The Doctrine of Kenosis.

Point 1.  The introduction


The introduction of the Doctrine is derived from the Greek word kenoo which means to deprive oneself of a proper function, Phi 2:7a.


PHI 2:7a "but He deprived Himself of the proper function of deity


Point 2.  Definition = Kenosis is based on the fact that the union of the deity of Christ to unglorified humanity is a necessary factor in His humiliation.


Point 3 is where we let off on Sunday morning.


Point 3.  The True Humiliation of the Incarnation.


This is one of the most powerful points in the doctrine.

During the dispensation of the hypostatic union:

Jesus Christ did not use the attributes of His divine nature to glorify Himself or to act independently of the plan of God for the entire human race.


One compromise of the human nature of Jesus Christ to the spiritual life and there would not be any spiritual life in the Church-age.


The objectives of this doctrine union were ALL related to the human nature of Jesus Christ.


To resist this temptation, the human nature of Jesus Christ must not call on the divine nature for help.


He had to use the three spiritual skills and the four mechanics of the spiritual life to maintain His human perfection and to be qualified to go to the Cross and be judged for the sins of the world.


The three spiritual skills all rely on the power of the Word and the power of the Spirit; JOH 4:23-24.

This was not only what our Lord used and then gave them to us, but He also became our example to follow by becoming a prototype or a model to follow.


Let’s look at a passage that illustrates this example that He laid out for us to follow.


1PE 2:13   Submit [honor the authority] yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority,


1PE 2:14 or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.


1PE 2:15 For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.


1PE 2:16 {Act} as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but {use it} as bondslaves of God.


GAL 5:13   For you were called to freedom, brethren; only {do} not {turn} your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.


1PE 2:17 Honor all men; love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.


1PE 2:18   Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable.


1PE 2:19 For this {finds} favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a man bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly.


1PE 2:20 For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this {finds} favor with God.





And then here’s the main verse I told you about;


1PE 2:21 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,


So, our Lord used these three spiritual skills:


  1. The filling of the Holy Spirit and the use of divine power; EPH 5:18.


  1. The understanding of Bible doctrine and the use of divine power; EPH 4:23.


  1. The execution of the PPOG and therefore, the use of divine power; JOH 4:24.


Our Lord used these three spiritual skills during the dispensation when the Doctrine of Kenosis was revealed.


He would not use His own power but rather chose rather to live among men with their own limitations but with the availability of divine power to do so.


By doing so, He established in His humanity a spiritual life which is precedent for the Church-age.


Christ voluntarily restricted the independent use of His divine attributes, but certain functions of deity continued to function, such as holding the universe together.


Jesus Christ gave up the independent exercise of His divine attributes only during the dispensation of the Hypostatic Union.


He did not give up His divine attributes--that is a heresy.





Under kenosis, our Lord veiled the preincarnate glory of His deity by giving up the outward appearance of God and voluntarily taking on Himself the form of man; PHI 2:6-8.


PHI 2:6  who, although He existed in the exact form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,


PHI 2:7 But instead, He denied Himself of the proper function of His deity by taking the form of a bond servant, {and} being made in the likeness of men.


PHI 2:8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.


This means that the glory of Christ was veiled, but never surrendered.


In fact:


This glory was temporarily revealed on the Mount of Transfiguration, and at Gethsemane there was just a flash of that glory.


MAT 17:1  And six days later Jesus *took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and *brought them up to a high mountain by themselves.


MAT 17:2 And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.


MAT 17:3 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.


MAT 17:4  And Peter answered and said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah."




MAT 17:5 While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and behold, a voice out of the cloud, saying, "This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him!"


Even though the humanity of Christ in the hypostatic union was perfect and impeccable, nevertheless, the deity of Christ was united with unglorified humanity.


Our Lord Jesus Christ chose not to surrender any of His attributes of His deity - called “The Doctrine of the Humility of Christ.”


The union of Christ to unglorified humanity is a necessary factor of humiliation.


While the deity of Christ was united to a perfect true humanity, He was still subject to temptation, distress, weakness, pain, sorrow, limitation, and to more temptations than we will ever face, Heb 4:15.


