Jesus Christ embodies the heights of exaltation, and the depths of humiliation. As the eternal Son, He is the most high God; as Son incarnate, He was meek and lowly of heart (Matt. 11:29). As God, He does all things for His own glory; as man, He did all things for the glory of His Father (John 8:49–50). Christ is the eternal Son of God who became man. The eternal Son of God became the man Christ Jesus to be the Mediator of the covenant of grace.
The Westminster Larger Catechism teaches us that Christ is our Mediator in His states of humiliation and exaltation. Christ’s states are just as important for our salvation as His identity and office as Mediator are. According to questions 46–50, Christ saves us by His humiliation through His conception and birth, through His entire life, through His death, and through His burial. In and through all these things, Christ as our Prophet, Priest, and King acted in our place to remove the miseries of sin and to reconcile us to God in every possible way.
What Was Christ’s Estate of Humiliation?
Christ’s humiliation encompassed His entirely earthly ministry, spanning from His incarnation to His burial. Christ was “in the form of God” (Phil. 2:6). We have seen in earlier questions of the catechism that this means that He is God equal to the Father and the Holy Spirit. Yet, He did not grasp on to His divine rights. He “emptied himself by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (v. 7). He who was the “form of God” became the “form of a servant” without ceasing to be the eternal God. If He could lay aside His divine attributes by His incarnation, He would never have been God, because God is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable. The incarnation, instead, consisted in the veiling of His divine glory in human flesh. Paul concludes that “being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (v. 8). This included “his conception and birth, life, death, and after his death, until his resurrection.”