8th Day of Advent
4But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
When you are six years old the time between one Christmas and the next seems like an eternity. At sixty it’s like the blink of an eye. The most helpful explanation for this discrepancy that I’ve heard is the idea that we subconsciously measure a given period of time against the sum total of all the time that we’ve personally experienced. So for a six-year-old, with a conscious memory that typically only spans maybe three years, those 365 days represent about one third of their total life experience. But for a 60-year-old, it’s less than 2%.
Still, none of us are too old to experience impatience as we await a much anticipated gift or event. But too often our timing is not in keeping with what is best. Paul reminds us in this passage that God sent His Son in “…the fullness of time…” Fullness brings to mind the image of a container that is full to the brim. The time that was planned by God was at its peak. It wasn’t too early, too late, or by chance. It was just right.
The first thing that this passage teaches us is that time, like everything else, is governed by our Creator. It runs according to His fixed plan. Even things we attribute to chance are ultimately in the hands of God. Jesus was conceived and born of Mary at precisely the right moment in time. The incarnation took place at exactly the right point in the history of the universe.
As Calvin sums it up, “the time which had been ordained by the providence of God was seasonable and fit…. Therefore the right time for the Son of God to be revealed to the world was for God alone to judge and determine.”
God sending forth His Son was the completion of a plan conceived in the mind of God from before the creation of the world. And we can rest secure knowing that every detail about the Incarnation of Christ was intentionally planned out by our sovereign Creator.
Question to Ponder:
- The Incarnation reflects God’s perfect timing. Still, generations of prophets lived and died disappointed that they did not live to see God’s promises fulfilled. How do you respond when God’s timing and your timing are not in sync?