December has come and with it all the excitement of Christmas. For centuries, Christmas has been a celebration of Christ’s birth. The fact that He came is important, but understanding why Jesus came at the time He did is also crucial.
For those that know the Christmas story – the Son of God coming as a human, born of a virgin, living a life of sinless love, and dying just so to redeem us following what happened after the fall of man in the garden of Eden. Today, the bible says if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Why didn’t God send Jesus to the earth to die right after Adam and Eve sinned? One might wonder. Why did He wait all that time between Adam and Eve and the cross?
“I really don’t know why He designed His plan the way He did. But I do know it is perfect,” Theologian, Pastor, founder and leader of desiringGod.org John Piper remarks. The preacher said this when tasked with a similar question by one reader recently.
“As creatures we are bound to time and space, process is important, and developing events in human history is important. What God immediately did after Adam and Eve sinned was promise He would save fallen mankind. Genesis 3:15 is the beginning of the gospel announcing that someone (we now know it was Jesus) born of a woman would ultimately triumph over Satan: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel,” Piper said.
Satan thought he crippled (bruised heel) Jesus on the cross, Piper said however, the resurrection fatally wounded (bruised head) Satan’s power.
“This is the first of many promises that God made, and every one He has faithfully kept. “So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11),” he continued.
Piper said by God waiting to bring both redemption and judgment, Christians learn more about His faithfulness since He always does what He promises, and that we additionally learn more about His truthfulness.
“Jesus was the Lamb, a sacrifice, the Passover, Priest, Prophet, King, the fulfillment of the law, the Bread of Life, the Word. Without time to develop these ideas throughout history and through the writings of the Scriptures, we would never have understood the depths of the Godhead,” Piper said.
“God always knew the exact moment He intended to send Christ to the earth. Galatians 4:4-5 is a beautiful statement of this: “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” Piper emphasized.
“When the Gospel was manifested in Christ, after thousands of years, God made sure the world had experienced enough of life without the Messiah to appreciate Him and see their desperate need for “the good news of happiness” (Isaiah 52:7). God designed the world in such a way that He knew to send Messiah in just the right time,” He added.
“In order that we might learn faith, Christ didn’t come earlier than He did. “But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, that we may be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:23-24),” Piper said.
Piper during his teaching made an equally valid corollary to the question, “Why didn’t God send Christ to Adam and Eve?” or “Why didn’t God send His wrath immediately on sin?”
He said: “Peter answers this saying that God’s love will not allow one person, who will believe, to be denied the necessary time: “But the present heavens and earth by His word are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:7-9).
“It’s an amazing and wonderful thing to realize that God devised His plan, created us, and is perfectly executing the plan, so that we could enjoy Him. He was infinitely satisfied within Himself, the Godhead, before creation. He didn’t create for Himself; rather, at His pleasure He created for us. Just to have lived is a gift beyond measure. That God would allow some of His creatures to live for eternity in a relationship with Him is beyond comprehension,” Piper stated.
“I can’t understand everything about God’s plan and His timing, either in human history or my own life. But that doesn’t keep me from believing it. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-7),” he concluded.