A Redeeming Child
But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. (Galatians 4:4-5)
In the last post, we saw that Jesus was born in order to turn slaves into sons. And in order to do this, Jesus had to “redeem” us. That beautiful word means “to buy back.” It has the concept of going into a slave market to purchase a slave and then making him a son or a daughter.
To accomplish this redemption, Jesus was “born of a woman.” This indicates His humanity. He had a human birth. He was born from a woman, just like every other man in history has been born. But as we have already seen, He wasn’t only a man.
In order to save us, He had to be both man and God. Only God can overpower sin and death and hell. Only God could give a sacrifice of infinite value and bear our sins in His own body. And only man can substitute for man and die man's death.
Then Paul says He was not only born of a woman, but born under the law. That's a marvelous statement. Like any other man, He was responsible to the law of God. He was born under it, born with a responsibility to obey it. But like no man, He obeyed it perfectly. He knew no sin. That’s tremendously important.
The sacrifice to substitute for man had to be a perfect sacrifice. He had to be a lamb without spot and without blemish. Otherwise, He would have had to die for His own sins and could not have died for ours. But because He was both God and man, and because He was perfect, He was fit to redeem those “under the law,” making us sons.
Because of Jesus, the believer's status is changed. We are no longer in bondage to the law or to the flesh. We no longer have to grit our teeth, trying to perform. Now, by decree of the Father, through the provision of Christ, we enter into the freedom of being heirs.
The law could only crush us. We couldn’t keep it. We could never earn our salvation by works of the law. Though we were destined to be sons, we lived as slaves. But then Jesus came and purchased our salvation, and this lifts us out of the childhood of slavery into the maturity of sonship. And this is confirmed in our lived experience through the Spirit:
Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” (Galatians 4:6)
God sent Jesus Christ that we might have the status of sonship. And God sent the Holy Spirit that we might have the experience of sonship. It’s one thing for God to say I'm a son; it's something else for me to say, “Yes, and I know I'm a son.”
When the Spirit comes into my heart, He causes me to cry, “Abba, Father — daddy, poppa!” The Spirit pulls me back into intimacy with God, and I experience that sonship. My own heart cries, “God, you're my Father.”
As I’ve said before, this is paradise regained. We are heirs again. All things are ours through Christ, because all things are Christ’s and we are joint heirs with Him. What we lost in the fall is restored in the redemption provided by the child born in Bethlehem. We have our inheritance back — an inheritance undefiled, unfading, reserved in heaven for us (1 Peter 1:4).
This post is based on a sermon Dr. MacArthur preached in 1990, titled "A Son to Make Sons."