- who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. - Philppians 2:6-8
Before His incarnation, Christ existed in the form of God (cf. Philippians 2:6). The term exists (hupárchō) communicates the idea of a person’s continuous state or condition. The term form (morphḗ) denotes nature or character. Hence, Christ’s continuous nature and character were God.
- In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. - John 1:1
Having the nature and character of God, Christ did not consider being equal with God something to be grasped (harpagmós). Grasped (harpagmós) refers to something seized or stolen. In other words, Christ’s equality with God was rightly His. Equality (ísos) is to have the same quality, value, or measure as another being. Christ did not steal or take deity upon Himself. Christ was divine from all eternity.
At His incarnation, Christ took the form of a bondservant. Again, the term form (morphḗ) denotes nature or character. Taking (lambánō) is to enter into a specific condition or state. Christ existed for all eternity as God, but at a point in time, He entered into the state of being a bondservant. Becoming a bondservant is the beginning of Christ’s self-humiliation. This self-humiliation involved taking on a state positionally was less than the angels.
- But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. - Hebrews 2:9
Upon entering into this new state, Christ was made in the likeness of men. Being made (gínomai) is to assume a specific state or condition. He assumed the likeness of men. Likeness (homoíōma) refers to taking on all the essential characteristics of humanity.
- And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. - Luke 2:52