Believing Jesus as God and Man Part 4 How God become a man

Kenosis: How does God become a man? 

Philippians 2:5-8 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

In the words, “…did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,” we see the choice of the Son to empty Himself of His divine rights by becoming a man and also emptying Himself of His human rights by becoming a servant.[1]

The story of the King becoming a pauper is the best illustration.  The King is on the throne, with his regal splendor and people waiting on him.  Then one day he changes into the robes of a common beggar to interact with the subjects of his kingdom.  Never once does the King stop being King; he just lays aside his prerogatives, his kingly rights, his privileges to become this pauper.  This is what Jesus does.  He lays aside the prerogatives, his privileges of God and takes on a human nature.  He is still fully God and becomes a servant of men and eventually dies the death of common criminal.  The application is for us is to become humble like Jesus, who humbled himself unto death.

Jesus never ceased being God

Jesus did not lay aside his deity- He can’t do that.  He laid aside only His privileges of deity, not His divine nature.  As a human He had to learn like we do, to grow in understanding and knowledge (Luke 2:52). Some contend that on earth Jesus did not make use of His own powers of deity. Others think that He did.[2]  For example, he laid aside his omniscience (having all knowledge): “But of that day [the second coming of Christ] and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” (Matt 24:36)  Here we see Jesus operating from His human perspective and claiming He doesn’t know when the end will come.  The 2nd person of the Trinity, the divine nature of Jesus, knows when the end will happen but in his humanity He laid aside the prerogative or the privilege to know this information.  This is called the kenosis.

At the Incarnation God takes on human flesh.  The Kenosis is where Jesus humbles himself and lays aside the prerogatives of being divine.  However, Jesus never ceases being God–He “gives up” the privilege and glory.

Some ask was he fully God or fully man?

Was he simply a man with Christ’s self-actualized spirit within him?  I hear this all the time, especially on television. These individuals say Jesus had the Christ spirit within him and we can also.  This is what the new age teaches; this is what Christian Science teaches.  They say he wasn’t the Christ; he possessed the Christ spirit.  Jesus had this special knowledge.  They teach we can get that same Christ knowledge he had.  Have you heard this?

Jesus didn’t get a Christ spirit; this isn’t a spirit you get.  Christ means Messiah, the anointed one.  Jesus was not a human who received a special spirit to make him God; Jesus instead was fully God and fully man.  God took on human flesh.  It is called the Hypostatic Union.

Go to part 5 here


[1] ISBE, vol. 3, 9

[2] One might ask, “Then how did Jesus do all His miracles if He didn’t use His divine powers?” Some suggest that Jesus worked His miracles and lived a holy life as a man filled with the Holy Spirit, just like us.

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