Galatians 4:4, 5
But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,…
We naturally ask the question which forms the title to Anselm's famous book, 'Cur Deus Homo?' Why could not God effect his gracious purposes without the incarnation of his Son? The verses before us throw light on this question. Ver. 4 indicates the two leading points of the humiliation of our Lord - the personal and the moral. Ver. 5 shows the object of these respectively. "The Son of God was born a man, that in him all men might become sons of God; he was born subject to Law, that those subject to Law might be rescued from bondage" (Lightfoot).
I. CHRIST BECAME A SON OF MAN THAT WE MIGHT BECOME SONS OF GOD. "He was born of a woman" "that we might receive the adoption of sons." His humanity was real; he had a natural body and soul, and he entered the world by birth. His humanity was a humbling of himself (see Philippians 2:7, 8). It was the emptying himself of primeaval glory; the subjecting himself to earthly limitations of knowledge, power, etc., even down to the unconscious helplessness of infancy; the endurance of the toil, the weariness, the distress of a hard life, ending in that horror and mystery which we call "death." Consider how this incarnation of Christ leads to our adoption.
1. It is the secret of his influence over us. Attraction is in proportion to nearness. To influence a man you must descend to his level. There the power of sympathy is most felt. So Christ stooped to us that he might lift us (see Hebrews 4:15).
2. It is the source of his power to conquer our great foes, sin and death (see Hebrews 2:14). Sin and death chain us down from the glory of the Divine life. To conquer these Christ faced them.
3. It is the ground of his atonement with God. God could not welcome us while all right and justice opposed. Christ, as the representative Man and for his brethren as both Priest and Sacrifice, opened the way back to God (see Hebrews 2:17). Hence the great privilege - Divine sonship. He became as we are that we might become as he is; he joined himself to us that we, united with him, might rise to his glorious life.
II. CHRIST WAS MADE SUBJECT TO LAW THAT HE MIGHT FREE US FROM THE BONDAGE OF LAW.
1. He was born subject
(1) to the Levitical Law - as a Jew;
(2) to the social law - subject to his parents, etc. (Luke 2:51);
(3) to the civil law (Matthew 17:24-27);
(4) to the moral law -
not only to that pure morality which God and all holy beings follow, but to the definite precepts of morality which accompany the limitations of human life.
2. He was also subject to the penalties of the Law though himself sinless:
(1) to the shame and trouble of the world generally which he shared in entering it;
(2) to death, the distinctive doom of sin.
3. How does this lead to our liberation?
(1) By facing the death-doom of the Law Christ conquered this for us.
(2) By obedience to the Law he triumphed over the Law. The largest liberty is in obedience. The Law is made for evil-doers; it is powerless against the good. Christ makes his people righteous (Romans 8:3), and so frees them from Law.
(3) By rising from obedience to the letter of the Law, to the higher obedience of the Spirit, he leads us also to that freer service of love which is the emancipation from Law. - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,