• O Lord our God, other masters besides You have ruled us; But through You alone we confess Your name. [Isa 26:13 NASB]. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me. [Mat 11:29 NASB].

The Christmas Message As Told In Galatians

This was the Christmas Sunday sermon at Honeysuckle Place, 23 Dec 2018.

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. … For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. [Isa 9:2,6].

This was written by the prophet Isaiah, foretelling the birth of Jesus Christ, the Messiah who was to come to redeem man to God.

The Apostle John wrote,

In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. … And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. [Joh 1:5,6,14].

Jesus Christ, the Son of God – fully God before the creation of the world – came to earth as a man; and He was fully man. Fully God and fully man, He came as a baby and He was born in Bethlehem to a virgin named Mary, who was betrothed to a man named Joseph.

About the birth of Christ, the Apostle Paul wrote:

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. [Gal 4:4-5].

One would not think to look to the Book of Galatians for the story of Christmas. Nonetheless, Galatians 4:4-5 is a wonderful Christmas story. It is the story of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In this story, from these two verses, there are FIVE things we need to learn and understand.

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. [Gal 4:4-5].

When the fullness of time had come

This is the first clause. Fullness of time means at just the right time. God plans everything with perfect precision. Nothing is left to chance; God’s purposes will take place just the way and just the time He pleases.

For the Lord of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back? [Isa 14:27].

I know You can do all things and no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. [Job 42:2].

For the nation of Israel, this was a dark time. In the past, throughout the Old Testament, God had regularly communicated with Israel through judges and prophets. But the time of the prophets had ended; the people of Israel had been dispersed among the nations. Though many had returned to their homes, they were under the tyranny of the Roman Empire; and just like their time of slavery in Egypt, God had not spoken for 400 years.

Now, the time for the Messiah had come. The Apostle John wrote Christ came into this dark and dying world bringing life and light.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. [Joh 1:5].

God sent forth His Son

This is the second clause. He was sent by the Father. The Son is fully God and it was the Father’s intention to crush His Son for our sin, according to the Prophet Isaiah.

Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush Him; He has put Him to grief; when His soul makes an offering for guilt, He shall see His offspring; He shall prolong His days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. Out of the anguish of His soul He shall see and be satisfied; by His knowledge shall the righteous One, My servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and He shall bear their iniquities. [Isa 53:10-11].

God crushed Him to satisfy His wrath; to redeem those who are His. As Paul wrote to the Romans, this was to demonstrate His righteousness so that God the Father will be just and the justifier of those who believe (Rom 3:26). He was just by crushing His Son in payment for the sin of man and He is the justifier of those who believe in His Son.

This baby in a manger came to earth to die; to be the propitiation for mans’ sin. Propitiation means to satisfy God’s wrath. When God crushed His Son for our sin, this satisfied His wrath against those who believe.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He had passed over former sins. It was to show His righteousness at the present time, so that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. [Rom 3:23-26].

Born of a woman

This is the third clause. Jesus Christ is fully God but He is also fully man. The Apostle Paul wrote, “For in Him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.” [Col 2:9 ESV]. He is fully God. The writer of the Hebrews wrote, “Therefore He had to be made like His brothers in every respect, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.” [Heb 2:17]. He is fully man.

The Bible says the wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23). Payment for sin is required of all men. In the Old Testament, the blood of animals did not pay for nor take away sin. These sacrifices pointed to the Messiah who would be the substitutional sacrifice for mans’ sin but they did not pay the price for sin. This is what Paul meant when he wrote in Romans 3:25, “in His divine forbearance He had passed over former sins.” Even though man practiced animal sacrifices, payment for sins had not yet been rendered.

But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Consequently, when Christ came into the world, He said, “Sacrifices and offerings You have not desired, but a body have You prepared for Me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings You have taken no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God, as it is written of Me in the scroll of the book.’” [Heb 10:3-7].

In the eternal covenant between God the Father and God the Son, it was determined the Son would become a man and be born of a woman. As a man, He would pay the price for mans’ sin.

Because He is also God, it is God, Himself, paying the penalty for man’s sin and redeeming man to Himself.

