“But when the fulness of the time was
come, God sent forth his Son,
Intro: We know that time is a creation of God for the benefit of mankind. God is neither “in” time nor is He bound by time. God sees all events, from the creation of the universe to the end of eternity, as one unit. Mankind, on the other hand, is bound irrevocably to time. Therefore, as “time’s” Creator, God has chosen to assert Himself in different ways at different times for the outworking of His plan and purpose. There are three main periods of God’s outworking revealed in the Scriptures.
beginning of creation when God created the heavens and the earth
“To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” Galatians 4:5
If we were asked, “What is the fulness of time?”, we would reply that it was the end of this present world and the beginning of the next. “Fulness” means ‘when something is filled,” and we would assume it was the completion of time as we know it. But God says that time was “filled” when He sent forth His Son. Everything in God’s timetable was ready, and Jesus became the crowning glory of God’s accomplishments in time. What was full?
Man’s evil was full. God had created man in His own image/likeness (spiritual/moral, not physical), yet man had disobeyed God in the matter of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:16,17; 3:6). By the flood, mans’ wickedness was great on the earth, and God repented that He had made man (Gen. 6:5-7). Later at the foot of Mt. Sinai, while Moses received the Ten Commandments from God, man was breaking them as fast as God write them (Ex. 32:1-6). The fulness of mankind’s fall is seen in the saying, “Every man doing what is right in his own eyes.” Mankind would get no better, and mankind could get no worse.
Man’s religious departure was full. From Cain’s bringing the fruit of the ground for worship; to the building of the Tower of Babel to reach heaven; to the desecration of the Temple sacrifices by the Jews in Malachi’s time; every false system of worship had been invented and tried in total disregard of the system of worship demanded by God. It is said that ancient Babylon and her system is the mother of every false form of worship, whether “new age,” established religions, and/or cults. Mankind had rejected God, first trying and then embracing every false system of “religion.”
Satan's deception of the world was full. Except for a small godly remnant in the Nation of Israel, the whole world lay under the shadow of darkness in the valley of death. Satan had so deceived mankind into rejecting God that it seemed that he stood to make himself like the Most High God in the eyes of men.
God’s Old Testament prophecies of His Son were full. The Christ to come had been promised, typified, and prophesied throughout the Old Testament. Its work was done in preparing a certain circle of ideas in which Christ’s person and work could be thoroughly understood by those having spiritual eyes to see. The arrival of the Christ was promised even down to John the Baptist’s ministry of preparing the way of the Lord. The whole of the Old Testament pointed to the Christ, and Jesus was the only individual to ever fulfill each and every promise and prophecy of the Old Testament.
The Divine Law had worked out its purpose in full. From the Old Testament we learn that the Ten Commandments (God’s Law) were God’s standard of conduct or holiness. From the New Testament we learn that the Law was not meant to save, but to show man his/her sins (Rms. 3:20). In Gal.3:24 we learn that the Law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, thus the Law fulfilled its purpose, not as a means of pleasing God, but as a means of humbling man.
The schemes and dreams of man were full. Man had tried art, philosophy, education, culture, vocation/labor, riches, civilization, and world conquests, yet all was empty and vain at the end. So King Solomon had stated after putting his hand to every temptation the world offered when he said, “Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity” (Eccles. 12:8).
The age of peace was full. It was during this time that the world experienced a breathing-space for thinking about higher things. The Roman government held sway, and by building roads it extended its influence over much of the world, while providing a convenient means for the Gospel to be spread. While Rome prepared the way for communications, the Greek language, being all but universal, was prepared to be the linguistic vehicle for the spread of the gospel.
The time of expectation was full. The Jews, knowing God’s promise of a Messiah, and interpreting that in the context of the setting up the Kingdom, and knowing the silence of God for the past 400 years, were living in great expectation. Even the Gentiles seemed to sense that “something was in the air,” for in the far East the wisemen saw a “star,” a supernatural sign of the working of God, and determined to follow it to the Messiah.
God's time was full. “As Schaff says, ‘The way for Christianity was prepared by the Jewish religion, by Grecian culture, by Roman conquest; by the vainly attempted civilization, philosophy, art, political power; by the decay of old religions; by the universal distraction and hopeless misery of the age; and by the yearning of souls after the unknown God.’”
“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son...”
The word “God” reminds us of the Trinity. So each member of the
Godhead was active in the sending forth of Jesus the Christ.
This verb also implies that the one sent has the same mission and authority as the one doing the sending. God, who desires that all men be saved, sent Jesus Christ that all men could be saved. Jesus’ mission was the extension of God’s, and God gave Jesus the necessary authority to fulfill His mission.
“Sent forth His Son.” “These words imply the pre-existence as
well as the Divine nature of Christ.
“...made of a woman...”
“Made.” This implies a previous state of existence, which “born” does
“...made under the law.”
“Made [to be] Under” = in the power of, close upon.
“To redeem them that were under the law...”
1. “Redeem” = to purchase, from the power or possession of another; to release, set free out of bondage. (Gal. 3:13)
“...that we might receive the adoption of sons.”
“That we might receive” = that our adoptive sonship might be actually and in
full measure be made over to us.
Concl: God has set man in a “time zone.” God intervened in that “time-zone” when, according to God, time became full, or ready for the complete revelation of God’s purpose in Jesus Christ. We remember that as the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, which came to completion with His death, burial, and resurrection. Man now has been given “space” or time to repent, but this time is rapidly drawing to a close. Man has also been given time to serve God, for the night cometh when no man can work. Will your salvation or your service be done in time?
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