In his epistle to the Galatians chapter 4 and verse 4 the Apostle Paul tells us that “when the fulness of time was come, God sent forth His Son”. In other words Paul is declaring that the coming of Christ upon the world scene was not by chance. His coming was under the strategic timing providentially set aside by God. His coming was not one day before or behind the appointed time, Christs coming happened at the exact time God had planned way back in eternity before the creation of the world. Paul says earlier in the chapter that a child who is placed under the control of guardians is under their control until “the date fixed by his father” (Galatians 4:2). God and God alone decided the fulness of time for the coming of Christ.
Christ was born of a particular person, at a particular time, in a particular way (incarnation), under a particular system (the law). He shared the frustration and agony of being subjected to the very system from which He came to save men. Over time the world had been wonderfully prepared for His coming.
1. The law had done its educational work. It had shown through the Jewish nation that men are terrible transgressors, and despite all of God’s favor and blessings, men still failed to worship God in love. The world now had a picture of the depraved heart of man. (Cp. Romans 3:10-18 for a clear description of man’s sinfulness.)
2. The world was full of people spiritually starved. The worship of self, pleasure, gods, philosophical ethics—all had left many empty and barren. The soul was now ready to have its hunger met.
3. The world was at peace under Roman rule. The world was an open door for the spread of the gospel—without any restraint.
4. The world spoke Greek as a basic language, making communication possible with many from all over the world.
5. The world had a system of roads for mass travel which allowed Christian missionaries to reach the farthest parts of the earth. It also brought commercial travelers to metropolitan centers where Christian believers were concentrated.
So we see that when everything was ready for the world to come of age and to gain an adult knowledge of God, Christ came to release men from the law and to reveal that man was intended to have a father-son relationship with God. In Christ men are no longer to be slaves to the law, they are to be sons of God. In Christ they are to enter into their inheritance.
Note that God sent His Son born under the law. Jesus Christ had to live under the law in order to secure the perfect righteousness of the law for man. He had to obey the law in every single precept and stand before God as the Perfect and Ideal Man—the Ideal Embodiment of Righteousness. As stated, He had to do what no other person had ever done: secure the Ideal Righteousness and Perfection so that the Ideal and Perfect could stand for all men. The birth of Christ is not just about the sentimentality around a child born in a stable, it is far more that that we need to look at the whole picture if we are to really understand the truth.