2:7 made himself nothing. Lit. “emptied Himself.” Christ is not said to have removed from Himself His identity as God. The phrase means that He humbled Himself, relinquishing His heavenly status, not His divine being. The nature of His self-emptying is defined in three phrases that follow (“taking . . . being born . . . being found”). See “The Humanity of Jesus” at 2 John 7.
a servant. That is, a slave. This language vividly expresses Christ’s willingness to deprive Himself of His exalted status (v. 6 note).
the likeness of men. Christ is truly human. “Likeness” means more than similarity. In order to die (v. 8), He had to be completely human. At the same time, Paul makes a distinction between Christ and other human beings. Unlike them, He has no sin (2 Cor. 5:21). And regarding His divine nature He remains transcendent over created reality; He cannot cease to be a heavenly being even in His humiliation.