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Jesus Paid It All

by David A. DePra

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. Who,

being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God

something to be grasped. But made Himself nothing, taking the

very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And

being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and

became obedient to death-- even death on a cross. Therefore

God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is

above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should

bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue

confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

(Phil. 2:5-11)

     This passage reveals to us much about what it cost Jesus Christ

to become one of us. It is one of the few which elaborates on the

statement of John, the apostle, "And the Word became flesh, and

dwelt among us." (Jn. 1:14)

     In the above passage, note the phrase, "did not consider

equality with God something to be grasped." Even in some of the

modern translations, such as the NIV above, this wording tends to

cloud the real meaning. What is Paul saying here?

     It becomes clear once we realize that "equality with God" is

something of eternal worth. Then we see that what Paul is saying

is that Christ did not regard His divine equality as a prize which was

to be "grasped" and "held to Himself." Rather -- and Paul tells us

this -- Jesus laid aside His equality with God and took upon Himself

OUR nature. He became one of us.

     It would seem impossible for us to wrap our minds around this.

Jesus existed before He became a man. He is said, in this

passage to have had "equality with God." But in order to become

one of us, He had to lay that aside. Then He bore all the sins of

the world and died. That is what it cost Him to redeem us.

The God-Man

     One important aspect of all this that is important to understand is

that while Jesus laid aside equality with God, He did not cease to

BE God. We see this if we look further into the words used by Paul

in this passage.

     First, the phrase, "made Himself nothing." The literal meaning

here is "emptied Himself." The general sense is that Jesus

emptied Himself of His equality with God, but not of His Divine

nature. The change was of His mode of existance, but not of His

personhood. In other words, Jesus was still God, the second

Person of the Trinity. But He had emptied Himself of the priviledge

of functioning AS God. He became a man.

     The phrase "made in human likeness" expands this Truth. Jesus

took upon Himself all that we are -- but it was still HIM that took it!

The Word BECAME flesh, but did not cease to BE the WORD. The

Son of God did not ever cease to exist. He retained His Divine

nature, but carried it into a union with the human nature He acquired

by human birth.

     Jesus was therefore one-hundred percent God, but also one-

hundred percent man. The best way to understand this is to

compare the birth of Jesus to the birth of someone who is, say,

half American Indian, and half Irish. Jesus' father was God Himself.

But His mother was human. Thus, as He formed in the womb of

Mary, and came to be born, He carried ALL the traits of both the

human and the Divine. Just as someone half native American and

half Irish carries all the traits of each of those lines, so did Jesus

have the traits of both His Father and mother.

     The big difference, of course, is that Jesus existed BEFORE He

was born. We don't. So there had to have actually been a point in

our time and space continuim that God took Him and reduced Him

from His pre-incarnate existance down into the form in which He

started in the womb of Mary. That is quite an awesome thought, but

it had to have happened. We know it did not happen through the

usual act of human pro-creation, but it happened by a miracle of

the Holy Spirit.

     This also gives us a glimpse of what Jesus gave up to become

one of us. When He became an embryo, He was not inside of

Mary, wishing that He could hurry up and get born. No. He WAS

an embryo. He was reduced to that. There was no faking it. He

had put aside everything God is to start over again in that lowly


     Thus, we have Jesus, both Divine and human, born of Mary,

taking the nature of man. But don't confuse this with the SIN nature.

The "nature of man" is what makes human beings human. Our

bodies, yes, but also our tempermental makeup, our emotions, our

intellectual makeup, etc. Jesus wrapped Himself in all of this. But

He was NOT born with a sin nature, for God was His Father.

     Human nature is something God created, and it was good. The

sin nature was something Adam acquired, and it is really a moral

and spiritual condition which is the result of rejecting God. It is, in

effect, a damaged and ruined condition. Jesus was born without

this, for He was born of God as Father.

     Jesus was the perfect man from the beginning, the "Last Adam."

(see I Corinthians 15:45) But He still had to learn and experience

life AS a man. We see this in Hebrews:

Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things

which He suffered. And being made perfect, he became the author

of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him. (Heb. 5:8-9)

     Jesus carried His sinlessness through life into new areas and

experiences, and became mature in doing so. And of course, all of

this was unto the end that He be the Lamb of God, to bear the sin

of the world.

Restored to Glory

     After Jesus was resurrected, He spent about forty days

appearing to His disciples, teaching them about many things. Then,

at the end of that time, He ascended physically into heaven. We

have no way of knowing how all of this worked, or what happened

once Jesus disappeared out of sight as He rose up that day. But

the fact that He ascended physically holds significance.

     We can know for sure that His ascension was physical because

of the accounts after the resurrection. We find Jesus showing the

disciples the scars He retained from His crucifixion. He also told

them point blank that He was NOT a "spirit," but flesh and bones.

(see Luke 24:39) This same Jesus is the one who ascended into


     What this means is that today Jesus retains those scars. Even

though He was restored to what was certainly all the glory He had

before His human birth, it is correct to say that it was an even

greater glory. But how could it be greater? It was greater precisely

because of the scars. The scars proclaim victory over sin and

death -- literally and by experience. This is something which had

not been done by God before the birth and death of His Son.

     Could it be that of all the resurrected bodies that will live forever

with God, that the only one with scars will be that of Jesus Christ?

Yet they are scars of victory -- a finished victory which proclaims

what it cost God to redeem us, and a victory which can never be

taken away.

     It cost God more than it is possible to imagine to redeem us.

But that is precisely WHY it is so simple to reach out and receive

what He has done for us. It is offered to us freely, by grace,

because the price which was paid was so eternal.

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