But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,…
Four thousand years elapsed between the giving of the promise and its fulfilment. It is natural to ask — why?
I. CONSIDER THE WISDOM AND PROPRIETY OF DELAYING THE FULFILMENT OF THE PROMISE UNTIL WHAT PAUL HERE CALLS "THE FULNESS OF THE TIME." St. Paul asserts that at any earlier period it would have been as unwise to have sent His Son into the world, as to make any young man master of his own property till he came of age.
1. At no period before "the fulness of time" would the Incarnation of Christ have been so proper, all things considered. Redemption was equally needed at all times, but taking into account Christ's doctrines, life, miracles, etc., it would have been untimely earlier. During the antediluvian age, there was no man living who could have written such an account of it as to interest future generations, and at the same time benefit those of his own time. From the Flood to the time of Moses the world's population was comparatively small and uncivilized. From the time of Moses to the prophets, the Jews required fuller instruction and discipline to fit them for Christ's teaching. During the four monarchies war was so rife that the religion of Christ would not have gained public attention; or, if it had, men would afterwards have asserted that Christianity was the invention of some political tyrant of that age.
2. In the Augustan age, when Christ did come, the world was prepared thoroughly to examine His claims, was able to appreciate His doctrines by comparison and contrast, and was in such a state as to afford facilities for the extension and propagation of Christianity.
II. CONSIDER THE MANNER OF HIS INCARNATION.
1. Christ came as a child. Fit emblem of the mission of mercy which brought Him.
2. He was born in a lowly station. No fear, then, but that the poorest and humblest are welcome to Him and to all His benefits.
3. Obedient to the law, and under its curse.
III. CONSIDER THE GREAT DESIGN OF HIS INCARNATION.
1. To redeem from the curse, not the obligation, of the law. You cannot obey the law too much, but you must look for justification to Christ alone.
2. To confer on all men the adoption of sons. We must believe this before we can feel it.
Parallel VersesKJV: But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,