But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. (Galatians 4:4-5)
The idea behind the phrase the fullness of time is “when the time was right.” Jesus came at just the right time in God’s redemptive plan when the world was perfectly prepared for God’s work.
At just the right time, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman. Jesus came not only as God’s Son, but also as one born of a woman, born under law. The eternal Son of God in heaven added humanity to His deity and became a man, born of a woman, born under law.
God’s great purpose in doing this was to redeem those who were under the law. Because Jesus is God, He has the power and the resources to redeem those who believe. Because Jesus is man, He has the right and the ability to redeem His people. He came to purchase believers out of the slave market, from their bondage to sin and death.
The famous hymn Amazing Grace was written by John Newton, a man who knew how to remember his redemption. He was an only child whose mother died when he was only seven years old. He became a sailor and went out to sea at eleven years old. As he grew up, he worked on a slave ship and had an active hand in the horrible degradation and inhumanity of the slave trade. But in 1748, when he was twenty-three, his ship was in immediate danger of sinking off the coast of Newfoundland, John Newton cried to God for mercy, and he found it. He never forgot how amazing it was that God had received him, as bad as he was. To keep it fresh in his memory, he fastened across the wall over the fireplace mantel of his study the words of Deuteronomy 15:15: You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God redeemed you. If we keep fresh in our mind what we once were, and what we are now in Jesus Christ, we will do well.
But God’s work for the believer doesn’t end with redemption; it goes on to adoption. It would be enough that believers are purchased out of the slave market. But God’s work for His people doesn’t end there; they are then elevated to the place of sons and daughters of God by adoption.
Notice we receive the adoption of sons; we do not recover it. In this sense, we gain something in Jesus that is greater than what Adam ever had. Adam was never adopted as believers are. God doesn’t merely restore what was lost with Adam. Believers are granted more in Jesus than Adam ever had.
Cherish the glory of the standing God gives to His people: redeemed and adopted.