“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.”
(Galatians 4:4-5 ESV)
It seems unreal to be writing about Christmas. It seems unreal because this year has just flown by. And, perhaps, it also seems unreal because of the exceptionally nice fall we’ve had here in North Dakota.
However, here we are at that time of year when we celebrate the birth of Jesus into the world. And what a fitting event it is to celebrate. It’s fitting because, in the birth of Jesus, salvation was provided for mankind. The salvation, promised by God since the fall of Adam and Eve, was now at hand.
This happened, we’re told, when the fullness of time had come. This means that the time was right. The time, determined by God for the birth of the Savior, had arrived.
What made that moment the right one is known and understood only by God. However, it was at this point that God sent his Son into the world. It was at this point that he sent his Son to redeem us.
We needed this redemption because we were under the law. Man was not only living under the law, obligated to carry out God’s commands. He was also under the condemnation of the law. Because of his sin, because he’d violated the law of God, he deserved the punishment prescribed by the law. Mankind, as a whole, was deserving of both death and hell.
It’s from this that Jesus came to redeem us. It’s from this that he came to buy us back. He was born into the world that he might pay the necessary price that we might once again belong to him.
The price that he paid was his very life. Jesus, after living a perfect life, was put to death on the cross. He offered himself on our behalf. And, in this way, he secured for us salvation from the penalty of the law.
This is a familiar story. It’s one that we’ve heard many times before. Yet its meaning is often forgotten.
Although we celebrate Jesus’ birth, we often forget the primary purpose of his coming. We, along with the rest of the world, tend to think that Jesus came for some other purpose. We think that he came primarily to teach. We think that he came only as an example for us to follow. And, for this reason, his sacrifice becomes more of an afterthought.
Others, in the liberal or “progressive” churches, go to a much greater extreme. They tell us that God would never have sent Jesus to die. They tell us that, if this were true, it’s a case of divine child abuse.
However, Scripture is clear regarding Jesus’ purpose in coming. As we see in the above passage, he came to redeem us. And we see clearly throughout Scripture that he did so by giving his life on the cross.
We see this, for example, in 1 Peter 1:18-19 which says: “…you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.”
As we enter into this special time of year, let’s remember what truly makes it special. Let’s remember this gospel hope that we’ve been given. And let’s celebrate the coming of our Savior who was born that he might die, who was born that he might offer himself as the atoning sacrifice for our sin.