#07 Jesus as God

By Dr. Stephen Phinney

"Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 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” (Philippians 2:5-7).

Covenant Prayer

Dear Father, I know that Your Son is our God. I reject any thought and idea that He is not. I choose, this day, to stand on the truth that Jesus exists because of You and by You. I accept that He is from Your seed, which makes Him perfect. I stand against the enemy’s lies of proclaiming Him “just a man.” I thank You for caring enough to send Him in the form of a man, emptying Himself of being God, in order for each of us to be able to relate to Him as God incarnate. I choose to believe what the Scriptures say about Jesus being equal with You as God, the Father. Your divine Truth and Wisdom regarding this sensitive subject is what I will stand on all the days of my life. I thank you for appearing to us in the form of Your Son. I will cling to His life and liberty with my very being. I now understand that since I am a servant of Your kingdom, You had to send to me Yourself in the form of a servant, Jesus Christ. Thank you for loving me enough to do such a humble act of kindness. These things I pray in the blessed name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

“Who, being in the form of God”

There is scarcely any passage in the New Testament that has given rise to more discussion. Many cults have been formed worldwide because of the fight of Jesus being God. The absolute importance of this passage on the question of the Savior’s divinity is no small part of the point of the appeal the apostle Paul depends on. This is clearly noted in the fact that Paul regarded the Redeemer as equal with God. If Jesus was/is truly divine, then His consenting to become a man becomes the most remarkable of all possible acts of humility. Why would He do such a thing? Why would God come in the form of a man – a servant man? We will explore these questions within this lesson.

Take Action -Your View

  • Have you ever struggled with the fact that Jesus is God? 
  • Why or why not? 
  • Look up John 17:5 and state what you believe is being said here. 
  • In your view, why do you believe Jesus took on the role of becoming a “bondservant” if He was God?
Philippians 2:5 (KJV) states, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” The object of this reference unfolds the example of our Savior’s love for us and His desire to reunite us back to the heavenly Father. It also displays an example of humility for us as believers. This is the highest example that could be offered. Additionally, it illustrates and confirms the importance of why God would come in the form of a humble man – a bondservant of the kingdom of God. The principle in this particular case is we are to embrace the Truth that God had to come in the form of man, in order for man to embrace God. For God, in the minds of man, was too far-reaching for his own good. The point here is God left a state of inexpressible glory of being God; took upon Himself the most humble form of humanity; and performed in the lowliest position (a bondslave), in order that He might reconcile us back to Himself. He accomplished this by placing His own seed in an earthly woman (Mary), going through the humble process of being born as a human, and growing up under the conditions of man. This evidential proof of Jesus being God now becomes too much for man to comprehend.  
  • After reading the above paragraph, express how you feel.

Christ Being In the Form of God

The word rendered “form” - μορφή (morphē) occurs in only three places in the New Testament and in each place it is rendered “form.” In Mark 16:12, it is applied to the form which Jesus assumed after his resurrection and likewise, when he appeared to two of his disciples on his way to Emmaus. “After that he appeared in another form unto two of them” (KJV). This “form” was so unlike his usual appearance, that they “did not know him”. The word properly means: form; shape; bodily shape, especially a beautiful form; a beautiful bodily appearance; or a spiritual body. In Philippians 2:7, it is applied to the appearance of a servant - “took upon him the form of a servant” (KJV): that is, He was in the condition of a servant - or of the lowest condition. In Philippians 2:6, it is applied to the appearance of God.

Christ’s trinity of “forms” illustrates and demonstrates the power of the Trinity of God. Jesus reveals His form as the Father (John 10:30), a human “bondservant” (Philippians 2:7), and the “form” He took after the resurrection in a spiritual body (Mark 16:12). This word occurs often in the Hebrew in three significant ways: 

  • As the translation of the word ציי – “ziyv” - splendor (Dan. 4:36; 5:6, 9-10; 7:28).  
  • As the translation of the word תּבנית – “tabnîyth” - structure, model, pattern - as in building, a stone or a rock (Isa. 44:13). 
  • As the translation of תּמונה - “tĕmuwnah” - appearance, form, shape, image, likeness, (Job 4:16; 18:1). [1]
As a man is known from the appearance of his form, so is the majesty that shines in God (His figure, Jesus Christ). Therefore, before the foundation of the world, Christ was in the form of God because He had glory with the Father before the world was formed (John 17:5). Keep in mind that before He put on our nature, there was nothing humble or earthy about Him - only the magnificence worthy of being God.

The second critical factor is the word “form” is equivalent to nature or being. That is, Jesus Christ was and is in the nature of God; His reason of existence was that of God; and He was and is divine. In support of this understanding, therefore, is why His power was seen in working miracles and in His divine appearances while on earth, i.e. “walking on water.”


The “form” referred to in Philippians 2:6 is a “form” before He became a man, or before He took upon Himself the “form” of a servant. It was something from which He humbled himself by making “Himself of no reputation;” by “taking the form of a bond-servant;” and by “being made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:7, KJV). Please keep in mind that man was “created in the image (form) of God”. In God’s reality, Christ adopting the “form” of man didn’t move Him away from the design of the Father. The difference was the “being God” part. We were created in the image of God. He was and is God. 
  • Write out Philippians 2:6-7. Replace the word “form” with the word “person” to see the true context of this passage.


When Christ deprived Himself of being God, He entered the humble state of “being” man. There was something He possessed, making it proper to say that He was “in the form of God,” which He laid aside when appearing in the form of a servant and in the likeness of human beings. This “something” was the Father; the Father was in Him. The Greek definition of “in” is “one” or same “being.” Jesus said in John 14:11, "Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves” (NASB).

In any case, be assured that His ability to perform “acts of the Father” is not of His moral qualities. Nor, is there any conceivable sense that He deprived Himself of the power of working miracles, so that He might take upon Himself the “form of a servant.” He maintained both elements of His humble state. All the miracles He performed when He maintained the form of a servant, or in His lowly and humble condition, were performed by the power of God (life of God), which was in Him.

Once we accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, He implants the Holy Spirit (power of God) inside of us, then places us in Him, and hides Himself in the Father (Colossians 3:3). John 14:20 reveals this: "In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you” (NASB).

This is why, after Salvation, we are able to accomplish supernatural acts such as “casting out demons,” “healing the sick,” and other likeminded miracles. By going through the process in John 14:20, we inherit all the same attributes of Christ Himself, except one important quality - being God.

We, of course, cannot fully understand the manifestation of God’s glory that He may make in the heavenly world - at least on this side of Salvation. Nothing forbids us, however, to suppose that we are given partial visibility to the manifestations, i.e. some splendor and magnificence of God in the view of the Great Sovereign of the universe.

“He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen” (1 Timothy 6:15-16).

The Lord Jesus possessed God’s glory (visible manifestation or splendor), indicating the nature of God, before his incarnation and maintained it throughout His divine ministry. This is truly worthy of an Amen!

[1] “Strong’s Concordance,” e-sword® version 9.8.3. Copyright ©2000-2011 by Rick Meyers.
http://www.e-sword.net  (accessed September 25, 2012). 

All Scriptures, unless otherwise stated, are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Scriptures marked KJV are taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version, public domain.

Next time: Jesus as the Son