As I begin this final letter of 2019, I want to thank all of you on behalf of Linda and myself for the love and support that you have shown us through another year. Thank you and may you know the fullness of God’s blessing this Christmas. It’s that time of year again, when we want to make sure we do all that we can to enjoy the reality of Christmas and the Christmas message, but it is so easy to get caught up in the busyness of December. It’s not all commercial, because we as a Church do as much as we can to reach our neighbours at an appropriate time. Do we however consider carefully God’s plan and purpose for Christmas? We rightly go to the Gospels for Christmas messages, because they give us the historic biographical accounts of that first Christmas, however Paul gives us an important insight when he writes,
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)
The first Christmas was not just a convenient time in world history, it was “the fullness of time”. The implication is that it was the time that saw the completion of all earlier preparations. The whole of history had been preparing for this. God had promised in Genesis 3 that he would send one to crush the head of Satan. The time of preparation had reached its fullness. Notice that Paul writes “God sent forth his Son”. The root word for sent is the word from which we get our word “Apostle”, which literally means “The Sent One”. Here the meaning is slightly stronger in that He was sent out. An apostle is one who is sent with the authority of the Sender. Jesus came with the authority of God in Trinity, to do God’s will. He was given such authority, but NOTICE the humility that immediately follows “born of woman, born under the law,”.
Both the Old Testament and New Testament make it clear that Jesus is co-equal with God the Father, yet He was willing to be born like any other human being and therefore to be subject to His earthly mother. That is stated clearly in Luke 2:51 “And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them.” The Lord of glory made Himself submissive to a carpenter and his wife. Similarly, although He had given the Law to Moses, He was willing to live in complete submission to that Law. In one of his parables Jesus described human rebellion and arrogance when He describes people who were prepared to say “We do not want this man to reign over us.” (Luke 19:14) Throughout His earthly life Jesus attended the synagogue and attended the feasts at the Temple. He was not only born under the Law, but lived under its authority. Our world and the church suffers huge issues because human beings, even so-called Christians, are not prepared to live under the revealed authority of God’s Word. So often we want to do things our way. That only leads to confusion and rebellion and yet Paul writes that he came “to redeem those who were under the law”. The word ‘redeem’ means – to rescue from loss.
The history of this world is that those who choose to live outside of God’s Law end up destroying themselves and their culture, but Paul concludes his summary of the Christmas story with the promise “so that we might receive adoption as sons”. This is not a destructive relationship, but every person who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ is adopted as a child of God and therefore displays that relationship by living as Christ lived under the truth of God’s Law, knowing that the Truth will set you free. If we are to enjoy the wonderful news of Christ’s coming this Christmas season let us all rejoice in the redemption bought by Christ and be willing, like Christ, to live in obedience to the whole revealed will of God, because “The Truth alone sets us free”.
Every Blessing this Christmas,