“Have this attitude in yourselves that was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking on the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:5-7).
The verses above might be among the most stunning of all the verses in the New Testament, for they give testimony to the greatest condensation ever known in the history of the cosmos. Almighty God, Creator of heaven and earth, steps down from His exalted position and takes on the form of one of the creatures which He created, God became a man.
These verses tell us that Jesus, before He came to earth as a man, was equal with God in every respect. The Greek word that is translated equality, means things exactly equal in size, quantity, quality, character, and number. To come to earth as a man, Jesus had to willingly humble Himself and not hold on to His equality with God.
Jesus possessed every right and privilege and honor of being God, but did not consider them a thing to be grasped, considering man’s need of salvation. Instead of clinging to these “He emptied Himself.” This act is known as the “kenosis of Christ” kenosis being the Greek word for emptied.
This word expresses Christ’s self-renunciation. He refused to cling to His rights and privileges as God so that He could descend into the world of men as a man.
Of this act, John MacArthur writes, “Jesus gave up the glory of a face-to-face relationship with God for the muck of this earth. He relinquished the adoring presence of angels for the spittle of men.”
Jesus emptied Himself of His divine authority and submitted Himself to the will of the Father. The Lord and Master of all creation became a bond-servant. He also, willingly set aside all heavenly privileges and prerogatives, voluntarily limiting His divine attributes during His sojourn on earth.
In that humbled state, Almighty God took on the form of sinful man in every way, except, man’s sinful nature. Living as a man among men, Jesus experienced life as we know it, emotionally and physically He experience the things that test and try us. Spiritually, He was tempted in every manner of temptation and we are tempted and tried. He resisted all temptation, He lived a sinless life, He perfectly kept all of His Father’s demands, and then laid down that sinless life as a substitutionary sacrifice for those who could not keep God’s Law, for you and me He became “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Or, as the Apostle Paul put it, “The Father made His Son who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Christ” (II Corinthians 5:21).