Lowliness is somewhat different from humility. A person may be humble without being willing to be lowly, for he may desire to be uplifted. A lowly person, on the contrary, is humble in his lowliness. In his lowliness his humility can be seen.
According to Matthew 11:29, Christ has the virtue of lowliness: “I am…lowly in heart.” To be lowly means not to esteem oneself highly. In facing rejection the Lord Jesus was lowly in heart. He submitted Himself fully to the will of His Father, not wanting to do anything for Himself nor expecting to gain something for Himself. Hence, regardless of the situation, He had rest in His heart. He was fully satisfied with His Father’s will. We should enjoy Him as such a One in His lowliness.
The first part of Philippians 2:8 says of Christ, “Being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself.” Here we see Christ’s virtue of self-humbling. When Christ became in the likeness of men, entering into the condition of humanity, He was found in fashion as a man by men. Then being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself. First He emptied Himself by putting aside the form, the outward expression, of His deity and becoming in the likeness of men. Then He humbled Himself.
Christ was God with the expression of God. Although He was equal with God, He put aside this equality and emptied Himself by taking the likeness of men. Then, being found in the appearance of a man, He humbled Himself. This means that when He was a man, He did not insist on anything. Rather, He humbled Himself to the point of dying on the cross.
Christ’s humbling Himself was a further step in the emptying of Himself. Christ’s self-humbling manifested His self-emptying. The death of the cross was the climax of Christ’s humiliation. We should worship Him in the climax of His humiliation.
Philippians 2:8 also speaks of Christ’s obedience, saying that He became “obedient even unto death, and that the death of a cross.” Romans 5:19 tells us that through this obedience of Christ shall the many be constituted righteous. This refers to the righteous act of Christ’s obedience on the cross. The result of this obedience is that the grace of God has abounded to many (Rom. 5:15), that the many will be constituted righteous (v. 19), that we have been justified unto life (v. 18), that grace will reign through righteousness unto eternal life (v. 21), and that in Christ all shall be made alive (1 Cor. 15:22). The result of Christ’s obedience is life unto all.
Hebrews 2:17 tells us that Christ is a merciful and faithful High Priest. The word “merciful” corresponds to Christ’s being a man, and the word “faithful” corresponds to His being God. In order to be faithful we need not only virtue but also ability. We may have the desire to be faithful in keeping our word, but we may lack the ability, the means, to fulfill it. Eventually, due to our inability, we may be forced to be unfaithful. However, as our High Priest Christ is not merely an honest, virtuous man; He is the faithful God. God is faithful (Heb. 10:23). He is able to fulfill whatever He says. Furthermore, God never lies (Heb. 6:18). Whatever He speaks He is able to fulfill, for He has the means to fulfill His word. Therefore, Christ can be faithful because He is God.
Only God can be fully faithful. None of us can be altogether faithful. But nothing can keep God from fulfilling His word. Therefore, Christ can be a faithful High Priest because He is the almighty God. Since He, as the Son of God, is God Himself, He can be faithful to us as our High Priest.
(Conclusion of the New Testament, The (Msgs. 050-062), Chapter 13, by Witness Lee)