During this Advent season, I’m inviting you to reflect with me on Galatians 4:4-5: 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. Last week we considered some implications of Paul’s phrase, “in the fullness of time.” Let us now turn to the second phrase, God sent forth His son.
What does this tell us about God?
The words sent forth rendered in many major English translations represent a single Greek word. It is the same word used, for example, in Stephen’s Acts 7 sermon where Stephen describes Jacob’s act (recorded in Genesis 42) of sending forth his sons to procure grain in Egypt due to the famine that gripped Palestine. The word is once again employed in Acts 11 to describe the Jerusalem church’s decision to send Barnabas to Antioch in order to witness and oversee the remarkable coming to Christ of Hellenistic gentiles. The idea is to be dispatched in order to carry out the will of the sender and to accomplish a specific purpose.
Once again, we are compelled to recognize that salvation is a matter of God’s initiative, not ours. He sent long before we sought. He sent notwithstanding the fact that humankind scorned His overtures. He is no peeved and passive recluse but a patient and persistent reconciler. He is truly a missionary God.
What does this tell us about Jesus?
The Apostle’s report concerning the sending forth of Christ reveals at least two things:
First, Christ already existed before He was born to Mary. Jesus the Son is none other than the pre-existent, second person of the eternal trinity. Christ’s birth does not constitute the origination of His existence. Rather, it constitutes the inauguration of a specific mission: the redemption of humankind.
Second, Jesus is the true Son of God. We use the idiomatic expression son of … in various, sometimes profane, ways to suggest that someone is not merely the epitome, but of the essence of, someone or some thing. Jesus’ designation as the Son of God signifies that He is himself not only the epitome of the Father but is in Himself of the very essence of God. He is none other than God veiled in flesh, the incarnate deity, our Emmanuel, as Charles Wesley so eloquently renders it in the beloved Christmas carol, Hark the Herald Angels Sing.
Ready to sing yet? …
Hail the heav’nly Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Ris’n with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die.
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.
Fresh gleanings to fuel your leadership awareness, reflection, and conversations …
Karina Kreminsky’s post in Canada’s Christian Week addresses our instant-gratification culture head on. We’re really missing out by insisting on “instant Christmas,” she urges.
What do secularism, multiculturalism, and radical Islam have in common? Annual meeting plenary speaker, Dr. Peter Jones of truthXchange comments on a new book that discusses the relatedness of these triple-threat phenomena that are jeopardizing our Western civilization.