The Doctrine of the Kenosis in Philippians 2:5-8

Alva J. McClain | August 25, 2009

Those participating in Christological controversies that followed the Nicene Council sought to reconcile proper deity and true humanity in the Person of Jesus Christ, but in doing so, they often neglected the humanity of Christ. The Reformers did not solve the problem, but they restored a proper emphasis to Christ’s humanity. Subsequent to the Reformation, scholars tended to underplay His deity. Careful attention to the details of Phil 2:5-8 helps to state as well as the human mind can comprehend just what the kenosis involved and hence how His humanity and deity related to each other. He emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, and humbled Himself, becoming obedient to death. He stooped to servanthood and death with all the sovereign free will of One whose choices are limited only by His own holy and loving will.

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