The Message of Christmas Galatians 4:4-7

Christmas  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
Sermon Tone Analysis
View more →


We have just heard the Christmas story told through the words of Scripture through the readings we have heard as well as the Hymns that were sung by our Choir as well as our congregational singing as well as through the nativity scene as it was laid out by the kids. What we have heard is the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ as it is written in Scripture. And the participants did a wonderful job of presenting this.
Now I want to take the time we have left to flesh out the very last passage that was read. It was , though I am expanding that to verse 7. Now Paul wrote to the Galatians, a group of churches in the province of Galatia which is located in what is now Turkey. Paul had visited there and preached the gospel of Jesus Christ to them and they received it and believed in Jesus (4:13,14) IN fact, they received the message he gave as if he were Christ Himself. However, some years had passed since he had been among them and there were false teachers who had been passing bad theology off as good teaching. They were saying you needed something more than just belief in Jesus in order to be a true believer. They were adding to the gospel which teaches that salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone by grace alone, ,. Thus, Paul is writing this letter to them to call them back to the true gospel. And that my friend is what he is reminding them of in our text.
This text is really easy to follow as far as an outline, because it flows right out of the verses rather than my mind. In these verse we see the real meaning of Christmas and its purpose. So I am going to lay it out like this, and we could spend a couple sermons on each of these but we won’t. I have to get through this in today. So it is an abbreviation.
God Sent His Son, v.4,5 God became Flesh and came Himself
God Sent the Spirit of His son, v.6
Those who believe by faith become His sons, v.6, 7
This is why we celebrate Christmas - that we might believe that God sent His Son so that we might become Sons.
[You ladies might say why doesn’t Paul say Sons and Daughters? Well he answered that in 3:27, 28 READ THIS. because there is no distinction between male and female. In other words, he means both in our text. ]
So this is a very simple outline that flows from the text so if you get lost you can find your way back.

I. God sent His Son, v.4,5

A. At the right time,

but when the fullness of time came
What is this ‘fullness of time’ stuff. What is he referring to?
When you go back and read the verses before this, even into the previous chapter you will see that Paul had been comparing the Judaic law to a prison warden a pedagogue/tutor. Now he changes to a guardian or steward. What he is doing is using the analogy of a son becoming a man to help us understand what Christ was doing when He came in the fullness of time. In that culture, there was a time in which a young boy became a man, when he would no longer be treated as a boy but as an adult.
Even though the child owned the whole estate, he was still kept like a slave. He had no freedom and could make no decisions. He was under a guardian who protected him and under a steward who watched over him financially. He was under this system until a time appointed by his father when he would be acknowledged as a son and heir. There was usually a ceremony marking this occasion.
i) In the Jewish world, on the first Sabbath after a boy had passed his twelfth birthday, his father took him to the Synagogue, where he became A Son of the Law. The father thereupon uttered a benediction, “Blessed be thou, O God, who has taken from me the responsibility for this boy.” The boy prayed a prayer in which he said, “O my God and God of my fathers! On this solemn and sacred day, which marks my passage from boyhood to manhood, I humbly raise my eyes unto thee, and declare with sincerity and truth, that henceforth I will keep thy commandments, and undertake and bear the responsibility of mine actions towards thee.” There was a clear dividing line in the boy’s life; almost overnight he became a man.
(ii) In Greece a boy was under his father’s care from seven until he was eighteen. He then became what was called an ephebos, which may be translated cadet, and for two years he was under the direction of the state. The Athenians were divided into ten phratriai, or clans. Before a lad became an ephebos, at a festival called the Apatouria, he was received into the clan; and at a ceremonial act his long hair was cut off and offered to the gods. Once again, growing up was quite a definite process.
(iii) Under Roman law the year at which a boy grew up was not definitely fixed, but it was always between the ages of fourteen and seventeen. At a sacred festival in the family called the Liberalia he took off the toga prætexta, which was a toga with a narrow purple band at the foot of it and put on the toga virilis, which was a plain toga which adults wore. He was then conducted by his friends and relations down to the forum and formally introduced to public life. It was essentially a religious ceremony. And once again there was a quite definite day on which the lad attained manhood. There was a Roman custom that on the day a boy or girl grew up, the boy offered his ball, and the girl her doll, to Apollo to show that they had put away childish things.
When a boy was an infant in the eyes of the law, he might be the owner of a vast property but he could take no legal decision; he was not in control of his own life; everything was done and directed for him; and, therefore, for all practical purposes he had no more freedom than if he were a slave; but when he became a man he entered into his full inheritance.
The letters to the Galatians and Ephesians. 2000, c1976 (W. Barclay, lecturer in the University of Glasgow, Ed.). The Daily study Bible series, Rev. ed. (33). Philadelphia: The Westminster Press.
This initial statement but when the fullness of time came speaks to purposeful timing. It was not arbitrary. It was right on time, at the right time. When everything that needed to happen before this did happen. Christ’s incarnation was not just a stab in the dark as to timing. It was exactly as God had planned it.
This initial statement but when the fullness of time came speaks to purposeful timing. It was not arbitrary. It was right on time, at the right time. When everything that needed to happen before this did happen. Christ’s incarnation was not just a stab in the dark as to timing. It was exactly as God had planned it.
when you think about it practically, the pax romana set the world stage as a perfect time for him to come: common language, favorable travel making the communication and spread of the gospel much easier. But more importantly, in the providence of God this was the best time for the Son of God to be revealed. This is the culmination of and fulfillment of many OT prophecies.
He is putting it this way to contrast what we were formerly, the analogy is that we were like heirs that were too young to rule, and were no better than slaves under a steward. But at the appointed time of the father we entered a new authority, Not a new relationship, because we were always sons, chosen before the foundation of the world. But signifies a new relationship to the world around us. Now we are free, not treated as slaves to the world in need of stewards.
That change is facilitated by