HEB 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as {we are, yet} without sin.


And therein lies the truth of the humiliation of the First Advent.


He solved these problems from the spiritual life of His humanity by the use of the problem-solving devices.


The glorification of the humanity of Christ was not completed until He was resurrected, ascended, and was seated at the right hand of the Father.


In the hypostatic union, the divine and human natures are united without transfer of attributes.


No divine attributes were transferred to His humanity and no attributes of humanity were transferred to His deity.


The attributes of deity cannot bleed over into humanity and the attributes of humanity cannot bleed over into deity.


To rob God of a single attribute of His deity would pervert His divine nature.


Moses perverted the divine nature when he struck the rock twice when God just said to speak it once; NUM 20:11-13.


NUM 20:11  Then Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came forth abundantly, and the congregation and their beasts drank.


NUM 20:12 But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, "Because you have not believed Me, to treat Me as holy in the sight of the sons of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them."


NUM 20:13 Those were the waters of Meribah, because the sons of Israel contended with the Lord, and He proved Himself holy among them.


Moses was usurping God's place.


He said to the people, "Hear now, you rebels: shall we bring water for you out of this rock?"


Why was God so upset with Moses for striking the rock?


What happened when Moses smote the rock twice?


At once, water gushed from the rock, and the people and their livestock had water to drink.


Moses lifted up his hand, and smote the rock with his rod twice: and water came forth abundantly and provided the congregation and their cattle all the water they needed.


Why did God gush out the water for the people when Moses disobeyed Him and struck the rock twice?


I personally believe that He did that openly so that the people would recognize that:


Moses was their leader so God honored His Word in front of the people, but He will deal with him privately, behind closed doors, as it were, because it is a family affair.


And if you are involved in legalism, you may not like this but learn the lesson now which is:


Do not touch God’s anointed.


As David said in 1SA 26:9 "Do not destroy him, for who can stretch out his hand against the Lord's anointed and be without guilt?"


What does the Bible say about Touch Not my anointed



PSA 105:15 "Do not touch My anointed ones, And do My prophets no harm."


The point is:


To rob the humanity of Christ of a single attribute of humanity would destroy His humanity in the hypostatic union.


Point 4.  The Manifestation of Kenosis in our Lord's Evidence Testing.


The true doctrine of Kenosis is illustrated by the humanity of Christ in facing evidence testing.


Evidence testing is the highest form of suffering that a believer could ever go through as the final stage of Christian suffering for blessing.


The mature believer's utilization of divine assets to pass evidence testing totally demolishes the devil's case.



Satan’s first argument:


  1. Satan argues that men, just like angels, will not be able to handle suffering, especially if they consider the suffering is unjust.


Satan’s second argument is that:


  1. The only reason anyone remains faithful to God is because God blesses him not because He loves God.


Satan’s third argument:


  1. No one will remain faithful to God if offered sufficient or enough wealth and power.


In other words, everyone has his price.


This is the evidence test Satan leveled against the humanity of Christ during the Incarnation, MAT 4:1-11.


And these are the two different types of evidence testing that the believer may face.


The type depends upon what Satan chooses to bring upon


For Satan is the cross examiner of the Angelic Conflict and as such has the right to interrogate the witness.


The courtroom is planet Earth.


God entered His evidence by creating man just as the angels were created: perfect with the potential to love and worship God through right decisions.


By creating man basically, we are talking about the two Adam’s.


1CO 15:21 For since by a man {came} death, by a man also {came} the resurrection of the dead.


1CO 15:22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive.

Look at 1CO 15:45 So also it is written, "The first man, Adam [in the garden], became a living soul." The last Adam {became} a life giving spirit.


1CO 15:46 However, the spiritual [TLJC] is not first, but the natural [Adam]; then the spiritual [TLJC].


1CO 15:47 The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven.


1CO 15:48 As is the earthy [Adam], so also are those who are earthy [us]; and as is the heavenly [TLJC], so also are those who are heavenly.


1CO 15:49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.


Human history provides the same circumstances and options which belonged to angelic history before man's creation.


