But when the right time came, God sent his son, born of a women, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. – Galatians 4:4-5
God, in His perfect timing, sent Christ into the world to rescue us from the penalty of sin. What does this phrase, “fullness of time,” mean to us? Why is it significant?
In their commentary on the whole Bible, Fausset and Brown write:
God does nothing prematurely, but, foreseeing the end from the beginning, waits till all is ripe for the execution of His purpose. Had Christ come directly after the fall, the enormity and deadly fruits of sin would not have been realized fully by man, so as to feel his desperate state and need of a Savior. Sin was fully developed. Man’s inability to save himself by obedience to the law, whether that of Moses, or that of conscience, was completely manifested; all the prophecies of various ages found their common center in this particular time: and Providence, by various arrangements in the social and political, as well as the moral world, had fully prepared the way for the coming Redeemer.1
This is probably one of the best descriptions I have ever read concerning the timing of Christ’s entrance into the world He created. God’s plan has always been Jesus, and his timing has always been perfect.
Jews were under the control of the Romans who had conquered and were in control of all the known inhabited earth. Fausset and Brown point out, “Old mythological gods of Greece and Rome were losing their hold on the common people, so that the hearts and minds of men everywhere were hungry for a religion that was real and satisfying.”2 The law of Moses had served its purpose for more than 1000 years, yet it could only point to the fact Israel needed a Savior. The climate and the economy were ripe, and the prophecies were aligning, the promise of a child.
This is great news for them, and for us! Jesus fulfills every prophecy about the Messiah and brings about our liberation from sin, giving us life which begins the moment we receive Christ.
I don’t think God is ever content with where we are. God is always pursuing us, and in that pursuit, His timing is perfect. When you and I are feeling conquered, bound, struggling to make sense of things, when your climate and your economy are falling apart, God’s timing is always perfect. For God, the climate and economy are ripe, perfect, to enter into your pain, your struggle, and remind you of His freedom for you, His love and His strength for you.
This is what God was doing 2000 years ago. He, Himself, was entering in and becoming the redeeming character in a story He created. The fullness of time!
So this Christmas, may you trust in His fullness, in His timing; it’s always perfect.
1. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 332). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
2. Stott, J. R. W. (1986). The message of Galatians: Only one way (p. 106). Leicester, England; Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.