B. God Sent forth His Son

God sent forth His Son -(cf. v.6) the word sent forth shows that the Son comes out of the Father it is the GK εξαπεστειλεν a compound word whose root is apostello which we get apostle from and the preposition ek which means out of. So we could easily translate this sent out from, meaning that He came from God. It emphasizes His deity, God didn’t just send His Son from Heaven to earth, He came Himself, ,. He is sent with a purpose, He is commissioned with a message and purpose. And that was to redeem us as we see in v.5.
We also see in this passage the Trinity: God the Father, who sends out from Himself the Son (incarnation) and the Spirit (v.6) at Pentecost and then when a person believes the Sprit indwells them. Thus, affirming the believer as sons or daughters and affirming they are heirs of the promise.
He elaborates on this incarnation in two ways:

1. Virgin Birth,

--born of a woman- speaking of the virgin birth, the Prophecy of Moses in ; as to the promise to Abraham a son, a descendant that is Christ ; Then we have the prophecy of ; which was a promise to Israel during the rebellious days of King Ahaz of Judah as he faced the armies of the Alliance between Syria and the Northern tribes of Israel. God promised King Ahaz that this enemy would not stand and as proof God told him a virgin would conceive and bear a son, that Son would be Immanuel. Jesus is teh fulfillment of that promise, , establishing He is God and then affirmed in the announcement to the shepherds in .

2. Under the law,

Satisfying/fulfilling of the law’s requirements --Born under the law - totally submissive to the demands of the Law. He kept the law and fulfilled it, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”
He satisfied the law, by suffering the penalty for sin.
H e paid the penalty for our sin. He fulfilled the law living in obedience to it never violating it, never sinning. He became the perfect sacrifice, the Lamb of God who takes away our sin. He bore our sins on the tree Peter reminds us.
Paul is using the incarnation of Christ and our subsequent redemption and adoption as sons in these verses as a basis for not going back to slavery to the worldly elements. There is a lot of confusion regarding Christmas these days. Some regard it as just another holiday to get out of work and gather with family. It is often confused with only the birth of Christ.
But along with this passage shares the real meaning.
In other words, we were redeemed by Christ who fulfilled the law, why would a believer want to be back as a child under a tutor again. It doesn’t make sense. It is another gospel which is not really another gospel, because that is not good news.

