiasm).
We are saved, or brought into God’s family as His children, by faith through grace, not of works, lest any man should boast (Eph 2:8-9). But then by saying, work out your own salvation, Paul seems to be contradicting himself. It is not a contradiction, because being a child of God involves both salvation, which occurs in a moment of time, and sanctification, which occurs over the lifetime. As children of God, we are new creations with a new nature (2 Cor 5:17).
Therefore do not, out of the habit of the old nature, live selfishly, or seeking our own interests at the expense of others. And by the way, while we are serving others, don’t do it with complaints and grumbling. Be cheerful givers like our Father! When we imitate Him as dear children, we shine as lights in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.
If we find ourselves sinking back into old nature habits, we can repent and take hold again of the Word of Life. We can wash our hearts and minds anew with the Word of Life, with the Spirit of truth, by which we renew our minds until we are of like mind with Jesus Christ.
1a) Phi 2:5-6, Christ Jesus was in the form of God and of equality with God;
1b) Phi 2:7a, But He made Himself of no reputation;
central axis) Phi 2:7b-8a, Taking the form of a bondservant, coming as a man;
2b) Phi 2:8b, He humbled Himself to become obedient to death, even death on the cross;
2a) Phi 2:9-11, Therefore God has highly exalted Him, to the glory of God the Father.
1a) Phi 2:19, But I trust to send Timothy to you shortly;
1b) Phi 2:20, For I have no one like minded, who will sincerely care for you;
central axis) Phi 2:21, For all seek their own, and not the things which are of Christ;
2b) Phi 2:22, But you know his proven character: he served with me in the gospel;
2a) Phi 2:23-24, I hope to send him at once, but I trust that I shall come to you shortly.