“Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” (Galatians 4:3-5)
What a precious thing it is to live in the time when this deliverance from bondage to the elements of the world is available! I’m thinking today, however, of those for whom that came too late to experience in this life. There were many in the Old Testament who felt their need of a clean heart (Psalm 51), but Immanuel had not yet come. Generation after generation of people who wanted to please God sought “instinctively,” if you will, for the blessing of being adopted as sons of God, but did not experience it in this life. Yet, “in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” (Romans 5:6)
God is fair, and though they didn’t obtain the heart experience of the new covenant, yet the merits of Christ’s blood were sufficient to make a home in heaven available to them also, although limited to the terms of the Old Covenant in their pilgrimage down here.
On a lesser scale than this, the issue of timing runs all through the history of humankind. Millions of Jews and others perished in Germany before the liberating armies arrived—yet they came in time for others. Would it have been appropriate for those in the liberating armies to think (if they became aware of what had already happened), We’re too late for so many, it wouldn’t be fair to rescue just a few at this point? A mother or father dies before their children are grown—do we say it is unfair for others to be able to raise their children to adulthood? Looking back at the spread of the gospel—is it fair that many in the area around the eastern Mediterranean received the good news in the first century, and some isolated tribes in the twenty-first century are getting their first exposure now?
The answer to these questions lies in the goodness and power and justice of God. God deals with everybody, in every age, in every place, and deals with each according to the light and understanding they have had available and responded to. At the same time, He continues to work within the limitations of time and space and free will to bring more and more light to all.
In our little place in His work I am both comforted and encouraged to press on. Though the issue has been long delayed, I’m trusting that it might be “the fulness of the time” or “due time” for somebody who is looking to the Lord for help, and that the Lord hears our prayers that we be able to be more timely with our next issue. We greatly desire and appreciate your prayers.
In Christian love,