"But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons." (ESV)
“But when the fullness of time had come…” (v.4a)
From the eternal counsels of heaven God set in motion the plan of redemption. All the Old Testament prophecies concerning the first arrival of the promised Messiah were about to unfold. The time was ripe for the gospel to be proclaimed throughout the world. The Roman Empire was in power and they had built roads and bridges, and all the infrastructures needed for trade and commerce to prosper, which brought people closer together. These were all favorable to the gospel, which later on, the apostles, foremost of which is the apostle Paul, were able to use for the evangelization of Asia, Europe, and beyond.
“God sent forth His son…” (v.4b)
This is the very heart of Christmas - the one event that shook history and split it in half: B.C. and A.D.! When God gave up His Son, He understood the full ramifications of God being in the hands of angry sinners. A divine, pure sacrifice must be made to satisfy His righteous justice. There was no other way. No person on his own can ever atone for his sins no matter what he does. While all other religions teach that people must reach out to God and meet His holy standards to be saved, Christianity teaches that God has reached down to us and did it all on the Cross of Calvary. While other teachings say, “do” Christianity says, “done.” And Jesus did it once and for all.
“Born of a woman, born under the law…” (v.4c)
God’s answer to human suffering is not an explanation but the incarnation. He was born of a woman to indicate that while he was fully God He was also fully man who went through the full gamut of all human experiences. He felt rejection. He felt pain. He was emotionally shaken. He wept. When we are tempted to say that life is unfair, the incarnation reminds us that God “has been there, done that.” He came and identified with our sorrows, struggles, and pain. He subjected Himself to the very laws He created so that He might fulfill them - both the letter and the spirit of the law.
“So that He might redeem those who were under the Law…” (v.5a)
Through His suffering, death, and resurrection, the old covenant was abolished and a new covenant of grace was established – His unmerited favor extended to undeserved sinners. To “redeem” means, “to buy from the slave market.” We were all consigned in the slave market because of the fall of man. But Christ became our full, absolute, and final payment for sins. His death freed us from the dark slave market and gave us complete freedom that brought us into the kingdom of His light.
“That we might receive the adoption as sons…” (v.5b)
The incredible gift of sonship. It is the greatest gift that we can ever receive. The one gift that surpasses all gifts is a relationship with God through His Son. What the first Adam lost in the Garden of Eden, Jesus, the second perfect and last Adam, regained it back from the cross. Death came to all through the trespass of one man, but life came through the sacrifice of one pure, spotless Lamb of God – Jesus. In Romans 5:18 and 19, Paul beautifully sums it up for us, “Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.”
Today, as we enter the season of gift giving, why don’t we receive the greatest gift ever available to mankind? It’s free for the asking. All it takes is to receive Jesus by faith and accept Him into your heart. Surrender your life to Him and repent of your sin. Trust Him and you will never be the same person again. Merry Christmas!