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Jesus’ Mission

Now we come to the climax of God’s story of redemption.  Let me set this up by looking at what Matthew does in chapter 2 of his Gospel to introduce Jesus’ Messianic mission. He makes a striking contrast between God’s son, Israel, and God’s Son, Jesus. Matthew is clear, whereas Israel, according to Hosea 11:1 (cf. Matt. 2:15), was God’s unfaithful son whom He called out of Egypt, Jesus, according to Matthew 2:13-15, was God’s faithful Son whom He called out of Egypt.

In Matthew 2:13-15, we learn that after warning Joseph of Herod’s plan to kill the child Jesus, an angel tells him to “take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt.”  Joseph obediently heeds the warning and takes Mary and Jesus to Egypt, where they remain until Herod’s death.

After recording this sequence of events, Matthew then adds: “This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, ‘Out of Egypt I called my son.’” God’s faithful Son, the Son whom He also called out of Egypt, is the one who, according to Matthew 1:21, was sent to save his people, God’s unfaithful son, from their sins. The point of this contrast is crystal clear: while Israel, like Adam before, failed in its sonship, Jesus succeeded in his Sonship in order that he make all things right.

So what does this have to do with Paul’s teaching on adoption? Consider what Paul writes in Galatians 4:4-5, “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 [italics added].” Why did God the Father send His only-begotten Son to redeem us? For what purpose did He send the one with whom He enjoyed eternal love to redeem His people? Paul announces that God sent His Son to redeem us “so that we might receive adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:5).

The eternal Son of God was born of woman, born under the law, to redeem us so that we might share in the communion of love that the Father has eternally enjoyed with His Son. This is the end for which we were redeemed! Even before the creation of the world, God the Father determined that we should participate in the love and joy of the Trinity as His sons through adoption (ultimately, as we’ll see in part 10, on a renewed earth). Christ redeemed us so that we could freely delight in his Father and be delighted in by his Father.

Paul presents adoption as the goal of redemption. It is redemption’s climax. Even as the creation of man was the climax and crown of God’s work of creation at the very beginning, adoption as sons is the climax and crown of God’s work of redemption. God the Son was sent by God the Father in order that our lost sonship might be restored and exponentially improved upon through the gift of adoption. As wonderful as this truth is, its greatness does not stop here. 

Parts 1-8 of this series.

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