In the fullness of time – adopted
Meditation and Devotional from David Niednagel, Pastor/Teacher, Evansville, IN. (David uses the S.O.A.P. method for his morning devotional: study, observe, apply, pray. (Friends: David’s recent morning study has been to focus on passages in the Old Testament that proclaimed that God would establish His King and Kingdom in the earth. That God would send a Messiah. Jesus is that promised Messiah. We will continue to follow David on this subject.)
Gal. 4:1 What I am saying is that as long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. 2 The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. 3 So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world. 4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. 6 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba , Father.” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.
In the Roman world a child did not receive his inheritance upon his father’s death unless he had reached a designated age. Until that time, it was like a “Trust” that was managed by others and the child was expected to learn how to responsibly handle the money upon reaching that age. Paul uses that analogy in the end of Ch 3 and beginning of Ch 4 to teach that under the Law of Moses the Jews were like underage children who did not have full privileges of God’s inheritance, and that it was a burden to have to follow all the requirements of the Trust or guardianship. Paul said the Law was only supposed to be in effect till the Messiah came (3:19) and then all believers (3:23-29) would be like adult children with complete access to the full blessings of God. It reminds me of a young woman from another country who is in the process of getting her US Citizenship – there is great anticipation and excitement.
Paul said “In the fullness of time” God brought it about. All the promises to David, Isaiah, Daniel, (and all the rest in the OT) were on a carefully planned timeline set by God. Now the Romans were the controlling power of the Western world, their language (and Greek) were understood almost everywhere, the Roman road system spread commerce and communication quickly. All the time predictions in the book of Daniel were fulfilled (especially 9:24-27). After hundreds of years of the Jews crying out for the deliverance of their Messiah, God answered, exactly on time!
Jesus was born under the Law, and He kept all the requirements and burdens of the Law. No one had ever done that before. So God could now end the Law and all its requirement. It had served its purpose. Now those who believed in Jesus (for their atonement and righteousness) were declared “of age” – able to inherit by grace, what they could not inherit by keeping the requirements of the Law.
Wonderful Lord God, we praise You for keeping Your promises and never being late. You are the Almighty One whose zeal accomplishes everything You desire. (Isa 9:6-8) And Lord Jesus, I praise and thank You for keeping all the requirements of the Law, fulfilling all its demands, and now sharing all the blessings of Your inheritance with us. Help me always trust Your timing and never get frustrated. Help me live in the freedom of the adoption You have given us in Christ. And help me make this good news clear to people everywhere who do not know or enjoy the glorious “sonship” we can have in Christ. Amen