The Son of God has always been from eternity past and before the world was made. The Son, the Spirit, and the Father were all present together and will be present together for all time. But, there are two stages that the Son of God went through that the other 2 Persons of the Trinity did not. Historically these two stages are called Christ’s humiliation and Christ’s exaltation. In Philippians 2:5-11 we see both of them. Christ’s humiliation is seen in 2:5-8, while Christ’s exaltation is seen in 2:9-11.
3 stages of the Humiliation of Jesus:
Incarnation (Phil 2:6)
Do you see what the Son of God willingly gave up and laid aside? When it says that He existed in the form of God, it means that the Son of God was the exact nature of God. It means that the Son of God possessed all of God’s characteristics, qualities, and attributes. It means that the Son of God was equal with God in every way possible. Now even though the Son of God was in all ways equal with God, this verse goes on to say that the He did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped. What does that mean? Remember when Adam and Eve were in Eden? They reached up and grasped at the fruit right? Why did they do that? They wanted to become like God. By grasping the fruit they were showing that they wanted to be equal with God. They had no right to do this, God told them not to do it…they did it anyway. The Son of God is very different, He did the opposite, He did not grasp equality with God. He had every right to do it because He was God, but He willingly laid it aside and as Phil 2:7 says, ‘took the form of a servant, being found in the likeness of men.’ He did not hold on to His authority as God, He laid it aside, and as John 1:14 says ‘became flesh and dwelt among us.’ The Son of God was wrapped in skin. So many people think Jesus’ suffering began in the garden of Gethsemane or at the cross, but see that it began here. The only thing He had ever known was being next to and with His Father on the throne, and now for the first time ever, the eternal Son of God was not in the direct presence of the Father. He entered into a human world, with sin and suffering and temptation when He had never known sin, suffering, or temptation. Jesus’ suffering began as soon as he was in Mary’s womb.
Earthly Life (Phil. 2:7)
Not only did Jesus leave the throne of God, laying aside His equality with God, Jesus came here, being made like us, why? To take the form of a servant. Do you realize how shocking this is? God came to earth, not to rule over the creation, but to serve the creation. Mark 10:45 says, ‘Even the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve…’ The goal of His life was serving. When He came, His life was filled with loneliness, rejection, poverty, hunger, temptation, and persecution. At the end of His life, He was betrayed by a close friend (Judas), denied by a close friend (Peter), and deserted by all. Why did He come? 2 Cor. 8:9 says, ‘Though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, so that you by His poverty might become rich.’
Crucifixion (Phil. 2:8)
Not only did Jesus lay aside His equality with God, not only did Jesus leave the throne of God to become like we are, not only did Jesus become a servant of all men even though He created all men; Jesus came to earth to die on the cross for sin. Phil 2:8 (read). He came not to serve, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many. Jesus came to earth to die. This was the main goal all along, everyday of His life, He saw the day approaching. And then it came, and He became obedient to His Father’s will, and died on a cross. He who was the Lord of all the earth, the supreme Lawgiver, placed Himself under the Law, taking the form of a servant, for the purpose of absorbing the wrath of God, on behalf of God’s people, on the cross.
This is love, not that by doing so God was making much of our worth but by doing this God was enabling us to make much of His worth forever.
(Image courtesy of Gilbert Lennox Photography)