“God sent forth his Son . . .”Galatians 4:4
This week we continue our Advent devotional, shifting our focus from Jesus’ humility to his servanthood. Pastor Matt Brichetto preached from Galatians 4:4–6 and taught how Jesus served us most of all by freeing us and bringing us into the family of God.
I love the language of Galatians 4 because of how it describes the redemptive work of God on our behalf. The Father sent his Son. The Son became human to redeem us. The Father sends the Spirit of the Son. The Holy Spirit enters our hearts, making us God’s children. What beauty and mystery.
None of this happens without Jesus being our servant.
The early church fathers, like Augustine, understood the two natures of Jesus using the language of “form of God” and “form of a servant,” language Paul uses in Philippians 2:5–11. So when we say that Jesus was in the form of a servant, we’re not saying less than he served us, but we are saying so much more.
We are pointing back to the incarnation––the Son of God, second person of the Trinity, becoming enfleshed. This is exactly what Paul means in Galatians 4:4: “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law.” The phrase, “God sent forth his Son” is extremely important here. In Trinitarian language, this is a “mission” or a “sending.” In time, God sent his Son; however, before time this mission allows us to peak inside to the inner Trinitarian relation of the Father and Son. The mission of the Father sending his Son helps us understand how from eternity the Son “proceeds” or is “begotton” from the Father. We see how Jesus is in the “form of God.”
But as we’ve seen, Jesus is in the form of a servant as well––he became human. Again, Paul writes, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law” (Galatians 4:4). “Born of woman, born under the law.” In God’s eternal, divine plan, the Son of God would become human to fulfill his mission. He would become Jesus, born of a woman named Mary into a Jewish family and heritage. His mission is fulfilled because of his incarnation.
Jesus could not have truly and fully served us without becoming human. According to Paul, Jesus’ mission was “to redeem those who were under the law” (Galatians 4:5). Pastor Brick put it perfectly––this is about freedom. The Law, while important and good, displays our inability to follow God. It reminds us that until and without Jesus, we’re not free. We’re enslaved to sin. To “redeem” means to buy back, meaning Jesus bought us out of slavery with the price of his own life. Had Jesus not been born of a woman (i.e., been human) and born under the Law (i.e., been Jewish) we could have never been redeemed from our slavery.
But what’s the point of redemption? Paul tells us: “so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God” (Galatians 4:5b–7).
We have been redeemed to come back home, to return to the Father we have walked away from. We were created as sons and daughters of God. Our sin separated us from our Father. Jesus through the Holy Spirit reunites us with the Father. And notice something here––only the Son could reunite other sons and daughters to the Father. Jesus––the only Son of God, begotten from the Father before all ages, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made; of the same essence as the Father–– is our servant who came to redeem us that we might be sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. Meditate and reflect on that truth today. Worship God for that reality today.