Useful Bible Studies > Philippians Commentary > chapter 2

Christ took the form of a servant

Philippians 2:7

By his nature, Christ is in ‘the form of God’ (verse 6). By his own choice, he took ‘the form of a servant’ during his life on earth (verse 7).

The contrast between those two descriptions of Christ astonishes us. The ‘form of God’ means the honour, power and glory (splendid beauty) that God the Father has. In other words, the most wonderful honour, absolute power, and the greatest glory. All of these things, Christ had in heaven; all of these things, he left when he came to earth.

We could even translate the ‘form of a servant’ as the ‘form of a slave’. A slave receives no honour whatever; he has no power. In this world, kings and great rulers have a kind of glory (Matthew 4:8) – but slaves and servants have none. However, that was the life that Christ chose on earth. He chose to be unimportant, to give up so many wonderful things, so that he could help us (2 Corinthians 8:9). He would even choose to die so that God can forgive our evil deeds. That is the most wonderful act of love (Romans 5:8). So, we should turn from our evil deeds and invite Christ into our lives (John 1:12).

When God comes into our world, the greatness of his glory usually astonishes and frightens people (Hebrews 12:18-21). However, when Christ was born in Bethlehem, few people even realised it. To other people, this great and wonderful event seemed no different from the birth of any other child. However, the reality was that Christ, God the Son, had entered our world. It astonishes even more to know that he came, not in the form of God, but in human form – in fact, he even came in the form of a servant, in a completely humble way.

Next part: Christ's humble life and death (Philippians 2:8)


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© 2020, Keith Simons.