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Table of contents
We learn, then, that our Lord our Lord pre-existed His incarnation John 1: In this state, He was fully equal with God the Father so far as His deity was concerned cf. Our text indicates that at the time of His incarnation, something changed. This change is referred to by the word "emptied.
This term is translated "made Himself of no reputation" in the King James Version.
The NIV renders it "made himself nothing," in my estimation the worst of the three versions. The critical issue for us is what is meant by the term here? What did our Lord "empty" Himself of? What changed when He was "made in the likeness of men" v. Until the last century, there was little question what was meant.
It was agreed by Christians that Paul meant the Second Person of the Trinity had added perfect humanity without in any way diminishing His deity. Jesus was no less God as though He could be , but was now man as well. A very serious problem arose, however, which changed matters significantly. Skeptical higher critics came along who concluded that the Bible contained numerous errors. This "scholarly" viewpoint overturned the position of the church held for centuries, namely that the Bible was the inspired, inerrant, word of God. More than this, it directly contradicted our Lord's view of the Old Testament scriptures.
These scholars could not dispute the fact that Jesus believed the scriptures to be verbally inspired and wholly true, that David wrote Psalm , and that Moses was the one author of the Pentateuch. It was a standoff between the new view of 19th century higher critics and the Lord Jesus. A new interpretation of Philippians 2: It should be clearly understood that the principle reason for the "kenosis theory" was the need to explain why it was our Lord who was in error, and not the higher critics:. In England, the kenosis theory was first broached by Bishop Gore in , to explain why our Lord was ignorant of what the nineteenth-century higher critics thought they knew about the errors of the Old Testament.
Gore's thesis was that in becoming man the Son had given up His divine knowledge of matters of fact, though retaining full divine infallibility on moral issues.
In the realm of historical fact, however, He was limited to current Jewish ideas, which He accepted without question, not knowing that they were not all correct. As Packer skillfully points out, this "theory" only appears to solve one problem which didn't need to be solved in the first place , at the cost of creating several others. By following the "kenosis theory" of Gore and others we must conclude that Jesus was not, in His earthly life, fully divine.
And, if our Lord abides forever as the God-man, then this "diminished deity" is eternal. Worst of all is the fact that Jesus claimed to be speaking for God cf. If He was wrong in some of His declarations, why was He not in error in all of them? If the kenosis theory is used for the purpose for which Gor used it, it proves too much: From the gospels we can see that our Lord did possess all of the attributes of deity, even though He did, at times, choose not to make use of them.
Jesus claimed to be divine John 8, 10 , and His disciples regarded Him as such Luke 9: Our Lord demonstrated His omniscience when He revealed the condition of Nathaniel's heart and what he was doing before they met John 1: He knew the sordid details of the life of the woman at the well John 4: He knew that Lazarus was dead before they arrived at his home town John He also knew the unspoken thoughts of His critics Mark 2: If our Lord did not empty the word kenosis Himself of His divine attributes, of what did He empty Himself?
What did our Lord lay aside in the act of His incarnation? While this is a marvelous and mysterious subject, and one of considerable discussion, I believe that we can identify at least three things which our Lord set aside. First, our Lord laid aside position. He was and continued to be God, but at His incarnation our Lord stepped down, as it were, from His exalted position beside the Father in glory. Now, instead of assuming the position of the Supreme Ruler, He took the position of the most humble servant.
Second, our Lord laid aside possessions. The apostle Paul spoke of this when he wrote,. All of His life our Lord was borrowing things. He was born in a borrowed cattle trough. He rode into Jerusalem on a borrowed beast of burden.
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He was buried in a borrowed grave. Our Lord, who created all things, laid aside what was rightfully His. Servants are, by the very nature of their position, poor. Third, our Lord laid aside privilege. A servant does not possess privileges. The master eats first, the servant later. The master has one entrance, the servant another. The master has one dwelling place, the servant one substantially inferior. The master is free to do as he wishes, but the servant has little freedom. All of the privileges which our Lord could have rightfully claimed such as the praise and worship of men ,6 He was willing to set aside.