Satan had been created with a perfect nature, our Lord was born without sin—virgin birth.

The angels have free will; our Lord and man has free will.


Adam freely and deliberately chose to follow the pattern of arrogance which characterized Satan's original revolution.


The fall of Adam duplicates the fall of Satan.


The rebellion of Satan in the Garden of God resulted in the fall of angelic creatures, Rev 12:4a And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven, and threw them to the earth.


The dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth so that when she gave birth, he might devour her child.


The disobedience of Adam in the Garden of Eden resulted in the fall of mankind, Rom 5:12a.


In fact, this passage tells us what happened because our Lord was willing to live under the Doctrine of Kenosis and deny Himself of the proper function of His deity.


Look at ROM 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.


ROM 5:9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath {of God} through Him.


ROM 5:10  For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.


In ROM 5:12  Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned


ROM 5:13 for until the Law sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

In other words,


Before the Lord gave the Mosaic Law, even though there were no commandments from God to man, man still died in sin without the Law prohibiting us from doing so.


ROM 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.


Skip down to ROM 5:17 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.


ROM 5:18 So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.


ROM 5:19 For as through the one man's disobedience the many [hoi polloi – the entire human race] were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One [TLJC] the many will be made righteous.


Let’s look at the passage again that reveals all of this by example and experience.


MAT 4:1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.


MAT 4:2 And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry.


MAT 4:3 And the tempter came and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread."


MAT 4:4 But He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.'"


MAT 4:5 Then the devil *took Him into the holy city; and he had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple,


MAT 4:6 and *said to Him, "If You are the Son of God throw Yourself down; for it is written, #'He will give His angels charge concerning You'; and ' On {their} hands they will bear You up, Lest You strike Your foot against a stone.'"


MAT 4:7 Jesus said to him, "On the other hand, it is written, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'"


MAT 4:8 Again, the devil *took Him to a very high mountain, and *showed Him all the kingdoms of the world, and their glory;


MAT 4:9 and he said to Him, "All these things will I give You, if You fall down and worship me."


MAT 4:10 Then Jesus *said to him, "Begone, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.'"

MAT 4:11 Then the devil *left Him; and behold, angels came and {began} to minister to Him.


In all three tests, He utilized the power of the Word provided by the omnipotence of the Father and the power of the Spirit provided in the PPOG for His life.


Matthew chapter four is probably one of the most important passages in the Word of God from the standpoint of Christology.


The first ten verses are crucial to understanding not only the gospel but the ministry of Jesus Christ in the first advent.


We noted last time the baptism of Jesus and the fact that Christ dedicated Himself through the baptism to go to the cross; MAT 3:13-17.


MAT 3:13   Then Jesus *arrived from Galilee at the Jordan {coming} to John, to be baptized by him.


MAT 3:14 But John tried to prevent Him, saying, "I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?"


MAT 3:15 But Jesus answering said to him, "Permit {it} at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he permitted Him.


MAT 3:16 And after being baptized, Jesus went up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, {and} coming upon Him,


MAT 3:17 and behold, a voice out of the heavens, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."


This led to the account which we have in chapter four.


Whenever you make any kind of a decision which is going to glorify God or is honoring to God, immediately that decision is tested; JAM 1:13.

Jesus Christ expressed His positive volition to fulfill the Father’s plan through submission to baptism, the water represented the plan of God for His life, and would go to the cross.


In saying that, immediately this fact was challenged by Satan himself.


Jesus Christ is willing to do the Father’s will and Satan is now going to seek to hinder the Father’s will, namely the cross.


Jesus Christ did not have an old sin nature and in this way, He was exactly like the first Adam; 1CO 15:45-49.


The first Adam came into the world without an old sin nature; Jesus Christ came into the world without an old sin nature through the virgin birth.


It was the virgin birth that separated Jesus Christ from all members of the human race, before or since.


Therefore, all of these principles mean that:


In the history of the human race only one person is virgin-born and only one person therefore is without an old sin nature, without the imputation of Adam’s sin.




Jesus Christ, the last Adam, and the first Adam started out in exactly the same way and were tempted under the same concept.


