God as Man

God as Man – Communion Sunday

Philippians 2:5-8

Introduction

: “And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you’” (Luke 22:19-20).

Question: Who is this Jesus we remember, honor, thank and celebrate?

It can be either complicated, simple or somewhere in-between. I will go in the middle (with notes for perview if wanting more). 


‘Jesus is God in the form and likeness of man who willingly & sacrificially gave himself over to death become sole savior and exalted Lord of creation.’ 


I. Service & Self-Sacrifice

– v. 5

[Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus] Christ laboured to promote no separate interest; as man he studied to promote the glory of God, and the welfare and salvation of the human race. See then that ye have the same disposition that was in Jesus: he was ever humble, loving, patient, and laborious; his meat and drink was to do the will of his Father, and to finish his work. 

Question: Who is this Jesus we celebrate? 

II.

God in the Flesh

– v.6

John 10:30 The Father and I are one.

Philippians 2:5-6 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.

John 17:21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

John 1:18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

Colossians 2:9-10 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily. and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.

1 John 4:3, ‘and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world’.

Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

[Who, being in the form of God] This verse has been the subject of much criticism, and some controversy. 

“As the apostle is speaking of what Christ was before he took the form of a servant, the form of God, of which he divested himself when he became man, cannot be anything which he possessed during his incarnation or in his divested state; consequently neither the opinion of Erasmus, that the form of God consisted in those sparks of divinity by which Christ, during his incarnation, manifested his Godhead, nor the opinion of the Socinians, that it consisted in the power of working miracles, is well founded; for Christ did not divest himself either of one or the other, but possessed both all the time of his public ministry.

In like manner, the opinion of those who, by the form of God understand the divine nature and the government of the world, cannot be admitted; since Christ, when he became man, could not divest himself of the nature of God; and with respect to the government of the world, we are led, by what the apostle tells, Heb 1:3, to believe that he did not part with even that; but, in his divested state, still continued to uphold all things by the word of his power. 

By the form of God we are rather to understand that visible, glorious light in which the Deity is said to dwell, 1 Tim 6:16, and by which he manifested himself to the patriarchs of old, Deut 5:22,24; which was commonly accompanied with a numerous retinue of angels, Ps 68:17, and which in Scripture is called The Similitude, Num 12:8; The Face, Ps 31:16; The Presence, Ex 33:15; and The Shape of God, John 5:37. 

This interpretation is supported by the term morphee, form, here used, which signifies a person’s external shape or appearance, and, not his nature or essence.

Thus we are told, Mark 16:12, that Jesus appeared to his disciples in another morphee, shape, or form. 

And, Matt 17:2, metemorphoothee, he was transfigured before them-his outward appearance or form was changed. Further, this interpretation agrees with the fact: the form of God, that is, his visible glory, and the attendance of angels, as above described, the Son of God enjoyed with his Father before the world was, John 17:5; and on that as on other accounts he is the brightness of the Father’s glory, Heb 1:3. 

Of this he divested himself when he became flesh; but, having resumed it after his ascension, he will come with it in the human nature to judge the world; so he told his disciples, Matt 16:27: The Son of man will come in the glory of his Father, with his angels, etc. Lastly, this sense of morpheeTheou is confirmed by the meaning of morpheedoulou, Phil 2:7; which evidently denotes the appearance and behaviour of a servant or bondman, and not the essence of such a person.” 

[Thought it not robbery to be equal with God] If we take these words as they stand here, their meaning is, that, as he was from the beginning in the same infinite glory with the Father, to appear in time-during his humiliation, as God and equal with the Father, was no encroachment on the divine prerogative; for, as he had an equality of nature, he had an equality of rights.

But the word harpagmon, which we translate “robbery”, has been supposed to imply a thing eagerly to be seized, coveted, or desired; and on this interpretation the passage has been translated: Who, being in the form of God, did not think it a matter to be earnestly desired to appear equal to God; but made himself of no reputation, etc. 

However the word be translated, it does not affect the eternal Deity of our Lord. Though he was from eternity in the form of God-possessed of the same glory, yet he thought it right to veil this glory, and not to appear with it among the children of men; and therefore he was made in the likeness of men, and took upon him the form or appearance of a servant: and, had he retained the appearance of this ineffable glory, it would, in many respects, have prevented him from accomplishing the work which God gave him to do; and his humiliation, as necessary to the salvation of men, could not have been complete. On this account I prefer this sense of the word 

harpagmon before that given in our text, which does not agree so well with the other expressions in the context. In this sense the word is used by Heliodorus, in his AEthiopics, lib. 7 cap. 19, etc., which passage Whitby has produced, and on which he has given a considerable paraphrase. The reader who wishes to examine this subject more particularly, may have recourse to Heliodorus as above or to the notes of Dr. Whitby on the passage. 

