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Philippians 2:8

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

And being found in fashion as a man - Και σχηματι εὑρεθεις ὡς ανθρωπος . 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.
  • In being incarnate - taking upon him the human form.
  • In becoming a servant - assuming the lowest innocent character, that of being the servant of all.
  • 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.
  • 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!

    Albert Barnes
    Notes on the Whole Bible

    And being found - That is, being such, or existing as a man, he humbled himself.

    In fashion as a man - The word rendered “fashion” - σχῆμα schēma- means figure, mien, deportment. Here it is the same as state, or condition. The sense is, that when he was reduced to this condition he humbled himself, and obeyed even unto death. He took upon himself all the attributes of a man. He assumed all the innocent infirmities of our nature. He appeared as other people do, was subjected to the necessity of food and clothing, like others, and was made liable to suffering, as other men are. It was still he who had been in the “form of God” who thus appeared; and, though his divine glory had been for a time laid aside, yet it was not extinguished or lost. It is important to remember, in all our meditations on the Saviour, that it was the same Being who had been invested with so much glory in heaven, that appeared on earth in the form of a man.

    He humbled himself - Even then, when he appeared as a man. He had not only laid aside the symbols of his glory Phlippians 2:7, and become a man; but when he was a man, he humbled himself. Humiliation was a constant characteristic of him as a man. He did not aspire to high honors; he did not affect pomp and parade; he did not demand the service of a train of menials; but he condescended to the lowest conditions of life; Luke 22:27. The words here are very carefully chosen. In the former case Phlippians 2:7, when he became a man, he “emptied himself,” or laid aside the symbols of his glory; now, when a man, he humbled himself. That is, though he was God appearing in the form of man - a divine person on earth - yet he did not assume and assert the dignity and prerogatives appropriate to a divine being, but put himself in a condition of obedience. For such a being to obey law, implied voluntary humiliation; and the greatness of his humiliation was shown by his becoming entirely obedient, even until he died on the cross.

    And became obedient - He subjected himself to the law of God, and wholly obeyed it; Hebrews 10:7, Hebrews 10:9. It was a characteristic of the Redeemer that he yielded perfect obedience to the will of God. Should it be said that, if he was God himself, he must have been himself the lawgiver, we may reply that this rendered his obedience all the more wonderful and all the more meritorious. If a monarch should for an important purpose place himself in a position to obey his own laws, nothing could show in a more striking manner their importance in his view. The highest honor that has been shown to the Law of God on earth was, that it was perfectly observed by him who made the Law - the great Mediator.

    Unto death - He obeyed even when obedience terminated in death. The point of this expression is this: One may readily and cheerfully obey another where there is no particular peril. But the case is different where obedience is attended with danger. The child shows a spirit of true obedience when he yields to the commands of a father, though it should expose him to hazard; the servant who obeys his master, when obedience is attended with risk of life; the soldier, when he is morally certain that to obey will be followed by death. Thus, many a company or platoon has been ordered into the “deadly breach,” or directed to storm a redoubt, or to scale a wall, or to face a cannon, when it was morally certain that death would be the consequence. No profounder spirit of obedience can be evinced than this. It should be said, however, that the obedience of the soldier is in many cases scarcely voluntary, since, if he did not obey, death would be the penalty. But, in the case of the Redeemer, it was wholly voluntary. He placed himself in the condition of a servant to do the will of God, and then never shrank from what that condition involved.

    Even the death of the cross - It was not such a death as a servant might incur by crossing a stream, or by failing among robbers, or by being worn out by toil; it was not such as the soldier meets when he is suddenly cut down, covered with glory as he falls; it was the long lingering, painful, humiliating death of the cross. Many a one might be willing to obey if the death that was suffered was regarded as glorious; but when it is ignominious, and of the most degrading character, and the most torturing that human ingenuity can invent, then the whole character of the obedience is changed. Yet this was the obedience the Lord Jesus evinced; and it was in this way that his remarkable readiness to suffer was shown.

