The Fullness of Time (an Advent Article)
Growing impatient, I try and make a lot of things happen on my own. I get tired of waiting for my work to get more interesting, so I add work myself. I get tired of waiting to get better, so I troubleshoot myself. I get tired of waiting for God to come through, so I convince myself I’m better off doing it on my own and, through my actions, tell him to, “Get lost. I’ve got this.”
God’s people had already said the same thing a few times themselves (significantly underrated) by the time Jesus was born. Although God promised them a Savior way back in Genesis 3, they got tired of waiting, and in their impatience, they created idols, worshiped other man-made gods, and exchanged the truth God told them for a lie so much so that many didn’t believe it when he came. When it actually happened, I think many of them were disappointed that Jesus came as a baby born in a manger instead of a warrior riding in a golden chariot, coming to cause a political revolution to overthrow the government.
We are the same way. In our hearts, we feel the pangs of injustice, or maybe we experience it ourselves, and we grow impatient for God to act. We get tired of hoping he’ll show up. We feel like the prayers we pray are either spoken in a language God can’t understand or that he just doesn’t care, so we take matters into our own hands. The problem is that we think we’re acting on behalf of God and what he wants, but we never fully achieve that.
“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and my ways are not your ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts’” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
This way for our redemption was set in place long before we were born. When the man and woman sinned in the garden, the plan was set in motion, and waited for “the fullness of time” to reach its fulfillment.
If You Wait Long Enough
“The fullness of time” in the Cambridge dictionary, says this:
“If you say something will happen in the fullness of time, you mean that it will happen if you wait long enough.”
“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his son, born of a woman, born under the law” (Galatians 4:4).
It will happen IF you wait long enough.
WHEN the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son.
“In him, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all thing in him, things in heaven and things on earth” (Ephesians 1:7-10).
The plan for the fullness of time was to give us Jesus. To give him to us as a baby, to live the perfect life and show us how to abide in him, “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of the cross” (Colossians 1:19-20). By his blood, we now experience the fullness of time through the Holy Spirit, indwelling our hearts, enabling us to will and to do the things that please God (John 14:16-17, Philippians 2:13).
We Still Wait
I wasn’t alive in the time before Jesus was born, lived, died, and rose again -- so it’s difficult to reconcile talking about the struggle of waiting for Jesus as if his first advent is part of some uncertain future. We don’t have to wonder if he’s going to come and bring us redemption like the people of the Old Testament, because he already did come and redeem us.
We are not exempt from waiting and getting frustrated, though. We now wait for Jesus to come again. And we must believe if we wait long enough, it will happen in the fullness of time. Let us have hope in the waiting that what God promises is true, and just as he sent his Son to us to free us from the curse of the law in the fullness of time, his plan is to save us and deliver us in the fullness of time.