…., while we may not ever fully understand how Jesus Who is forever fully God became the PERFECT MAN, the point is that that in His “emptying” He became the PERFECT EXAMPLE for our Christian walk in this life! That is why in the next section we will “fix our eyes on Jesus”, paying close attention to how He walked, to how He ran the race set before Him! As we pursue His pattern we will begin to experience the fruit of the the “Spirit Filled Life,” the “Abundant Life”, the “Victorious Christian Life!” Beloved, you can mark it down — The example of Jesus is “Plan A” and there is no “Plan B!”
So let’s review the somewhat mysterious truth of what happened when Jesus became a Man by focusing on the key passage in Philippians in which Paul exhorts the saints to…
Have this attitude in yourselves (present imperative = command to make this one’s continual attitude! All the time! As your lifestyle! Just try to do this in your own “natural” strength! The truth is that we must continually depend wholly on the Holy Spirit for the desire and the power to manifest this selfless attitude! See Php 2:13 NLT-note which alludes to the Spirit Who indwells every believer!) which was also in Christ Jesus (Note that here we see Jesus’ example, His attitude of how to we are to walk, an attitude which Paul “amplifies” by giving three specific manifestations!), Who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant (doulos), (Jesus’ example #1) and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He (voluntarily, of His own volition) humbled (tapeinoo) Himself (Jesus example #2) by becoming obedient (hupekoos) to the point of death (Jesus example #3), even death on a cross. (Phil 2:5-8-note)
Comment: Notice that the “attitude” of Jesus is not optional for those who claim to follow Him, but is a command in the present tense, calling for this to be the disciple’s continual mindset. Specifically Paul calls on all believers…
(1) to manifest the attitude of a bondservant, a doulos, a person who is no longer their own “possession” (1Cor 6:19-note, 1Cor 6:20-note, 1Peter 2:9-note, Titus 2:14-note) but is possessed by another and whose will is wholly surrendered to the will of their master (Master), in wholehearted devotion, even to the disregard of one’s own interest;
(2) to be humble – “not proud” (especially not proud of our “humility!”) As Archibald Alexanderput it “Humility is to the Christian what ballast is to the ship; it keeps him in his proper position and regulates all his thoughts and feelings.” John Flavel rightly said that “They that know God will be humble, and they that know themselves cannot be proud.” Spurgeon added “Humility is to make a right assessment of oneself… The higher a man is in grace, the lower he will be in his own esteem.”;
(3) to obey (even to the point of death). For Jesus of course this refers to His “one of a kind” death on the Cross, but how does this apply to the life of believers today? If we are genuine believers in one sense we have already died with Christ on the Cross for Paul teaches we “have been baptized into His death” (Ro 6:3-note; Col 2:20-note), “we have been buried with Him through baptism into death” (Ro 6:4-note), “we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death” (Ro 6:5-note) and “our old man was crucified with Him” (Ro 6:6-note). This describes ever believer’s past history, for when we first believed in Christ, we died with Christ, were buried with Christ and were resurrected with Christ so that we “might walk in newness of life.” (Ro 6:4-note) In short, positionally our death has occurred on the Cross, so that when He died, we died. In our daily experience, God providentially provides many “opportunities” for us to die to self, to sacrifice our desires for the betterment of another person (See Mk 8:34, 35, Mt 16:25, Lk 9:24 cp Php 2:3-4).
The following comment by Elmer Towns provides a good segue way into the next section which discusses Jesus’ example…
When Bible teachers seek to explain how Jesus became a Man, they use the word kenosis to describe the self-emptying of Jesus in taking on Human Flesh (Php 2:7-note). This emptying includes submitting to the limitations of humanity. Although Jesus never ceased to be God during His life on earth, He was nevertheless dependent upon the Third Person of the Trinity to accomplish much of the work of God. Although not denying the deity of Jesus, this truth illustrates His humanity. (The Names of the Holy Spirit)
In summary, in His incarnation, Jesus was fully God, but voluntarily relinquished His rights as God so that He might give us an example of One Who was fully Man. The first Adam failed. The “Second Adam” succeeded in giving us a perfect example of how to live a supernatural life that is pleasing to the Father.