In Galatians 4:4 it is written, “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law.” The content of this verse can be divided easily into four parts, each of which sets forth a clear truth or fact. Let us take a closer look together.
(1) “God sent forth his Son” – True, this is not the first fact recorded in the text, but all else that is stated hinges on it, so with it we begin. God did what? He sent. If God took the action of sending about two thousand years ago, then that means that after He completed His work of creation (Genesis 2:1,2), He did not just pull back out of the picture and forget about His creation.
Whom did God send? His Son. As John later wrote, “. . . the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world” (1 John 4:14). What love the Father showed by sending His Son! (John 3:16). And, what appreciation we ought to have for the Son’s coming on our behalf!
(2) “But when the fullness of the time had come” – This statement answers the question, “When did God the Father send His Son?” In similar language, Paul wrote to the saints in Rome that “in due time Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6). So, Jesus came into the world “at the right time,” “the fullness of the time.” We are made to wonder: “the fullness of time” according to whose time schedule? Answer: God’s.
When God deemed that it was the very best time in history, He sent Jesus into the world for man’s salvation. No sooner, and no later. God did not gather a council of men to seek their advice in the matter of when the Son should come. He did not send out a questionnaire in order to learn man’s preference about the time of the Christ’s coming. No, God sent the Lamb that had been foreordained before the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:19,20), and He did it when He deemed it to be the best time.
God had promised that He would bless all nations through Abraham’s Seed (Genesis 22:18). The Seed is none other than the Christ (Galatians 3:16). God through the prophets foretold of the Messiah’s coming into the world (Micah 5:2; Isaiah 53:3-6). And come He did! When? When God wanted it to happen.
It has been suggested that the time of Jesus’ coming to earth was “the right time” because of the contributions that had been made in the Middle East by the Babylonian Empire, the Medo-Persian Empire, the Greek Empire, and the Roman Empire. There is, no doubt, some merit in that line of reasoning. However, the bottom line is this: the Son came when the Father sent Him, and according to God’s plan, that time and no other, was “the fullness of time.” “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!” (Romans 11:33).
(3) “Born [“made,” KJV] of a woman” – The Bible identifies the woman as “a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph . . . The virgin’s name was Mary” (Luke 1:27). The angel Gabriel told Mary that she was blessed among women and had “found favor with God” (Luke 1:28,30). Why did God choose Mary? Was it because she was sinless? No. She herself spoke of God as her “Savior” (Luke 1:46,47), so she was not without sin. But why choose her as the vessel through whom the Messiah would come? Again, per God’s infinite wisdom, she was the best person for the task.
Note that neither Galatians 4:4 nor any other passage speaks of Jesus coming from a male. No, it speaks of Him being made or born “of a woman.” This clearly points to the fact that Jesus’ mother was a virgin at the time she conceived Him. The Bible record indicates that she was still a virgin when He was born (Matthew 1:18-25). Any reference to Mary’s husband, Joseph, being a parent of Jesus (Luke 2:41,48) has to be understood in the sense that he served as Jesus’ adopted earthly father, but not His biological father.
(4) “Born [“made,” KJV] of a woman” – Here is a Bible statement that has not yet “hit home” with many people. Jesus lived as a Jew during His earthly sojourn. He lived on the earth when the Law of Moses was still in effect for the Jews. Therefore, He kept/lived under the Law of Moses, “the old law.” He encouraged the Jews of His day to obey the Old Testament law (cf. Mark 1:44), and He Himself did the same (cf. instances of Him keeping the Passover).
The new covenant of the Christ could not come into effect until He died. “For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives” (Hebrews 9:16,17). If the Christ’s covenant came into force only after He died, then obviously He did not live under the new covenant.
Galatians 4:4 contains four plain truths. They are written in a context in which Paul by the Spirit is writing about redemption and being accepted as the sons of God (4:5). Thanks be to God that through His Son, sinners can be redeemed, and by being baptized into Him they can become the sons of the living God (Galatians 3:26,27).
“But don’t you think that God could have sent Jesus into the world at a different time, in a different manner, and under a different law?” No need for us to speculate on what He could have done. Let us accept what the Bible says about what He did do, when He did it, and why He did it. And, let us be thankful for it!
—Roger D. Campbell
TRUTH is published monthly by the Klang church of Christ in order to help educate, edify, encourage, and equip the saints of God.