Friday, January 29, 2016
True Greatness: Philippians 2:6-7
Do you want to know what true greatness is? Do you want to see something of the majesty and the glory of the person of our Lord? Here it is: “Who, being in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal with God” (Phil. 2:6). That is an unfortunate translation. It means, “He regarded not his equality with God as a prize to be held on to and to be clutched at all costs.” Rather, he “made himself of no reputation.” Words are utterly, ridiculously inadequate! There was an attempt at the turn of the [20th] century to change that translation into “He emptied himself.” That is wrong! He could not empty himself of the Godhead. That is a contradiction in terms; it is a sheer impossibility. He did not empty himself. What he did—and it is much more marvelous, much more glorious—was to divest himself of the signs, the insignia, the manifestations of that external glory that he had shared from eternity with the Father.
You read at times of a king traveling incognito or of some great person traveling as a private individual, calling himself Mr. Smith or something like that. That is what our Lord did. He is the eternal Son of God, the effulgence of the glory of God, always a part of his being. He somehow—I say somehow because it was a miracle—stripped himself of that. He remains the eternal Son of God everlastingly. He cannot change himself. God cannot deny himself. God cannot empty himself of deity. The glory, the marvel, the mystery of the incarnation is that, remaining God in all the fullness of the term, he “made himself of no reputation.” He was born as a baby “and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men” (Phil.2:7). That is it. He was in the likeness of God, but he came into the world in the likeness of men.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones, “Experiencing the New Birth: Studies in John 3,” pg.347-348