Do you like butterflies? They are beautiful. However, I bet if you answered yes to the previous question, you would respond, "no," to the next question, who likes caterpillars? No one would believe that such a beautiful insect could come from that ugly looking leaf eater. But, upon carefully observing this insect's life cycle, we realize that the creator formed the larva to enclose itself into a cocoon. There it metamorphoses or is transformed into a butterfly. Thus, the reviled becomes something beautiful.
The word metamorphosis means:
1. A marked change in appearance, character, condition, or function, also known as transformation.
2. A change in the form and often the habits of an animal during normal development after the embryonic stage. Examples of Metamorphosis include converting maggots into adult flies, caterpillars into butterflies, and changing tadpoles into frogs.
Meta is a Greek prefix for beside or after. Morph is a suffix that means form, shape, or structure. In essence, the word metamorphosis points toward the form an object will take after the transformation. The word trans is a prefix that means across, on the other side, or beyond. It can also mean to go through a Change or make a transfer. In the case of the caterpillar, its appearance and function change beyond recognition; how like Christ, when He assumed nature 4,000 years after the fall.
Isaiah 53:2 says, "For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him." When Jesus became a man, it was a significant change for Him, and perhaps for others who had seen Him before the incarnation. Many physical characteristics God has, Jesus no longer had. He was transformed into a human being, small and weak, in comparison to God. He had the same frailties, needs, and weaknesses we have. Accordingly, He covered His divinity with sinful humanity, yet did not sin, and according to Ellen White, "He was afflicted in all the afflictions of humanity." It is this combination of natures that qualifies Christ to be our Saviour.
Furthermore, Ellen White says of Him:
To save fallen humanity, the Son of God took humanity upon Himself, laying aside His kingly crown and royal robe. He became poor that we through His poverty might be made rich. One with God, He alone was capable of accomplishing this work, and He consented to an actual union with man. In His sinlessness, He could bear every transgression ... Christ did in reality, unite the offending nature of man with His own sinless nature, because by this act of condescension, He would be enabled to pour out His blood in behalf of the fallen race. (E. G. White Notes, page 29.)
Christ assumed the human nature of sinful man. Sin can be defined as self-love. This human nature, united with His divine nature of selfless love, did not Sin in Word, thought, or action. In Him, the battle was fought, and selfless love won out on the cross. In Himself, He redeemed the corporate life of humanity—what a wonderful Saviour, willing to condescend to the depths of degradation to save fallen human beings.
In Philippians chapter 2, from the NASB we read:
Phil. 2:5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,
Phil. 2:6 Who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,
Phil. 2:7 But emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.
Phil. 2:8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
So when Paul says, "Let this mind be in you" or as it is said in the NASB, "let this attitude be in you," He meant that we should we be willing to submit to the authority of God's indwelling Holy Spirit just as Jesus submitted to the Father. As Christ submitted to His Father even unto the death, so should we.
The mind of Christ or the attitude of Christ was that of self-denying love. Self-denying love is the principle that reigns in God's kingdom. This form of love (agape) is the only true love. With this love alone, man would be willing to lay down his or her life for another. It is the desire of the Father for us to have the mind of Christ, and He is more than willing to give it to us. Will we accept it?