Lord, as we open these passages which have a bit more depth help me to stay focused on clear truths. Instead of getting lost in all the doctrinal gray areas help me to find the universal, clear truths about You and put them front and center. Amen.
2:6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Kenosis and Hypostatic union are some of the “christianese” words to describe what is happening in these verses. There are entire classes in Christian colleges that dive into these principles. That being: the doctrine of God becoming man and laying down His divine nature. It’s crazy how such a beautiful gift (Scripture) can lead to such division. Great theologians have created deep divides over their view on the two doctrines. Regardless of the depth and vast chasm of gray area created by these verses we can see some basic truths that are comforting to us:
- Jesus paid for our sins as a human. This is important because if He had come down in His own Godly form and paid for our sins what hope would there be for us? Jesus didn’t use His divine nature to as the example for living a christian life, and if He had there would be no ability for us to do it. Instead He took on our natural form. Then, in that form, He showed us how to approach each part of life. He showed us how to trust God in anxiety (sweating blood before the cross). He came down and dealt with temptations that were the same as us and dealt with them in the same way as we would! What a beautiful picture of love. To step down into existence and humble Himself to our level so that He could be a perfect example. It is as if a father gets down into the dirt with his son to help him with the frustrating problem of building his sand castle. He gets dirty and plays in the sand like a child to help his beloved son. He doesn’t see it as an immature problem that can be solved by yelling commands from his position. He humbles himself to sit down in the place of his child and go through the motions teaching, displaying, and loving his child.
- God cares about us. Imagine if you had the opportunity to truly become like your child to help them deal with the problems they are going through. It would take a whole lot of contemplation on my behalf before I would lay down some of the benefits I have just to teach my children as a child. In fact, I would rationalize that it makes more sense for me to help them in my “superior” form as it would give more “authority” to the lesson. Yet God loved us SOOO much and wanted His example to be incredibly relatable. So, He decided to be obedient without all of His incredible divine nature giving Him a cheat code. Simply put, God cares more about us then we care about anyone else in the world.
As I said in the beginning, there is a lot of theology packed into these verses and it has sparked many debates/discussions. Regardless of that depth we realize the above two basic truths. God paid for our sins as a human, and cares about us incredibly. Dwell on these two truths.
Oh Lord, how it must have felt odd breathing in air through your nostrils, feeling hunger, feeling pain, experiencing death. I cannot truly relate to the sacrifice You made. However, I can experience the love You have for me. I thank You so much for choosing to experience existence as a human does so that You could relate to us. I thank You so much for choosing to forego some of Your divine nature so that You could come here and be beaten and slain by the very creation You came to save. You’ve displayed love that cannot be compared through a pain that can never be compared. I love You, Amen.
What if you take this same principle and apply it to your children or friends? What if instead of maintaining the prestige you’ve built in your workplace and friendships, or the authority of being a parent, what if you chose to step into their paradigm? What if instead of getting angry at your children when they make a mistake you think about how they cannot control their words or emotions completely yet? What if you think about how your friend may have less financial peace than you? What if you try to fathom what it is like to be in their shoes, and then give them a solution that is relatable from their perspective? Try to see things from someone else’s perspective, and change your relationship with them to help them flourish in their position.