Robert D. Pace
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE VIRGIN BIRTH
I want to begin by defining the Virgin Birth. In the simplest terms, it means Jesus Christ was born of Mary, through the Holy Spirit, and without Mary having intimacy with another man. It means the eternal Word of God was “made flesh” and lived among men. This Doctrine of the Virgin Birth is crucial to Christianity! To renounce the Virgin Birth is to renounce the Deity of the Lord of Christianity. There can be no “Emmanuel—God with us,” without Christ’s virgin birth. This is why this subject is of supreme importance.
(Transition) I want to mention three significant aspects of the virgin birth. First, the virgin birth says, Jesus Christ is divine.
I. The Virgin Birth Testifies To Christ’s Deity
Christ’s essential, inherent nature is the preeminent tenet of the Christian faith. Is He human, is He divine, or is He incomprehensibly both in one? This question must be answered because every other doctrine of Christianity hangs on the answer. And believe me, this question has been debated for centuries:
For the first 300 years of Christianity debate over Christ’s nature so divided Believers that in 325 A.D. the Council of Nicea convened to address the issue. Was Jesus merely a man with an inspired message or was He God with only a human appearance. Neither statement represented a Biblical truth but after lengthy discussion the Council correctly resolved He was God’s divine Son.
A century later, the Church wrestled with the issue again. So in 451 A.D. the Council of Chalcedon provided the Church with the historic statement of the two natures of Christ. To paraphrase their conclusion they determined Jesus was fully God and fully man.
The Apostle’s Creed states this: “I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary.”
The Assemblies of God Statement of Fundamental Truths issues this: “The Lord Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God. The Scriptures declare . . . His virgin birth . . . His sinless life . . . His miracles . . . His substitutionary work on the cross . . . His bodily resurrection from the dead . . . [and] His exaltation to the right hand of God.”
Historically, Christ’s nature has been a premier consideration of the Church; and rightly so. Without the Virgin Birth Jesus is reduced to a sinful but good man. But the essential nature of Jesus cannot be confined to mere human flesh. The Virgin Birth proclaims that Christ is divine!
Our text in Isaiah 7:14 says: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him? Emmanuel.”
Matthew 1:23 prophetically recalls: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Emmanuel”—which means, “God with us.”
Luke 1:34 says: “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” (35) The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.”
Jesus was more than human, He was divine!
In His humanity He was squeezed into a tiny stable where cattle crowded closer to Him than did the angels. But in His divinity He sat on the Throne of Heaven and ruled the universe.
In His humanity He ate with smelly fishermen that hauled their catches from Galilee. But in His divinity He dined with Michael and Gabriel in the banquet halls of gold.
In His humanity He traveled Galilee’s dusty roads with His disciples. But in His divinity He marshaled God’s chariots through the galaxies calling the stars by name as He sped past them.
(Transition) He was human, but make no mistake about it, He was also divine! And His virgin birth declares His deity. But the virgin birth testifies more than Christ’s deity. Secondly, it reveals God is man’s Savior.
II. The Virgin Birth Reveals God as Man’s Savior
Before Christ appeared on Earth, man was impossibly trapped in sin. Moses had provided the Ten Commandments and the Priestly orders for atoning for sin, but no human prescription could alleviate the burden of sin and gain favor with God. This again, is why the virgin birth is significant. The Deity of Jesus Christ provided man with an acceptable sacrifice for sin! Let me illustrate this:
One of the great self-designations of God is the name “Jehovah.” That name means, “God is our Savior.” As you read the Bible you find God identifies Himself in many ways:
God called Himself the “Creator.” And when we survey the wonders of the universes, the expanse of the skies, and marvels of the human body the only logical conclusion is, God is indeed is the Creator of the universe!
God also referred to Himself as “The Lord,” which means the “Covenant-keeping God.” And there’s no question that God has faithfully maintained His covenant relationship with the Jews. They’re His chosen people and prized possession.
