By JAMES MAXWELL, D.Min.

Contributing Author

James MaxwellOne of the most succinct and beautiful statements about the birth of Christ is given by Paul in Galatians 4:4-5: “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” It not only captures the purpose of Christ’s birth, but it is also a rich doctrinal text.

It reveals the genius of God’s timing. The specificity with which God’s prophetic declarations regarding the coming of Christ were given invites skeptics to examine the evidence for Christ’s Deity, the virgin birth and the vicarious atonement. In the first year of Darius, or 539 B.C., Daniel prophesied that the Messiah would “be cut off” 483 years after “the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem” (Dan. 9:25-26).

Arnold Fruchtenbaum gives a helpful summary of Daniel’s prophecy and its fulfillment from the terminus a quo, “the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem,” to the terminus ad quem, the death of Christ, and should be consulted for further study.[1] Other prophecies also detail where and how Christ would be born. Charles H. Dyer claims, “Prophetic literature must be interpreted using the same hermeneutical principles applied to other literature.”[2] When the days added up fully to the prophesied time, “God sent forth His Son.”

It reveals the cost of God’s sacrifice. The cost of redemption to God was infinite. How does one put a value on such a gift? Paul calls it “unspeakable” (2 Cor. 9:15). Anekdiegetos means that which cannot fully be put into words. All kinds of events and ideas, both complex and simple, profound and ridiculous, abstract and concrete have been put into words, but God’s gift of His Son is indescribable!

It reveals the holiness of God’s nature. Jesus was “made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law” (Gal. 4:4-5). The law revealed God’s perfect nature. He cannot “look on iniquity” (Hab. 1:13). The law which He produced “is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good” (Rom. 7:12), but we stood condemned before it, because we had transgressed it (cf. Rom. 3:19-20). There is nothing that points out the stark contrast between a holy God and sinful men like God’s law. It shows us just how pure God is and how impure we are.

It reveals the depth of God’s love. God gave “His unspeakable gift” for this purpose: “To redeem them that were under the law” That is us! Redemption was first an Old Testament and Israelite concept. It was the act of a kinsman who bought a man and his property because he and it had been sold to satisfy a debt. The kinsman redeemer had the resources to purchase one from slavery. God had the resources to buy us back from slavery to sin—but only just enough![3]

Dr. James Maxwell is retired and living in Naples, Fla., after serving as a pastor for many years. Dr. Maxwell also spent 10 years as the state representative for the Wisconsin Association of Regular Baptist Churches and six years as president of Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary. We are excited to welcome him as a contributing author to Dispensational Publishing House.

Copyright © 2015 by Dr. James Maxwell. Used by permission of the author.

Scripture taken from the King James Version.

[1] Arnold Fruchtenbaum, “The Messianic Timetable According to Daniel the Prophet.” <http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/issues/v05-n01/timetable>; Internet; accessed 15 Dec. 2015.

[2] Charles H. Dyer, “Biblical Meaning of ‘Fulfillment’” in Issues in Dispensationalism, edited by Wesley R. Willis and John R. Master (Chicago: Moody Press, 1994), p. 62.

[3] This statement is meant to be provocative. The One in whom the Godhead dwelt bodily gave all to save us.