Epistle Reading December 25th
In this brief passage, which is read on Christmas day, St Paul puts to the Galatians the entire purpose of our Lord’s Incarnation. He says that Christ took on human form and was born under the law so that He might redeem “those who were under the law” (v. 5). Redemption is critical to Christ’s mission here on earth. However for St Paul, redemption is only significant because it leads to our receiving the “adoption as sons” (v. 5) by God. Redemption was for the purpose of renewing our relationship with our Creator. Christ became as we are so that we can become as He is by grace. Children do, after all, take on their parents’ features.
St John Chrysostom states in his commentary on this passage that “[the two objects and effects of the Incarnation are the] deliverance from the curse of the Law, and promotion to sonship”. The ability to walk as sons of God was lost by Adam in Paradise, but through redemption, Christ renewed our nature, making us capable of living as His children.
St Paul writes that we are no longer servants but sons, and because of this we become heirs of God’s Spirit. This Spirit is a mark of our adoption by God. We cannot call ourselves children if we have no similarity or connection to our parents. God sent His Spirit into our hearts not as an expression of our redemption from sin but as an invitation to join Him and to live as children worthy of calling Him Father.
Christmas is a time to remember that by His human birth to a woman, Christ freed us from the burden of the Law which is death. By His resurrection, death was defeated and eternal life was granted to those who choose to accept to be His child. What a truly great Christmas gift!
Source: December-January 2015 Lychnos Edition