Of God and His Creatures

The term likeness, and its synonym figure, should be pressed more home, as in the original it is evidently emphatic. The meaning will be clear, if we consider the gist of the whole passage, Phil. ii, 3-11. The Philippians are not to be contentious or vainglorious, but in humility they are to give way to one another, and abate their pretensions to personal distinction: this on the example of their Lord, who being God and man, did not think the glory of the Godhead, as extended to His human nature, a thing to be seized upon without paying a price for it (harpogmon, R.V. prize), but submitted to kenosis in His human nature, being made in the likeness of ordinary men, and in the configuration and general circumstances of His humanity being found just like any other man. This He did in the days of his flesh, i.e., His mortal life, from birth to crucifixion: cf. Heb. v, 7-10, which is a parallel passage to this. It is to be borne in mind that, as God, Jesus Christ had a right to a glorified humanity from the first: but He waived that right, and went without the glory of His body, until He had purchased His glorification by His death. In this consisted His kenosis, a voluntary human act of self-abasement and self-renunciation on His part. This kenosis met with its great reward in the glory of His resurrection, in the triumph of His ascension, and in the divine honours rendered Him age by age in His Church.

Of God and His Creatures: 4.29