They were truly tempted, the temptation was bona fide, but it did not come from the old sin nature.


Both the first and the last Adam’s were tempted by Satan himself, using every wile and everything in his great genius to cause them to act independently of God.


With the first Adam Satan was successful, with the last Adam Satan was totally unsuccessful — one sinned, one did not; ROM 5:12.

Christ was temptable, and therefore, it was possible for His humanity to be tempted, but at no point did He personally succumb to any temptation.


This was posse non peccare = posse (able) non (not) peccare (to sin). (HEB 4:15).


HEB 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as {we are, yet} without sin.


non posse peccare = non (not) posse (able) peccare (to sin) = because He is God and His ways are perfect and just; DEU 32:4.


According to HEB 4:15, it should also be remembered that Jesus Christ was not only tempted but in His humanity He was tempted far beyond anything that anyone in the human race has ever known.


The temptations of Christ were very real and much more difficult than anything we have faced.

In fact, some temptations were put in His way which we will never face.


From that particular point we not only have a unique person but we have a person who faced some temptations that are unique.


And The three temptations of Matthew four are temptations which no one else in the human race has faced in the same manner that Jesus Christ did.


Now, let’s look at the passage in a very detailed serious way because of its importance so I want to look at every verse no matter how long it takes,


For I thought that I had the Doctrine of Kenosis finished by Friday, but our Lord interrupted what I had prepared and said; “Not yet Bob”!


It reminds me of a passage that I believe Paul wrote and closed the book of Romans until God said in effect; “Not yet Paul, there’s more to come.”


You know the passage I’m talking about because we have noted it many times before.


ROM 11:33   Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!


ROM 11:34  For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor?


ROM 11:35 Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again?


ROM 11:36 For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him   {be} the glory forever. Amen.


What a perfect place to close the book of Romans, but there were 5 more chapters to come.






ROM 12 = Body of Christ

ROM 13 = Law of Establishment.

ROM 14 = Royal Family Honor Code

ROM 15 = RFHC commands to all believers

ROM 16 = Salutation and warnings.


So, in back in MAT 4:1.


MAT 4:1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.


“To be tempted” is an aorist passive participle, the aorist tense refers to every point of time when Jesus was tempted during the forty days.


The tests will last for forty days and during that time Jesus was constantly tempted by the devil.


Only three of the temptations are going to be extracted and recorded because they are unique.


The person is unique and the temptations are unique.

Comparing scripture with scripture which is what a pastor is commanded to do, MAR 1:13 adds some more information about this temptation by the devil;


MAR 1:13 And He was in the wilderness forty days being tempted by Satan; and He was with the wild beasts, and the angels were ministering to Him.


This is something Matthew did not say.


In Fact, Luke 4:2 tell us that He was tempted many many times apart from the three we will study.


LUK 4:2 for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those (40) days; and when they had ended, He became hungry.


For forty days He fasted and did not eat.


He chose to do that!



The passive voice of the verb to tempt means that the humanity of Christ received the pressure and it came directly from Satan and was quite concentrated.


The infinitive indicates that it was Satan’s purpose to hinder Jesus Christ from going to the cross.


The principle of verse one:


After victory (Jesus grew up in wisdom and reached spiritual maturity) Jesus comes to the place of testing and by application the believer is always tested after a great victory, after any kind of a great decision.


The believer is always most vulnerable to a defeat immediately after a great victory.


Verse 2 — the background of the temptation:


MAT 4:2 And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry.



Now, things are not always what they appear to be and the fact that Jesus Christ is exceedingly hungry is not simply dieting.


Dieting is not fasting.


Fasting means to spend the time that ordinarily would be used for normal functions in life in contemplating doctrine and prayer.


In other words, the Bible study and prayer is the true concept of fasting.




The humanity of Christ spent this time ordinarily devoted to eating and normal surviving living in prayer and meditating on the Word.


This is an aorist participle and the action of the aorist participle precedes the action of the main verb — “he was hungry”


First of all, he had periods of prayer and Bible study, minus food — with three factors found in fasting.


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