Friday, May 28

Purposes of Christ's Death, No. 8

The text for today's look at one of the explicit statements in scripture concerning the purposes of Christ's death is Galatians 4:4,5:
But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. (NASB)

I had planned to include these verses together with the one from Hebrews that we looked at yesterday, since it is so similar. If you remember, yesterday's scripture had to do with Christ's "redemption of the transgressions that were {committed} under the first covenant, [so that] those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance." Since inheritance and sonship are such related things, these statements are really quite similar. Yesterday's post was long enough as it was, however, and I really wanted to look just a little bit at some of the unique things in this passage, so I decided to give it it's own post.

The purpose statement in this text is "so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons." Once again you have Christ's death redeeming people from something that comes along with being under the Law, or the Old Covenant. The phrase "when the fullness of time came" lets us know that in this text we are looking at things in a historical context. The verses before this one tells us that under the law, people were like minor children, and being a child was a sort of bondage because a child had to remain under supervision. But at the right historical time Christ came and bought people out from under the guardianship of the law, and gave them a position as fulfledged adopted adult sons with legal rights to an inheritance. It seems that when the word adoption is used here in this context, it refers to this legal right of sonship.

And if we read the verses following, we see that because we are sons, "God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into [our] hearts, crying, "Abba, Father'!" Because of the Spirit within us, we approach God as our own father in the same way Christ did. We are no longer like minor children or slaves, but adopted sons, "and if a son, then an heir." Since in the historical cultural setting, inheritance came through sonship, I like to think that, in Christ, we are all--both men and women--sons of God.

One of the purposes of Christ's death is so that we would be adopted sons of God.
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