As I wrote yesterday, “When the father deemed the heir ready, he celebrated this time by a festival known as ‘Liberalia.’ … At this time, the heir received his ‘toga virilis’ (coat of 14 fullnessadulthood). The boy burned his childhood toys at this festival. This person now has authority over the slave that governed him as a child.” I wonder if this is what Paul was thinking when he wrote 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.” Don’t you think it sounds like that?

The fullness of time might refer to the time for the world of mankind to grow up and put away all their childish things and become mature adults. John wrote that “God so loved the world…” and it was this world of mankind that God loved. We were the target of His love and redemption. The word “time” indicates a duration or length of time. It was the time when the Mosaic Law would lapse. Law had done its task to some extent. It wasn’t the Jewish Law necessarily, but law itself. The Pax Romana brought relative peace throughout the world. One commentator observes, “There was great political stability throughout the Roman world. Freedom to trade and travel throughout the world was at the greatest level in history. The Greek language was the language of the empire making it an opportune time for spreading the gospel. Jesus did not come at some random time; He came precisely at the moment God designed from eternity. This is the time when God put to an end the dispensation of the law by sending His Son to fulfil all the demands of the law.” But make no mistake the “law” as such had done its work in civilizing the world to the extent that God’s Truth could be proclaimed.

A human father in the Roman Empire marked a specific time when his child became an adult son. It was the time that the Father’s law had accomplished the task of civilizing his son. It was the time that the self-centered child had learned the lessons taught by the Father regarding right living and law keeping. God the Father also marked a time when He sent His Son into the world. This was a momentous moment for all people. I like the way Roy Gingrich says it, “God delivered both Jews and Gentiles from their respective bondage by the same method, by redemption and adoption. God redeemed the Gentiles from the condemnation of the natural law and the Jews from the condemnation of the Mosaic law that He might adopt them as His mature sons. He redeemed and adopted them that He might deliver them from their respective bondage.” After this redemption and liberation, the adopted children, the legitimate heirs, were not under slave masters, but over them.