But when the time of fulfillment had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law.Galatians 4:4 TPT
Christmas is a seed story. Eve was promised a Seed. God spoke to Abram of a Seed, too–one through whom all the nations of the earth would be blessed. The pitiful cry of a newborn infant from a stable on a star-spangled Bethlehem night announced the long-awaited arrival of that Seed. Oh, what battles preceded that arrival!
The entirety of the Old Testament can rightly be viewed as the account of God working in History to put in place all that was legally necessary for the arrival of that Seed, alongside His enemy’s futile efforts to stop God’s Garden prophecy from coming to pass. (One day the Seed of the woman will crush the head of the Serpent.)
Note the phrase “legally necessary” in the paragraph above. Too few Christians understand that God built the universe upon a legal and judicial framework. Once God legally granted dominion stewardship of Earth to mankind (Gen. 1:26-28), He was constrained by His own righteousness and holiness to operate within the judicial rules He had established.
In other words, although a sovereign God theoretically could have cheated at the game He invented, His character would never allow Him to do so.
This meant that if God was going to fulfill His promise to get another “Adam” into the earth, He would have to do so legally. In the Old Testament, everything that came after that seed promise depicts a cosmic chess match between God and His crafty but inferior enemy.
If the Old Testament narrative sometimes seems harsh and hard, it is only because the stakes of that battle were so profoundly high. The fate of humanity and control of planet earth literally hung in the balance.
Yet, move by move, God brilliantly advanced His plan. First, he called a man (Abram)—one willing to sacrifice his own son in faith. That man would produce a people (Israel) whose intricately prescribed sacrificial system of worship would, by judicial necessity, model and forerun the ultimate solution to the crisis Adam caused. The blood-soaked Old Testament is the war chronicle of the battle to get Jesus, the “Last Adam,” into the earth.
Every detail of every incident speaks of Him. Points to Him. Prepares for Him. And most importantly, judicially sanctions Him.
Paul has all of this in view when he writes, “But when the time of fulfillment had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law.”
It means that infant’s cry from the Bethlehem stable was merely a prelude to his cry of “It is finished!” from a Jerusalem cross 33 years later.
Prayer of Declaration
Brilliant heavenly Father, what a plan. What a victory! It’s easy to trust in You because You are utterly good, ever faithful, and always redemptive in your actions. That’s just Your character and nature. Because Jesus was born “under the law” and fulfilled its every requirement, I have been born-again under Your new and better covenant of grace. I’m filled with gratitude for Your kindness. I’m in awe of Your brilliance. I’m humbled by Your gracious generosity.