Summary: In Christ, God has paid the price to bring us to Him.
As we have thought about the meaning of Christmas, we have said that Christmas means that God has rescued us and that God can relate to us. But there is yet another thought for us to consider concerning the meaning of Christmas. Christmas means that God has redeemed us.
Jesus came "at just the right time," for the purpose of redeeming the human race. The meaning of the word "redeem" is "to buy back." In other words, Jesus came to earth for the purpose of buying back that which had been lost from God. This was His purpose in coming, this is why he was "sent" by God (v. 4). He was sent to redeem us.
1. The price of redemption - v. 4
Jesus willingly assumed two things:
A. He assumed man’s position - "born of a woman"
When Jesus Christ was born into this world, divinity took on humanity. God took on flesh. As he walked upon this earth, He assumed the position of being a human being, who felt pain, hunger, weariness, and faced temptation. He got down on our level. He experienced everything we experience, with one important exception. Jesus never experienced sin. He lived a sinless, perfect life as a human being upon this earth.
B. He assumed man’s predicament - "born under law"
Man’s predicament is that we are under condemnation because we cannot live a life that measures up to God’s righteous standard.
"All fall short of God’s glorious standard." - Romans 3:23 (NLT)
Most people today, tragically, refuse to accept God’s assessment of their situation. They want to excuse or justify their sin, explaining it away, or trying to re-categorize their behavior.
They are about God’s law the way former Surgeon General under president Bill Clinton, Jocelyn Elders was about the law of the United States. As Jocelyn Elders left the courthouse in which her son was convicted for possession of heroin, she was asked how she felt about him breaking the law. Hers being the voice for the legalization of drugs in our society, she replied, `I don’t think he broke the law.’
Now, with all due respect to one of our former public servants, it really didn’t matter what she thought about the situation, the fact was that the courts said that her son had broken the law. Likewise, it doesn’t matter what new names people want to call sin by, or how they might refuse to admit their guilt, what counts is what the judge of all the universe has to say.
God says that all fall short, except Jesus. Jesus alone, lived a life that fully measured up to the righteous standard required by God.
"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill." - Matthew 5:17 (KJV)
Jesus lived a life that fulfilled all the requirements of God recorded in the law and in the writings of the prophets. He did what we could never do - He lived a perfect, sinless life. Nevertheless, He willingly assumed our predicament as His own.
Though He knew no sin, Jesus willing suffered our punishment in our place, so that we might be right with God, so that we might be "bought back" and belong to God.
In the fullness of time - at just the right time - Jesus Christ came to purchase we who were under the Law, we who were trying hard to obey it, but were powerless to do so.
He did this, not only by living a perfect life (doing for us what we could never do), but by also offering Himself as a perfect sacrifice (again doing for us what we could never do). You see, the price we were condemned to pay was so great, it requires an eternity’s worth of suffering in order for the penalty for our sin to be fully paid. But because of who Jesus was - God in the flesh - He was able to endure an eternity’s worth of suffering in only a short span of three hours on the cross.
Before he laid down His life, Jesus declared, "It is finished," which meant that he had completed the work He was sent to perform. He had fully paid the price for the sins of the world. Three days after His death on the cross, He was raised from the dead as evidence of the fact that the fact that the penalty for sin had been fully paid and that it was now possible for men and women, boys and girls, to belong to God!
An old story is told about a little boy who placed his new toy sailboat in the water and slowly let out the string. He sat in the warm sunshine, and enjoyed spending time with the little boat he had built. Suddenly a strong current caught the boat.