The Importance of the Virgin Birth
I love Christmas.
I love the lights, the songs and most of all, the nativity scenes. I love to see vivid pictures of the birth of our Lord in different sizes, shapes, colors and arrangements. But what if Christ hadn’t come as a helpless babe born in a manger? Adam and Eve appear for the first time as adults—so why not the Christ? Jesus could have formed a body of flesh for Himself out of the dirt and inhabited it, right? He could have spoken a body of flesh into being but He didn’t. No, God did something even more remarkable.
He became flesh through the incredible means of the virgin birth so He could be just like us but without sin!
It is no doubt beyond real explanation that the infinite and perfect God would transcend His utter greatness and take up residence in the womb of a sinful Jewish girl. How could it be that the One who created all things by His very words would allow Himself to stoop down so low and consent to be born as a man who would dwell among us? It happened because it was the only way to truly redeem mankind. The virgin birth reveals to us just how helpless and hopeless the human race is left to ourselves. The only way for mankind to be saved is through the life and sacrifice of someone conceived and born in such a way as to be fully God and fully man but not be under the guilt and power of sin.
It is quite remarkable to think that while it was necessary for Jesus to be fully human to accomplish God’s plan of redemption it was not necessary for Jesus to be sinful in order to be human. Man did not start off sinful, but rather it came about later in man’s history as a result of Adam’s sin. Think of it—Jesus could be fully human without being sinful if His birth was different than anyone else’s. Some believe that the virgin birth teaches that sin is passed on only through the birth father so Jesus was sinless because he did not have a human father. However, there is no Scripture to support such an idea and what Scripture teaches is that Mary, like all mankind, had a sinful nature which also could have been passed on to the Christ child. The virgin birth is much more centered on the work of the Holy Spirit than Mary. The reason why it is so significant that the Holy Spirit is seen as the active agent in causing Mary’s pregnancy is because it reveals how God used the Holy Spirit to exempt Jesus from having Adam’s sin charged to Him and also protected Jesus from allowing the corrupted sinful nature of Mary to be transmitted to Jesus.
Mary did play an important part as she carried God’s Son in her womb and was no doubt overjoyed with the process of watching her middle grow and feel the kicks as so many mothers get the blessing to enjoy. God further makes it clear in His Word that Joseph was not the human father of Jesus by never allowing the authors to make any direct statements designating Joseph as His father. Whenever the Scripture relates to Joseph and his relationship with Jesus it always refers to Jesus being the “son of Joseph” (Luke 4:22; John 1:45; Matt 13;55) or to Joseph being “the husband of the woman of whom Jesus was born” (Matt. 1:16). It never states that Joseph is Jesus’s father because he wasn’t. It is clear from Scripture that the conception of Jesus took place by the power of the Holy Spirit miraculously before Mary and Joseph had come together as husband and wife (Matt 1:18).
This time of year is so much more comforting for those of us who know Christ as our Messiah than the rest of the world who do not know Jesus because we fully grasp the significance of what the incarnation and God-with-us truly represents. We know that the baby in the manger is God’s one and only Son who was miraculously born sinless and then died to give us eternal life.
When we look upon and think of the Nativity this season may it be with a fresh perspective on just how great it is that Jesus came like us but was without sin!
Rejoicing Together in the Savior’s Birth,
Pastor Jason | RBC Senior Pastor