Christ Emptied Himself of What?

Is Christ Merely Human or Divine?

Christ Emptied HimselfIt has always been a great debate for centuries among Christians as to whether Jesus is merely human, a God or if he is both God and man. This issue is one of the greatest issues that has divided the Christian church. It is important that we understand what this is all about.

We have to realize that only a God can save all of humanity because his life is worth more than all the whole world. And if Christ emptied himself of his divinity at the cross — if he was not God — then his human life can only save one person.

“Christ Emptied Himself” Explained

Actually, the context of Phil. 2:5-11 — which is a hymn — shows that Jesus “emptied himself” by going down to our human level accepting ridicule and shame remaining lowly and humble unto death. The context of this passage is about what “attitude” (verse 5) the Philippians ought to have as Paul exhorted them.

Christ did not “empty himself” of divinity and became a human being only. Rather, he “emptied himself” of the prerogatives of divinity. He did not use his great powers as a divine being but allowed himself to be ridiculed and put to death showing humility. That is the context of Phil. 2:7 where we find the word, “emptied himself.”

The Person of Christ

When he died on the cross, it was the person Jesus Christ, who is the Word, who is both God and man, and who is the Son of God who died on the cross. As theologian Jeff McSwain said, “It’s two natures in one person. Christ assumed our corrupt depraved humanity and he always remained God, pure and holy and unblemished the whole time.” Or as Gregory of Nazianzus said, “God crucified.” Since only God could save the whole world and since only humans can die, we have a perfect Savior in Jesus Christ who is both God and man.

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