Summary: Was Jesus’ birth serendipity? Was there a purpose to His birth. God says that He sent His Son at the right time and for the right purpose.
THE FULLNESS OF TIME
“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. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.”
I suppose conscientious preachers look forward to Christmas sermons. The season provides opportunity to instruct people in one of the great doctrines of the Faith. At the heart of the Christmas observance is the doctrine of the Incarnation—God became man. Thoughtless individuals imagine that they may discount this doctrine by saying that the account is found only in the Synoptic Gospels. However, such assertions reveal an abysmal ignorance of the Word.
The Letter to the Galatians is predicated upon the truth that God became man. Woven throughout the warp and the woof of the Apostle’s Letter is this essential truth. Nowhere is the doctrine of the Incarnation more prominently displayed than when Paul draws a contrast between the present freedom of the children of God and the present enslavement of those who are in bondage within the world. Clearly, the Apostle understood that without this birth, without the Son of God becoming man, there can be no freedom—no salvation, no life, no hope. However, our Lord did leave His throne and become man that we may have life. I invite you to join me in exploration of this marvellous truth as revealed in the words of the Apostle.
THE SON OF GOD WAS BORN AT A DEFINITE TIME — “When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son…” These are indeed glorious words which show that the entry point of the Christian message is at the same time the turning point of history. Even our dates confess this truth. It is now 2007 AD—anno domini … THE YEAR OF OUR LORD. Apart from the words which are penned here, life offers no future … no hope. We are left without hope and without God in the world if this is not 2007 THE YEAR OF OUR LORD. But God has intervened in a way which brings effective and complete salvation—hope to the hopeless and help to the helpless. That is the Christmas message.
What do you suppose Paul meant when he used the term, “the fullness of time?” The thought conveyed in the original language, precisely captured by our translation, speaks of fulfillment, especially as related to time. Even a casual acquaintance with the ancient world reveals something of the significance of word. Christ was born during the era identified as Pax Romana. The rule of one government insured worldwide peace imposed by conquering armies. This peace extended over most of the civilised earth making travel and commerce possible in a way previously unrealised. Great roads linked the empire of the Caesar’s, ensuring free and uninterrupted communications with the furthest outposts of civilisation and providing rapid access to all corners of the empire.