The Fully Right Time
“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
In our study of the Old Testament Wisdom Literature this year, we will have the opportunity to examine several of the most important messianic psalms including Psalms 2; 22; 89; 110; and many others. Since these messianic psalms and other portions of the Wisdom Literature are so important for understanding Christ—“the wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:24)—it will be helpful for us also to consider what the rest of Scripture has to say about the Messiah and His first advent. Dr. R.C. Sproul will help us do that as we base the next few days of studies on his teaching series The Coming of the Messiah.
One does not have to interact very long with avowed enemies of the Christian faith before encountering claims that the Bible is a work of ancient mythology on par with Homer’s Iliad and other such works. More than one writer has drawn parallels between the biblical account and ancient stories of dying and rising gods to “prove” that the New Testament invented the story of Jesus, copying it from the stories being told by the pagans of the first-century Roman Empire. College students often have to sit through attacks on Christianity that claim its most important figures were no more real than Zeus or Hera.
These attacks can be troubling, especially when we are unprepared for them. It does not take much research, however, to discover that the biblical account is significantly different than ancient mythology. Perhaps the best example of this is that ancient mythology is not very concerned with setting its accounts in the actual space and time of real history. On the other hand, the reference to the decree of Cyrus in Ezra 1:1–4, the placement of Jesus’ birth during the reign of Caesar Augustus in Luke 2:1–7, and many other examples demonstrate that the Bible understands itself to be describing real people and real events. Furthermore, Scripture also teaches that God took on human flesh in the person of Jesus Christ (1:14), an idea that ancient Greek thinkers would find abhorrent. From start to finish, Scripture is interested in history and makes historical claims. Paul even says that if the resurrection of Christ did not take place in history, our faith is in vain (1 Cor. 15:14). Moreover, the Bible also asserts that history is under the direction of the sovereign God who works out all things according to the counsel of His will (Eph. 1:11). Thus, in the fullness of time—in the fully right time that God ordained—the Messiah was born (Gal. 4:4–5)
As we consider the coming of the Messiah over the next few days, it will be vital for us to remember that the story of Jesus is real history and took place in space and time. Scripture will not allow us to view its record as something that imparts spiritual truth regardless of whether the events actually happened. The Bible does not give us an exhaustive history, but it gives us true history, and so we can be confident that God has actually worked in our world.
Passages for Further Study