It would be easy for us to excuse ourselves from applying the truths of these verses by appealing to the chasm of contrast between our Lord and ourselves. After all, we can rationalize, we are not God, so we do not have the position, nor the possessions, nor the privileges which He chose to lay aside. That is quite true. The application to our lives comes in our willingness to lay aside what we do possess and what we are inclined to protect, rather than to put aside.
The "kenosis" of our Lord had application in those areas of our lives in what we have a position of authority--a higher position than others. The kenosis principle instructs us that leadership is not exempt from the servant spirit. In point of fact it is the ideal place to manifest it. After all, who had a greater position of authority than our Lord? Our Lord's disciples continually sought for the position of power and prestige.
Our Lord taught that the way to greatness was through service and self-sacrifice:. And calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, "You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them. But it is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall become your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all.
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. In the Christian life, leadership is a place of service, not of dictatorship. While servanthood may be viewed as a weakness for a leader in the world, it is not so in the church. We do not exercise leadership over our wives by demanding that they serve us, but by serving them. Biblical leadership is never dictatorship. The ideal king and the ideal husband is the servant, who uses his position and power for the benefit of those under his authority, rather than for selfish gratification.
The kenosis principle as applies to those areas where we have equality. Note that it was equality with God that our Lord did not cling to Phil. Our society is absolutely obsessed with equality.
The Spirit of Christ:
Women want equal rights with men. One race wants equal treatment with another. It is true that in the body of Christ all are equal in God's sight. It is likewise true that in our country both sexes, and all races, creeds, and stratas of society should be treated equally. But the kenosis principle instructs us that what we might demand by virtue of our equality, may be that which we are to relinquish in order to be obedient servants.
But Jesus was saying, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing " And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves. But He turned and rebuked them, [and said, "You do not know what kind of spirit you are of; for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. For Permission to Quote Information visit http: Topical Bible Thematic Bible.
We do not need a being who cannot sympathize with our affirmities. We do not need a being who cannot understand what it's like to be tempted in this mortal, sinful flesh. We need a being who has been tempted in all points as we are. We need a being who knows how to deliver us from sin and temptation. We need a being who gained the victory over sin and knows what it takes to live a perfect life in obedience to, and full dependence upon God the Father. He is the one who comes to us and helps us. We want the Holy Spirit, which is Jesus Christ.
White, Letter 66, April 10, , par. This I have proved Him to be. When the Israelites complained of thirst in the wilderness, Moses was told to speak to the rock of Meribah, and it would provide them with 'abundant water', as recorded in Numbers Now who does that 'rock' represent, and what does the water out of the rock represent? Let's allow the Word of God itself to tell us:. So the 'flowing water' represents the Holy Spirit. And where does this flowing river of living water come from? Don't miss this point. There is no 'third being' involved.
Look at where John sees the river of life flowing from:. So this 'living water' comes from God the Father and His Son the Lamb , not some other 'third being'. Again, do not miss the significance of the Rock in the wilderness.
The Light of Discovery and Intellect
Look what Sister White confirmed in vision:. Those who rose up with Jesus would send up their faith to Him in the holiest, and pray, 'My Father, give us Thy Spirit. There can be no doubt as to what the Holy Spirit is. It is the Spirit of Christ. It is His life, which He has received from God the Father. The 'living water' is the life of Christ, which is given to us, to help us, comfort us, and give us true LIFE!
White, 1 Selected Messages, p. This is such a beautiful truth that the majority of churches are resisting. No wonder there is no power in the churches today! They are seeking after the wrong spirit! But those who embrace this precious truth can receive abundant life and power to live victorious lives. That water of life that comes from both the Father and the Son.
He has sought to shut Jesus from their view as the Comforter. White, Review and Herald, August 26, White, Manuscript Releases 19, p. All who love Christ will be loved of the Father, and He will manifest Himself to them. In all their emergencies and perplexities, they will have a helper in Jesus Christ. That Christ should manifest Himself to them, and yet be invisible to the world, was a mystery to the disciples. They could not understand the words of Christ in their spiritual sense.
They were thinking of the outward, visible manifestation. They could not take in the fact that they could have the presence of Christ with them , and yet He be unseen by the world.
23 Bible verses about Spirit Of Christ
They did not understand the meaning of a spiritual manifestation. White, The Southern Review, Sept. White, Manuscript 7, January 26, , par.