 

III.

Servant for Sacrificial Purpose

– v. 7-8

But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

[But made himself of no reputation] 

Heauton ekenoosen. He emptied himself-did not appear in his glory, for he assumed the form of a servant being made in the likeness of man. And his being made in the likeness of man, and assuming the form of a servant, was a proof that he had emptied himself-laid aside the effulgence of his glory. 

 Kai scheemati heuretheis hoos anthroopos. 

This clause should be joined to the preceding, and thus translated: Being made in the likeness of man, and was found in fashion as a man.

[He humbled himself] Laid himself as low as possible:

1. In emptying himself-laying aside the effulgence of his glory.

2. In being incarnate-taking upon him the human form.

3. In becoming a servant-assuming the lowest innocent character, that of being the servant of all.

4. In condescending to die, to which he was not naturally liable, as having never sinned, and therefore had a right in his human nature to immortality, without passing under the empire of death.

5. In condescending, not only to death, but to the lowest and most ignominious kind of death, the death of the cross; the punishment of the meanest of slaves and worst of felons.

What must sin have been in the sight of God, when it required such abasement in Jesus Christ to make an atonement for it, and undo its influence and malignity! 

 

IV.

Kingship and Philippians

– v. 9-11

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

[Therefore God also hath highly exalted him] If by his humiliation he has merited pardon and final salvation for the whole world, is it to be wondered that the human body, in which this fullness of the Godhead dwelt, and in which the punishment due to our sins was borne upon the tree, should be exalted above all human and all created beings? And this is the fact; for he hath given him a name, toonoma, the name, which is above every name: to is prefixed to onoma here by ABC, 17, Origen, Dionysius Alexandrinus, Eusebius, Cyril, and Procopius. This makes it much more emphatic. According to Eph 1:20-21, the man Christ Jesus is exalted to the right hand of God, far above all pricipality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come. From which it appears that no creature of God is so far exalted and so glorious as the man Christ Jesus, human nature being in him dignified infinitely beyond the angelic nature; and that this nature has an authority and pre-eminence which no being, either in heaven or earth, enjoys.

In a word, as man was in the beginning at the head of all the creatures of God, Jesus Christ, by assuming human nature, suffering and dying in it, has raised it to its pristine state. 

And this is probably what is here meant by this high exaltation of Christ, and giving him a name which is above every name. But if we refer to any particular epithet, then the name JESUS or Saviour must be that which is intended; as no being either in heaven or earth can possess this name as he who is the Redeemer of the world does, for he is the only Saviour; none has or could redeem us to God but he; and throughout eternity he will ever appear as the sole Saviour of the human race. Hence, before his birth, Gabriel stated that his name shall be called Jesus; giving for reason, he shall SAVE his people from their sins. The qualifications of the Saviour of the world were so extraordinary, the redeeming acts so stupendous, and the result of all so glorious both to God and man, that it is impossible to conceive a higher name or title than that of JESUS, or Saviour of the world. 

Verse 10

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

That all human beings should consider themselves redeemed unto God by his blood, and look for an application of this redemption price; and that all who are saved from their sin should acknowledge him the author of their salvation. In a word, that 

Pan epouranioon, all the spirits of just men made perfect, now in a state of blessedness; 

Kai epigeioon, all human beings still in their state of probation on earth; kai katachthonioon, and all that are in the shades below, who have, through their own fault, died without having received his salvation; should acknowledge him. 

Verse 11

And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

That all those before mentioned should acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, or absolute governor, and thus glorify God the Father, who has exalted this human nature to this state of ineffable glory, in virtue of its passion, death, resurrection, and the atonement which it has made, by which so many attributes of the divine nature have become illustrated, the divine law magnified and made honourable, and an eternal glory provided for man.

Others by things in heaven understand the holy angels; by things on earth, human beings generally; and by things under the earth, fallen spirits of every description. Perhaps the three expressions are designed to comprehend all beings of all kinds, all creatures; as it is usual with the Hebrews, and indeed with all ancient nations, to express, by things in heaven, things on earth, and things under the earth, all beings of all kinds; universal nature. See similar forms of speech, Ex 20:4; Deut 4:17-18; Ps 96:11; and Ezek 38:20. But intelligent beings seem to be those which are chiefly intended by the words of the apostle; for it appears that nothing less than absolute rule over angels, men, and Devils, can be designed in these extraordinary words, and by confessing him to be Lord we may understand that worship which all intelligent creatures are called to pay to God manifested in the flesh; for all should honour the Son even as they honour the Father. And the worship thus offered is to the glory of God; so that far from being idolatrous, as some have rashly asserted, it is to the honour of the Divine Being. We may add, that the tongue which does not confess thus, is a tongue that dishonours the Almighty. 

(from Adam Clarke’s Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

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