Summary: God sends His Son into our lives at exactly the right time. Not just at a time in history, but also at the time we need to know and confess Jesus as Lord, and in the time when we need Abba-Father.
You can listen to the full message here:-
Message - Advent Miracles
The Miracle of the Moment
Over the month of December we are going to look at a series of Miracles that help us understand more the significance of Advent.
They are not miracles in the sense that water is turn to wine, or a paraplegic person gets up and walks.
Rather they are the foundational miracles of the work of Jesus as he reveals Himself to be our Saviour.
The miracle we are focussing on today is the Miracle of the Moment.
We find this miracle in Galatians 3:23-4:7
Where is the miracle?
It is in Galatians 4:4-5
4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.
There is this moment that takes place in history.
A set moment.
A moment that has resulted from millennia of planning.
A perfectly timed and executed moment.
It is a moment that is transformative in every way.
What is the impact of this moment?
Before the Moment - The constraints of guardianship.
Have a look at these specific verses (Galatians 3:24, 25; 4:2):-
3:24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith.
3:25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.
4:2 The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father.
By using these words Paul is calling to mind a historical situation which was very common in the first century Graeco-Roman world. Paul has in mind here is the status and situation of the oldest son within the family structure.
He eventually will own the estate when his father passes away.
At some point he will get to have a say in how the estate is run, but he needs to be old enough.
Until that time, and the time will be appointed by the father … maybe when the son he is 18, or 21, or 30, … all depending on the father’s whim.
Until that time the son is under the oversight and discipline of a guardian.
Some versions translate the word as school-master or teacher.
But guardians and trustees were much more.
To see the meaning let me read from Plato … who lived in the 3rd century BC
Just as no sheep or other witless creature ought to exist without a herdsman, so children cannot live without a guardian, nor slaves without a master. And, of all wild creatures, the child is the most intractable; for in so far as it, above all others, possesses a fount of reason that is as yet uncurbed, it is a treacherous, sly and most insolent creature.
Wherefore the child must be strapped up, as it were with many bridles—first, when he leaves the care of nurse and mother, with guardians, to guide his childish ignorance, and after that with teachers of all sorts of subjects and lessons, treating him as becomes a freeborn child. On the other hand, he must be treated as a slave; and any free man that meets him shall punish both the child himself and his guardian or teacher, if any of them does wrong.
(Plato: Laws VII. 808D-E - translated by R.G. Bury)
What a frustrating situation to be in.
Owning being in the position to own everything, but being completely under the oversight, disciple, direction and restrictions of a guardian – and all the society will support the guardian over you every time.
There will be freedom.
But freedom is unobtainable now.
How would you feel before that moment?
Before the Moment – I might as well be a slave.
Paul confirms this feeling in Galatians 4:3
3 So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world.
The last part of the verse is really difficult to translate:-
… enslaved to the elementary principles of the world (ESV).
… were in slavery under the elemental forces of the world (Holman).
… were kept like slaves under the elementary [man-made religious or philosophical] teachings of the world (Amplified).
In this case the paraphrase given in The Message version is quite helpful.
When we were minors, we were just like slaves ordered around by simple instructions (the tutors and administrators of this world), with no say in the conduct of our own lives.
In my constrained condition I have no control of my destiny.
In my constrained condition everything around me makes the decisions for me.
In my constrained condition there are rules and laws and regulations which set an impossibly high standard.
Even when I do my best, no-one gives me any credit. They just praise the guardian.