Born under the Law, to redeem those under the Law

This is the fourth clause. The Law is God’s standard. The Law tells us what God expects from us. The Law gives us a vision of the holiness of God. He cannot look upon sinful man with favor, and we cannot have fellowship with God in our sinful state.

Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, And You can not look on wickedness with favor. [Hab 1:13 NASB].

God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day. [Psa 7:11].

The Law, however, could not give man life. We cannot come to God by way of the Law because we are unable to perfectly obey the Law of God.

For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” [Gal 3:10].

The Jews prided themselves on keeping the Law. Of their own counsel, they added laws to the Law of God and prided themselves in that, too. But they deceived themselves, thinking they could keep the Law rather than repent and call out to God for forgiveness. Many people today believe they keep the Law; they believe they are good people and do not need Christ’s blood and His work to receive salvation. But the Apostle James said no one can keep the Law.

For whoever keeps the whole Law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it. [Jam 2:10].

The writer of the Book of Hebrews wrote Jesus Christ learned obedience (Heb 5:8). This is speaking to the bodily or human side of Christ. Christ was always perfect, obedient and sinless. While He was on the earth, He was in the flesh of man, with all its frailness. He was God, but now He was also man. He created man, but He had never experienced this state. When in this state, He suffered. When suffering, He was tested. When tested, He proved perfect and obedient. He was the only man to ever live a perfect life and, thus, He became the perfect sacrifice for mans’ sins.

Man had to pay for the sins of man and only a perfect, holy man was able to make this payment. Only the blood of a perfectly righteous man could satisfy the wrath of God. The Bible says the wages of sin is death. Left to our own resources, we will die for our sins. But Jesus Christ lived a perfect life; He obeyed the Law and did not fail in one point. Therefore, He was the perfect man to die for mans’ sin and by His death, He redeemed man to God.

The Apostle Paul wrote we are all under the Law and every man is accountable to God because the Law exposes our sin. But God has brought to man a righteousness apart from the Law. We can become righteous through faith in Jesus Christ. All have sinned and fallen short of God’s requirements given in the Law but those who believe can be justified through God’s grace, given as a gift. For God sent His Son to be our propitiation; He satisfied God’s wrath against those who receive this payment by faith. This demonstrates that God is just for He crushed His Son for mans’ sin and now He justifies those who believe. Here is the passage:

Now we know that whatever the Law says it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the Law no human being will be justified in His sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the Law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it; the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He had passed over former sins. It was to show His righteousness at the present time, so that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. [Rom 3:19-26].

So that we might receive adoption as sons

This is the fifth clause. In several Scripture passages, Christ is referred to as the “firstborn” or “begotten.” Not that He was ever created but that the always existing Son, the first in the family, died to bring those who believe into the family of God.

In the eighth chapter of Romans, the Apostle Paul wrote we have received the adoption as sons if we follow Christ or, “walk in the Spirit,” as he described it (Rom 8:15).

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the Law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. … For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs; heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him. [Rom 8:1-4,15-17].

In this passage of Scripture, we are promised to be adopted into God’s family if we believe in the work of Christ, who paid for our sins with His blood. We know we have this promise if we walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh.

And in Romans 8:28 and 29, where Paul wrote “all things work together for good,” he also wrote “[God] predestined [us] to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that [Christ] might be the firstborn among many brothers.” God’s intention is to bring us into His family and make us like His Son, Jesus Christ.

This is wonderful news: Jesus Christ is fully God; He is God the Son. Yet, He became fully man; He was that baby in a manger. He grew and lived a perfect life to die for man and satisfy God’s wrath against those who believe. And those who receive this gift by faith will be adopted as sons, into the kingdom of God. We are set free from our bondage to sin and are free to walk in the light and we can have the confidence we will live with God forever.

We say “Merry Christmas” and images of a baby in a manger come to our minds. This baby came with a purpose; this baby came to die to bring life to those who believe.

In John 3:36, John the Baptist said all who follow Christ will have eternal life but those who do not remain under God’s wrath. Certainly no one here wants to remain under God’s wrath. Jesus Christ was our propitiation to satisfy God’s wrath. Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart. The Father has given us a Savior; Christ Jesus the Messiah.

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