But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,…
1. The season in which this freedom or redemption was brought about: "When the fulness of the time was come," says the apostle.
2. We have the means of this deliverance, namely, Christ's incarnation and manifestation in the flesh; "God sent forth His own Son, made of a woman."
3. We have the condition in which Christ came; "made under the law." Being made flesh, He subjected himself both to the precepts and to the curse of the law.
4. The freedom and deliverance itself: "God sent forth His Son," thus qualified, "to redeem them that were under the law"; that is, to free all the elect from the curse and punishment that was due to them for the transgression of it (Galatians 3:13). And hereby also was procured to believers the adoption of sons: by which we are to understand, not only the benefit of adoption itself, which was the privilege of believers under the Old Testament as well as now under the New, but also and chiefly a clearer manifestation of that privilege, and a more free use and fruition of it. They have now a more full and plentiful measure of the Spirit. than believers had under the Old Testament dispensation.
I. THE ONLY REDEEMER OF GOD'S ELECT IS THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.
1. Consider the titles and names of our Redeemer.
(1) Lord — absolute and Universal sovereign over all creatures. The government belongs to Him originally as God, and derivatively as God-Man, Mediator.
(2) Jesus. No salvation but through Him.
(3) Christ. Anointed to His office by the Father. Three sorts of persons were commonly anointed among the Jews — kings, priests, prophets. As oil strengthened and suppled the joints, and made them agile and fit for exercise, so it denoted a designation and fitness in a person for the function to which he was appointed.
(a) It implies the Father's fitting and furnishing Him with all things necessary, that He might be a complete Redeemer to His people.
(b) It implies the Father's giving Him a commission to redeem poor sinners from hell and wrath. He was invested with a fulness of authority and power for this very end. And therefore in Scripture He is said to be sealed, as having His commission under the great seal of Heaven.
2. Consider His office and work in general. He is called the Mediator, which properly signifies a midsman, that travels betwixt two persons who are at variance to reconcile them. Now, Christ is Mediator,
(1) In respect of His person, being a middle person betwixt God and man, participating of both natures.
(2) In respect of His office; being a middle person dealing betwixt God and man, in the offices of a Prophet, Priest, and King.
II. Our next business is to illustrate this grand truth, THAT JESUS CHRIST BEING THE ETERNAL SON OF GOD, BECAME MAN.
1. Christ is the eternal Son of God. As to the nature of this generation our Lord Himself in some measure explains it to us, so far as we are capable of apprehending the great mystery, when He tells us (John 5:26), "As the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself."
2. The Son of God became man. It was not the Father, nor the Holy Ghost, that was incarnate, but the Son (John 1:14 "The Word was made flesh "). He was "God manifested in the flesh" (1 Timothy 3:16).
3. Why did it behove Christ, in order to be our Redeemer, to be God and man? He could not be our Redeemer, if He had not been both.
(1) He behoved to be God, (a) That He might be able to bear the weight of the infinite wrath of God due to the elect's sins, and come out from under that heavy load (Acts 2:24).
(2) That His temporary sufferings might be of infinite value, and afford full satisfaction to the law and justice of God (Hebrews 9:14). In these respects none other but one who was God could redeem us.
(2) He behoved to be man,
(a) That He might be capable to suffer death (Hebrews 2:14).
(b) That the same nature which sinned might suffer (Ezekiel 18:4). "The soul that sinneth, it shall die."(3) That He might be a merciful High Priest (Hebrews 2:16, 17), and that we might have comfort and boldness of access to the throne of grace, having an High Priest of our own nature as our Intercessor there.
III. I come now to prove, THAT CHRIST IS GOD AND MAN, IN TWO DISTINCT NATURES, AND ONE PERSON. Christ is God and man by a personal union of two natures. The two natures in Christ remain distinct: the Godhead was not changed into the manhood, nor the manhood into the Godhead; for the Scripture speaks of these as distinct (Romans 1:3; 1 Peter 3:18 Hebrews 9:14), and of two wills in Christ, a human and a Divine (Luke 22:42). These natures remain still with their distinct properties, that as the Divine nature is not made finite, so neither is the human nature adorned with the Divine attributes. It is not omnipotent (2 Corinthians 13:4), nor omnipresent (John 11:15); nor omniscient (Mark 13:22, etc.) Yet are they not divided: nor is Christ two persons, but one; even as our soul and body, though distinct things, make but one person. This is clear from the text, which shows that the Son of God was made of a woman; which seeing it cannot be understood of His Divine nature, but of the human, it is plain that both natures make but one person. And elsewhere He is described as one person consisting of two natures (Romans 1:3 and Romans 9:5). And it was necessary that the natures should be distinct; because otherwise, either the Divinity would have advanced His humanity above the capacity of suffering, or His humanity depressed His Divinity below the capacity of meriting. And it was necessary that He should be one person; because otherwise His blood had not been the blood of God (Acts 20:28), nor of the Son of God (1 John 1:7), and so not of infinite value. Wherefore Christ took on Him the human nature, but not a human person. Concluding inferences:
1. The redemption of the soul is precious. Saving sinners was a greater work than making the world.
2. See here the wonderful love and grace of God, in sending His own Son to be the Redeemer of sinful men.
3. See the matchless love of the Son of God to poor sinners.
4. All who live and die out of Christ must perish. No other Mediator.
5. How highly is our nature exalted and dignified in the person of the Lord Jesus.
6. It is impious and absurd to ascribe any part of man's redemption to any other. It is dishonourable to Christ, and dangerous for men, to join anything of their own to His righteousness, in point of justification before God. The blessed Redeemer will never endure it. It reflects upon His Mediatory undertaking. If He be the only Redeemer of God's elect, then certainly there can be no other. If He hath finished that work, then there is no need of our additions. And if that work be not finished by Him, how can it be finished by men? It is simply impossible for any creature to finish that which Christ Himself could not. But men would fain be sharing with Him in this honour, which He will never endure. He is the only Saviour of sinners: and He will never divide the glory of it with us.
(T. Boston, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,