What is Paul's purpose in highlighting that the Christ was born of a woman?
But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Gal 4:4-5
The origin of Jesus is expressed in all the Gospels without ambiguity. We can understand exactly what happened when Mary was enabled to conceive by the power of God working in her body and of the subsequent birth.
Throughout the NT, Paul and other writers, remind us of the significance of Jesus' beginning and of his promised heritage.
regarding His son, who was a descendant of David according to the flesh Romans 1:3
That which has been born of the flesh is flesh, and that which has been born of the Spirit is spirit. John 3:6
- Jesus was born as flesh. We know from 1Pet 3:18 that Jesus died 'in the flesh' but was raised in the spirit. We know that he was the 'firstborn of many brothers' at his resurrection (Rom 8:29) which relates to his new life/new birth in the spirit. But even now he says he is not A spirit Luke 24:39. He remains a human, but now with new life eternal Rom 6:9.
- Paul is reminding readers of this critical foundation for God's plan which centres on His son and what He asked him to accomplish.
- being the second and last Adam (1Cor 15:45) Jesus has ticked all the boxes of numerous prophecies since Gen 3 - the seed of the woman - a human like the first Adam, descendant of David and Abraham, of Israel, born of the woman chosen by God to bear His holy son.
- "when the set time had fully come" denotes the final stages of the plan culminating in Jesus becoming the Lamb of God on the cross.
- "God sent his Son". The son God sent was born of the woman. God has no other son that could be the Lamb without blemish, 1 Peter 1:19.
Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God 1John 4:2
Here John, who introduced the 'logos become flesh' is sending a closing message about sticking to the truth revealed. That Jesus is the son of God, the son of man, and he is flesh (like the first Adam). If he came as anything other than flesh, it would conflict with John's test of which spirits testify of the true Jesus - and which ones do not.
Paul too is attempting to remind the Galatians about the Jesus in whom they are saved and that they may also become sons of God in Jesus. From humble, fleshly humanity came Jesus, born of a woman, and now sits next to God! They can sit there too - with and in him Eph 2:6.
The phrase 'Son of man', used often of and by Jesus, has been used since Numbers 23:19 and denotes a human being.
- Ps 8:4 What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him
- Ezek 2:1 Then He said to me, “Son of man, stand on your feet that I may speak with you!”
- Ezekiel 11:4 “Therefore, prophesy against them, son of man, prophesy!”
- Dan 8:17 “Son of man, understand that the vision pertains to the time of the end.”
- Mark 2:10 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins
- Luke 19:10 the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.
- Mark 14:62 you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power
Some speculate that for Jesus to be sent, he must have pre-existed. No scripture confirms this proposal, only conjecture and inference. We might ask when was Jesus sent? Was it as a newborn? Well yes, but also no. His primary sending was after his baptism and receiving the Holy Spirit. How could he be sent into battle without the resources he desperately needed?
This is when he was sent into the ‘world’ in the sense of his opposition to, and confrontation with, evil. God sent His son even before Gen 3! Whether he existed then is irrelevant. He would exist and that is all that matters. Heb 1:2 confirms Jesus being the one God speaks through ‘in these latter days’. Jesus said he came to not do his will, but that of his God and Father. Certainly, ‘knowing God’s will’ would not have been possible as a newborn, but through great suffering and the resultant learned obedience until the cross, God’s will was understood and done.