    Matthew Henry
    Concise Bible Commentary
    The example of our Lord Jesus Christ is set before us. We must resemble him in his life, if we would have the benefit of his death. Notice the two natures of Christ; his Divine nature, and human nature. Who being in the form of God, partaking the Divine nature, as the eternal and only-begotten Son of God, Joh 1:1, had not thought it a robbery to be equal with God, and to receive Divine worship from men. His human nature; herein he became like us in all things except sin. Thus low, of his own will, he stooped from the glory he had with the Father before the world was. Christ's two states, of humiliation and exaltation, are noticed. Christ not only took upon him the likeness and fashion, or form of a man, but of one in a low state; not appearing in splendour. His whole life was a life of poverty and suffering. But the lowest step was his dying the death of the cross, the death of a malefactor and a slave; exposed to public hatred and scorn. The exaltation was of Christ's human nature, in union with the Divine. At the name of Jesus, not the mere sound of the word, but the authority of Jesus, all should pay solemn homage. It is to the glory of God the Father, to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord; for it is his will, that all men should honour the Son as they honour the Father, Joh 5:23. Here we see such motives to self-denying love as nothing else can supply. Do we thus love and obey the Son of God?
    Ellen G. White
    Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, 265

    As a personal being, God has revealed Himself in His Son. Jesus, the outshining of the Father's glory, “and the express image of His person” (Hebrews 1:3), was on earth found in fashion as a man. As a personal Saviour He came to the world. As a personal Saviour He ascended on high. As a personal Saviour He intercedes in the heavenly courts. Before the throne of God in our behalf ministers “One like unto the Son of man.” Revelation 1:13. 8T 265.1

    Christ, the Light of the world, veiled the dazzling splendor of His divinity and came to live as a man among men, that they might, without being consumed, become acquainted with their Creator. No man has seen God at any time except as He is revealed through Christ. 8T 265.2

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    Ellen G. White
    Messages to Young People, 315

    When those who know the truth practice the self-denial enjoined in God's Word, the message will go with power. The Lord will hear our prayers for the conversion of souls. God's people will let their light shine forth, and unbelievers, seeing their good works, will glorify our heavenly Father.—The Review and Herald, December 1, 1910. MYP 315.1

    The love of display produces extravagance, and in many young people kills the aspiration for a nobler life. Instead of seeking an education, they early engage in some occupation to earn money for indulging the passion for dress. And through this passion many a young girl is beguiled to ruin.—Education, 247. MYP 315.2

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    Ellen G. White
    Early Writings, 153

    I was carried down to the time when Jesus was to take upon Himself man's nature, humble Himself as a man, and suffer the temptations of Satan. EW 153.1

    His birth was without worldly grandeur. He was born in a stable and cradled in a manger; yet His birth was honored far above that of any of the sons of men. Angels from heaven informed the shepherds of the advent of Jesus, and light and glory from God accompanied their testimony. The heavenly host touched their harps and glorified God. They triumphantly heralded the advent of the Son of God to a fallen world to accomplish the work of redemption, and by His death to bring peace, happiness, and everlasting life to man. God honored the advent of His Son. Angels worshiped Him. EW 153.2

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    Ellen G. White
    Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, 54

    Shall we not, by self-denial, do all that we can to advance God's enterprise of mercy? Can we behold the divine condescension, the suffering endured by the Son of God, without being filled with a desire to be allowed to sacrifice something for Him? Is it not a high honor to be allowed to co-operate with Him? He left His heavenly home to seek for us. Shall we not become His undershepherds, to seek for the lost and straying? Shall we not reveal in our lives His divine tenderness and compassion? 9T 54.1

    The Lord desires His people to be thoughtful and care-taking. He desires them to practice economy in everything. If the workers in the mission fields could have the means that is used in expensive furnishings and in personal adornment, the triumphs of the cross of Christ would be greatly extended. 9T 54.2

    Not all can make large offerings, not all can do great works, magnificent deeds; but all can practice self-denial, all can reveal the unselfishness of the Saviour. Some can bring large gifts to the Lord's treasury; others can bring only mites; but every gift brought in sincerity is accepted by the Lord. 9T 54.3

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