3. Here is the purpose behind the incarnation.

Our Redemption
The word redeemed means to set free by paying a price, to buy out of literally. It was used in the Greco-roman world for legal purchase of a slave from his owner, thus freeing him.It was used of a god buying the freedom of a slave. So this is the liberating act of Christ as the divine purchaser.
Why did we need to be redeemed? Because as says The Scripture concluded all under sin. We are all sinners in rebellion against God. However, that same verse reminds us that we who believe are given the promise by faith in Jesus Christ.
Our Adoption
dont’ read into this adoption like we think of it. That would be a wrong idea. We don’t get into God’s family through adoption like someone might get into a family today. We get into God’s family through redemption, regeneration, being born again. That is why this comes second in the purposes of the Incarnation.
The idea of adoption here i snot hte same as we might think. We don’t get into God’s family through adoption but through redemption, regeneration, being born again.
Wiersbe puts it this way; “We enter God’s family by regeneration, but we enjoy God’s family by adoption.”
Now we come to the second main thought:

II. God Sent the Spirit of His Son, v.6

“God sent his son into our hearts”
This is the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit that every believer has. Now we have become sons of God through faith in Christ, now we have the power of the Son (the Holy Spirit), we have His character, His power, His enabling to live as sons like Christ did. We can now overcome sin, we can love, we can joy, we can have peace, we can be longsuffering, we can be gentle, we can exercise goodness, faith, meekness and self control in daily life just like Jesus did. It is through the power of the Holy Spirit that we are regenerated, we have His life now. He came so that He could pay the penalty for our sin Himself, so that we could be in relationship to Him as sons and daughters, and He gives us His Holy Spirit so that we can live according to His will.
Before we were believers we did not seek Him, we could not understand what He wants of us, we could not even consider that or try to please Him. We could not do what is pleasing to Him at all, (; ) But now because Jesus came and we believed He has given us His Spirit so that we have a Father Son relationship.
He, the Holy Spirit, indwells us and He cries “Abba! Father!” not we ourselves, but the Holy Spirit in us. That is why Scripture tells us that if anyone has not the Spirit of Christ he is none of His. Go to Chapter 5:
The fact that He sent His Spirit affirms His resurrection, because Jesus told His disciples that unless He died and rose again to the Father He would not be able to send the Holy Spirit, the Comforter to them, and then listen to Jesus prayer in ,
Paul is telling us this is fulfilled in Christ.
So then,

III. Those who believe become sons, v.6a, 7

listen to his prayer in these two verses. So you see this is Paul is telling us this is fulfilled in Christ.
“and because you are sons,”, v.6a
“you are no longer slaves (to sin) but sons, and therefore heirs through God”
In other words, through the incarnation of Christ, His becoming flesh, and through His death on the Cross to pay for your sins and mine, and through the power of the Holy Spirit whose work is to convict us of our sin, to reveal to us that Jesus is Lord and paid the penalty for our sin, who leads us to believe in Jesus and repent of our sins who then indwells us so that we can live for Him as Jesus did. Who makes us heirs with Christ.
Beloved that is the meaning of Christmas. That is the fulness of Christmas.


If you know Christ, recognize you are a son/daughter of the Lord. You need not the false trappings of another gospel, or even the falseness of Christmas without Christ. That never changed anyone. But when you realize this truth how can you not be overpowered by a sense of thankfulness to God who came Himself born of a virgin, under the law and died on the cross to redeem us from enslavement to our sins and adopt us through faith in Christ. How can you not be thankful that His Holy Spirit indwells you now to empower you to understand His word and to enable you to live for him.
If you are here today and you have not believed in Jesus to lead you to repentance, why not repent and believe now. If you do not you are in grave danger of dying in your sins and being condemned to Hell for eternity. Do you have ears to hear this offer of good news to you? Repent and believe in Jesus - that is the true meaning of Christmas.
Now this also affirms His resurrection, because Jesus told His disciples that unless He died and rose again to the Father He would not be able to send the Holy Spirit, the Comforter to them, ; , listen to his prayer in these two verses. So you see this is Paul is telling us this is fulfilled in Christ.
Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more