When we think of Christmas, we think of the gospels or maybe the Old Testament prophecies that told of Christ’s coming. This Christmas season let’s dig a little deeper and see what the Apostle Paul said about Christ’s birth. While Paul never wrote at length on the subject, he does tell us some things that are critical to understanding who Christ is and why He came. Galatians is one of Paul’s earliest letters. In it he tackles some major doctrines including Christology (who Christ is) and soteriology (what salvation is). Toward the end of the book, he explains Christ’s birth, His coming in the flesh, was the panacea, the cure-all, the solution, to our greatest problem.
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.Galatians 4:4-5
Exclusion – Ever since that day in the Garden, when mankind, through Adam, rebelled against God’s most basic command, we have been excluded. It began as Adam and Eve were excluded from His presence in Eden. It continues to eternal exclusion from His presence in hell.
Edict – God decreed that anyone who ate of the tree in the center of the garden would die. (Gen. 2:17) Later, He reiterated the soul that sins, it shall die (Ezek. 18:4, 20). We are under a decree of death.
Enemies – Not only that, but because of our rebellion, we have made ourselves God’s enemies. (Col. 1:24, Romans 5:10).
To put it bluntly, we were hopeless. We can’t undo our sins. We can’t do enough good works to pay for them. Unless God Himself took action we had no way out of the mess we were in.
But God took action. Substitutionary atonement on a breathtaking scale.
Paul says God sent His Son. Better than His personal representative, because of the triune nature of God, He came Himself to do what we could not — to redeem those under the curse because of the law of God.
The punishment wasn’t erased, mind you. God’s justice was satisfied. His holiness and righteousness were maintained. The penalty was paid. We were set free.
And then it gets better.
So complete was God’s solution to our problem, His cure for situation, that He then adopted us into His family. Think of it. When felons are released from prison in our society, they are given the most meager resources to start anew. A few dollars. Perhaps a change of clothes. Maybe a bus ticket.
Not so with God! He opens His arms and welcomes us as lavishly as He welcomes His Son. We can respond like John: Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! (1 John 3:1).
Before we were even aware of our desperate state, Jesus worked out our redemption and salvation.
This panacea, though, would not be available if Christ had not been born of a woman, born at Christmas!