God called Himself eternal, omnipotent, and omnipresent all designations that declare He is infinite and beyond our comprehension.
(Insight) Now, here is what makes God’s self-designation “Jehovah,” important. Each time the name “Jehovah” appeared in the Old Testament, it proclaimed that God Himself would step into the arena of humanity to redeem man. He would personally appear as man’s Savior. This is what Isaiah 59:16 means when it says: “He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene; so his own arm worked salvation for him, and his own righteousness sustained Him.”
The Bible discloses some exceptional men and women. For example:
Moses, mighty in word and deed, called down plagues upon Egypt and divided the Red Sea.
Joshua, filled with faith, flattened the walls of Jericho and even persuaded God to stop the sun.
Samson, one solitary man, defeated thousands of enemy troops.
David overpowered a lion and a bear.
Daniel understood dreams, vision, and prophetic mysteries.
But when it came to rescuing men from sin, only God could intervene! Jesus Christ, the Son of God, bore the weight of sin, suffered under Pontius Pilate, carried the cross, and died at Calvary. Christ alone disarmed the grave of its power when He rose from the dead. God Himself did these things, not a mere man! And that’s why we should affirm the sanctity of Christ’s Virgin Birth.
(Transition) But His virgin birth not only reveals His divinity and His saving power it testifies to His righteousness.
III. The Virgin Birth Testifies to Christ’s Righteousness
How many understand that Jesus was God’s perfect, holy, sinless Son? He was absolutely inviolate in every way. Satan and those opposed to the Gospel would love to divest Jesus of His moral purity. They would like nothing more than to reduce Him to their own depraved stature.
(Illustration) Some years ago, the Hollywood movie, The Last Temptation of Christ pictured Jesus as a mentally deranged man that was unable to tame sexual cravings. Another Hollywood film portrayed Him as a homosexual. Awhile back, the United States government sponsored a “work of art,” which pictured Jesus as a drug addict inserting a hypodermic in His arm.
Such depictions of our Holy Savior are irreverent! But this is what the Pharisees did 2000 years ago! They said He was born illegitimately. They called Him a liar. They accused Him of blasphemy. They called Him a “drunkard.” But Scripture calls Him the holy and righteous Son of God. The Bible asserts His sinless-ness is beyond question:
Several times Pilate emphatically said: “I find no fault in him.”
Pilate’s wife called Him that “just man.”
Even Judas, refusing to die with a lie on his lips, said: “I have betrayed innocent blood” (Matthew 27:4).
The Centurion standing closest to Him at Calvary said: “Truly this was the Son of God (John 19:6).
Jesus took up personal testimony when He challenged the Pharisees: “Can any of you prove me guilty of sin?” (John 8:46).
Peter called Him the “holy and righteous One” (Acts 3:14), and the “lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:19).
And even the demons of Hell knew of His sinless nature. The devil at Capernaum shouted: “I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” (Mark 1:24). (That may be the last time Satan uttered the truth!)
Let me explain why man needed a “holy” Savior.
Why Man Needed a Holy Savior
There has always been but one sacrifice that could atone for sin. This is confirmed in both Old and New Testaments: Only a “perfect” sacrifice could atone for sin. In the Old Testament Leviticus says the sacrificial animals for sin were to be “without defect” (4:3; 5:15). Just one small blemish on the animal made it unacceptable to God. That’s why the New Testament shows the holy, unblemished, virgin-born Son of God as the perfect sacrifice for man’s transgressions.
Romans 8:3 says: “For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man.”
Hebrews 4:14-15 says, “Since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. (15) For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.”
Remember, throughout the Bible the word holy is given a special place. Scores of references proclaim that “God is holy.” And while Christians are called to live holy lives, though we try, we often fail. But Jesus never failed! He perfectly pleased the Father in every way. And that’s why He could atone for our sins, purchase our salvation, and bring us into the Family of God!