Spirit & Truth # 252
“Fullness of Time”
By Greg Smith
“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 ESV).”
The Bible says that unbelievers who were once enslaved to sin are now brought near by the blood of Jesus. Because He gave the ultimate gift of love when He died on the cross, those who were once strangers to God are brought into the family of God. They are adopted into God’s household and become brothers and sisters of Jesus, who is the only begotten Son of heavenly Father.
Jesus’ life is the pivotal moment of all history, dividing our timeline between B.C. and A.D. During the season of Advent, Christians wait for the second coming of Christ. But just think how anxiously Old Testament believers waited for the Messiah’s first arrival. We count backwards from B.C. to the year 0 A.D., but they had no idea when their Savior would be born. They didn’t know that the day of His arrival would have less to do with dates on the calendar, and more to do with God bringing things about in the “fullness of time.”
What is the “fullness of time?” Simply put, it is God’s perfect timing as He works with events in human history to bring His purposes about. God does things when He is ready to—not when we think He ought to. Because God stands outside of time, seeing beginning and end all at once,[i] He is able to interject His will into our human existence, inviting us to trust in His timing. Prior to Christ’s coming, believers waited without knowing when God would send the Savior. They only knew that He was faithful, and that He would do it when He was ready.
From the beginning, God was working His purpose out. When God saved Noah’s family from the flood, He didn’t rescue just anybody—He was rescuing the one who was “perfect in his generations.”[ii] In other words, God knew that it was from the line of Noah that Jesus would descend, so God saved Jesus’ ancestor out of all humanity. If God had given the wrong guy the plans for the ark, Jesus never would have been born. But God knows what He’s doing. So the Lord’s orchestration of human events continues. When God called Abraham,[iii] when He passed over the Hebrew houses in Egypt,[iv] and when God promised David that his line would endure forever,[v] God was working His purpose out in human history. He was working in the fullness of time. All these, and countless other things, had to happen before the world was ready for the Messiah to arrive. Then, when the time was right, God sent His Son.
If you find yourself in a waiting pattern, unsure of how God is going to bring his purposes out in your life, then trust that He is operating in the fullness of time. At just the right moment, God will show you His faithfulness. Perhaps He is arranging things so they will be just right, creating the perfect setting in which to show you His salvation. At the instant of your greatest need—and not before—He will act, and demonstrate His glory. Trust in His goodness, and wait on His plan, which you’ll find in the fullness of time.