Accept No Substitutes (Part 1)

person holding red strawberries during daytime
“In the same way, we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But 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 4:3-4
You have to wait for the right season to get the real thing. Summer fruit is wonderful when it’s fresh and right here. Strawberries you pick yourself, fresh sweet corn, and your own tomatoes are all somehow better than what we get in January. I’m glad to find blueberries in the grocery store in January, but somehow, they’re not as good as what comes in summer.

Accept no substitutes. Wait for the real thing and buy it as soon as you can. That’s good advice for summer fruit. It’s also the theme for this week with the great verses of Galatians 4:3-4. Paul says that there is nothing like the genuine Gospel of Jesus’ coming. In fact, he is absolutely insistent on this in chapter 1:8, “Even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.”  What makes the Gospel of Jesus so unique that nothing else should be on the same shelf with it?

Paul would begin with the ideas of Galatians 4:4. Jesus came at the right time and was both true God and true man. The genuine article, the perfect summer fruit, for example, comes when it is time. Be patient and it will come. So, the world waited for God’s timing to be fulfilled and then Jesus came. The good news for us is that we don’t have to wait for his coming, but we can read all about it.

He came as the perfect combination of God and man, the Son of God and born of Mary. This is a combination that no other religion can claim. Only God’s grace would bring him to us and cause him to be more than a visitor. Jesus didn’t come merely to check on us or inspect us and leave. By his incarnation into the flesh, he forever is one of us as well as being truly God. Here is the completely original idea that makes our faith unique, a Gospel that only God could imagine and bring.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, remind us of the unique Gospel that comes only with your Son. Thank you that he came at the right time and for all time is now true man and true God. Help us to celebrate the uniqueness of your incarnation by which you’ve saved the world. We pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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