Nestled deep in the heart of the Swiss Jura Mountains is the Vallée de Joux, home to several watch making companies since the seventeen century, where master watchmakers continue to manufacture some of the world’s most coveted timepieces. These highly skilled craftsmen make watches in their workshops (ateliers) that contain minute moving parts and complications, which work to tolerances of hundredths of millimeters with incredible precision. And, this attention to detail is reflected in the beauty, accuracy, and durability of these mechanisms. When I think of my favorite brands like Breguet, or Patek-Phillipe, or Franck Muller, I recall the meticulous craftsmanship behind these complicated works of art, which both touch the heart and engage the mind.
Wonderful is the word that encapsulates the world of horology. The more I read about the art and craft of watch making, the more I reflect on the infinite complexity of the divine mind, particularly the wondrous design and the meticulous plan of salvation—conceived in eternity—but executed in time and space.
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” (Galatians 4:4–6)
The incarnation of our Lord, which resulted in our redemption and adoption into God’s family, was central to God’s plan.
To redeem is to set free by paying a price. How did this happen? “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’” (Galatians 3:13). It cost God the price of his Son’s life.
The legal requirements of God’s justice and law demanded that we be punished and excluded from his presence for our sins. So how did God satisfy his justice and his law? This he did by the life, death, and resurrection of his Son Jesus Christ.
And the result of this is the very heart of the gospel: adoption into God’s family.
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. (Romans 8:14–17)
Redemption leads to relationship. As joint-heirs with Christ, we enjoy by grace what he enjoys by nature— glorious intimate fellowship with God.
And all this was part of God’s wonderful plan from eternity!
He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:4–6)
The infinite complexity of the divine mind is reflected in the infinite complexity of our salvation: “The wisdom of God has ordained a way for the love of God to deliver us from the wrath of God without compromising the justice of God” (John Piper, Desiring God).
May this Christmastide be a time of reflection on the manifold design and beauty of God’s eternal plan, as we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ: "Born that man no more may die, born to raise the sons of earth, born to give them second birth. Hark! The herald angels sing, glory to the newborn King!”