Westminster Larger Catechism Study

WLC – Q. 46. What was the estate of Christ’s humiliation?

Q. 46. What was the estate of Christ’s humiliation?
A. The estate of Christ’s humiliation was that low condition, wherein he for our sakes, emptying himself of his glory, took upon him the form of a servant, in his conception and birth, life, death, and after his death, until his resurrection.

What was Christ’s condition before he came to this world? A state of infinite divine glory, described in the Bible is ”being rich.”

How may the expression “made himself of no reputation” (Phil. 2:7) also he translated? This expression literally means that he “emptied himself…

Of what did Christ “empty himself” when he became man? He emptied himself of the enjoyment of his heavenly glory.

This next point has become a concern in some churches today. Particularly those who want to elevate man into a position of doing the very works of Christ by saying Jesus was only a man, so we can too.

What serious error has been held concerning Christ’s “emptying himself”? Some have held that this expression in the Greek text of Philippians 2:7 means that Christ emptied himself of his deity. According to this interpretation, Christ was divine when he was in heaven, but cast his deity aside, and was only a man when he was on earth. However, since many texts in the New Testament teach that Christ was truly and fully God while he was on earth, the above interpretation cannot he correct. The true meaning is that Christ emptied himself of the enjoyment of his divine glory, taking “the form of a servant” instead. His nature was still the same, but his position was different.

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