. . . although He existed in the form of God,
He 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.
Some have called the incarnation the most paradoxical of all Christian doctrines, and this could be true. The incarnation forms the necessary link between an incalculable and transcendent Trinity on the one hand, and an ultra-ironic and concretely historic Cross on the other. Who can fathom what took place as God the Son humbled Himself to become the fully-human-and-completely-divine Son of God? In His Person He draws together the realms of eternity and the world of men, and he affects both by His mediating work. He is perfect God and perfect Man - as perfect in the limitations of His humanity as He is perfect in the superlatives of His deity. He is God and He is man. He is the Mediator between God and man.
In a short essay, entitled The Excellency of Christ, Jonathan Edwards noted:
The following list of incarnation mysteries is offered as a seed bed for thoughtful reflection on the incarnated Son, Who stands at the exact center of the Father's eternal plan . . . at the focal point of human history . . . and at the eternal epicenter of redemption.
Consider . . .
The Creator became a creature . . .
The Eternal One entered time . . .
The pure One encountered a world saturated with sin . . .
The One Who cannot sin appeared in the likeness of sinful flesh . . .
The One Who cannot be tempted by evil faced the fiercest temptations possible . . .
The Immortal God took on a mortally vulnerable body . . .
The Self-sufficient One became dependent . . .
The Righteous Judge placed Himself under the faulty dictates of human justice . . .
The Sovereign Lord submitted to imperfect human authorities . . .
The omnipresent One placed Himself within finite space . . .
The Almighty lived within natural human limitations . . .
The omniscient mind of God was hidden within a human being's ignorance
The All-knowing One experienced the process of learning . . .
The changeless, immutable One experienced the process of maturing . . .
The eternally joyful One became a man of sorrows . . .
The Great Intercessor became a man of prayer . . .
The Maker of Law was born under law . . .
The Owner of everything made Himself poor . . .
The Supreme Master became a suffering servant . . .
The Invisible One was seen and touched . . .
The One Who is Forever Blessed would become a curse for us . . .
The Living God would die for us . . .
Although He "emptied" and "humbled" Himself in this way, He never ceased in His perfections - human or divine. His divine attributes were not removed, but covered over and veiled by human characteristics. While in many ways His glorious power was hidden, His love and grace and wisdom and goodness and justice were only magnified by the incarnation - yet they were magnified in a way that is forever hidden from the hard-hearted and indelibly revealed to those who trust in Him.
The many paradoxes of Christ's Person are unbelievable to the unbelieving, yet they are the very means by which God effectually calls sinners to choose Him.
"Let the consideration of this wonderful meeting of diverse excellencies in Christ induce you to accept him, and close with him as your Savior. As all manner of excellencies meet in him, so there are occurring in him all manner of arguments and motives, to move you to choose him for your Savior, and every thing that tends to encourage poor sinners to come and put their trust in him. His fullness and all-sufficiency as a Savior gloriously appear in that variety of excellencies that has been spoken of." (Edwards, The Excellency of Christ)