Read: Galatians 3:23 – 4:7
Consider: Today’s reading in Galatians is very much centred around two themes; firstly that of God’s timing and secondly, that of adoption to sonship.
In Galatians 4:4 it says: ‘… when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son …’ Jesus coming into the world when he did was no accident and this verse tells us that God’s eternal plan was always to redeem those who trust in him. We could ask why God chose the exact time of Jesus’ birth and we might postulate that it was to do with the Romans and their use of crucifixion as a punishment. In other words, Jesus birth was timed so that his death on the cross could take place. Mind-blowing! We might think that it was timed purely to enable all the OT prophesies about the coming Messiah to be fulfilled. We could also postulate that it was about his choice of disciples, or that Paul would be around and be converted. Whatever was in the mind of God we can be sure that Jesus could not have been born at any other time in history, or even in a different place.
In Galatians 4:5 we read that Jesus came ‘… to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship’. This builds on what Paul says in Galatians 3:26;28 – So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith … There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. In Christ we are all equal, no matter what our nationality, status or gender. Adoption is a very strong term to describe how believers become members of the same family, with equal rights for all.
Looking through today’s reading it should be clear that when we celebrate Christ’s birth we are acknowledging that God’s timing was perfect and that ultimately God’s plan was to redeem those who would trust in his Son and be adopted into the family of God. This is how Paul speaks of our adoption in his letter to the Romans: The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘ Abba, Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory (Romans 8:15-17).
Pray: Father, we thank you that Advent reminds us of how perfect your timing was in sending Jesus into the world. We also thank you for our adoption into your family. May we come to understand the full extent of what this means. Amen
Next: #13. Advent Reflections – Mercy and Patience