The Necessity of the Virgin Birth!

The way, the truth and the life!
The way, the truth and the life!

Let it be understood that we are dealing with the unfathomable here, miraculous even. However if you can’t cope with this initial and fundamental part of the gospel you are going to have issues with the rest of it. Because it is all miraculous, from a literal six day creation to God’s providential intervention through all history and all its events. The work and ministry of Christ and his apostles, the dead raised to life, the sick healed, demons cast out, rocks rent, and the Son of God raised from the dead to the highest heights of heaven. Man’s salvation, redemption is a miracle from start to finish, get over it. The Saviour that was needed to deliver us from the mire of sin, darkness and death had to be a man, he had to be a perfect man, and he had to be God. But you say that is a sheer impossibility!  With man yes, but with God “nothing shall be impossible.” It needed a miracle. That is what the birth of Jesus Christ was, according to the Apostle’s Creed, “Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord: Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the virgin Mary.” He had to be a real man and he had to be very God.

That there have been and still are denials of this fundamental truth of the gospel we are well aware. The apostle John in his first epistle had to deal with this in early church times “every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist” (1John 4:3). Such opposition is not new. However, when I say this is fundamental, I mean to be a Christian it is an aspect of truth that must be believed. There is an inseparable link between salvation and true doctrine, you deny true doctrine and you end up denying God’s salvation. Man’s redemption stands and falls upon the real and perfect humanity and deity of Christ. This is a Divine, sacred necessity, a ‘must.’ Our rebellious nature’s within rear up against that saying, “why must!” The simple answer is God says so.

The longer answer is, it is necessary to meet the unshakeable demands of Divine justice. He must be truly man. He must have been with us in the loins of Adam, the first Adam that is. The one who brought sin into the world and death by sin (Romans 5:12). He must needs be organically related to us. He could not satisfy God’s justice otherwise, the nature that sinned must do that. The punishment is equivalent to the sin. The sin of Adam, original sin, was committed through human nature. So the one who would redeem us needed to be a man with a human mind, will, heart and body. Jesus Christ was such, born a helpless child in a manger, growing and developing as any other child through youth to adulthood. He hungered and thirsted was tried and tempted, “yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). He was perfect, sinless. Anyone who is himself a sinner cannot make satisfaction for his own sins never mind anyone else’s, let alone the world’s. Thus the Bible’s emphasis on the reality and the sinless perfection of the One who is to be our Redeemer. He must not be under the imputation of Adam’s sin as we ourselves are, all of us. In God’s sight we are all as if we were there in the garden of Eden and actually plucked that forbidden fruit ourselves. All guilty of Adam’s sin.

Of course you may wish to kick against that. But if you do, think a moment, or take the time to read Paul’s exposition of this in Romans chapter five. If you reject God’s charge in regards to the imputation of original sin, then you must also reject the reverse, the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to all who believe in him. So he needed to be like us in every respect, except for sin, a perfect man. But with no human father, yet born of a woman. Because the sin nature is passed on through the head of the family, the loins of the male. No intermediaries, other creatures will do “for it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins” (Hebrews 10:4). So a man, and a man who is truly perfect, with no sin of his own, and very God, born of a woman, but no earthly father, this we need and this we look for. Where do we find such a Redeemer? In a manger in the town of Bethlehem. We are left with one possibility, a miracle.

His deity was also a necessity. If we abandon this truth we again abandon God’s redemption. For no human shoulders could bear the weight that the Redeemer must bear. Jesus staggered and collapsed under the weight of a wooden cross, how could he possibly bear the infinite wrath of God if he be but human? The infinite burden the Saviour must bear could not be lifted by a finite man. He must needs be very God, he must be enabled by the power of his deity to carry away the world’s sin burden and not perish himself. He suffered in his humanity (for God cannot suffer), but in his deity took our wrath in order to give us righteousness. To reconcile us to God himself to take away our sin and eternal death he himself voluntarily, willingly, lovingly chose death for himself. Thus through his death to impart life to all those who would believe in his name. It’s an astonishing thing that we desire God to take away our trials and afflictions, sicknesses and poverty, to give wealth, health and success and when it doesn’t happen we shrug and give up praying. We give thanks for our meals and Christmas shopping, we’re like kids playing with the wrapping paper while the gift lies in the corner. He redeems us from eternal death! Glory! He saves us from never-ending torment and gnashing of teeth to everlasting happiness and love! Glory! Our wealth surpasses anything we may have to bear in this life. Paul says “for I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).  He restores us to God! That covenant fellowship with the family of the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit that we lost in the fall is regained. He takes our punishment, that’s good, that’s wonderful even. But as with the child who knows that the threat of punishment has been lifted, he is still not totally happy until he knows he is forgiven and his father gives him a hug. Friendship, relationship is restored. So the death sentence is commuted, we have the Governor’s pardon, glorious, what relief!

But beyond anything we could ever have imagined, he declares us not just ‘not guilty’ but righteous. And God warns, threatens any who would dare to question his judgment, “who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” (Romans 8:33-34). His name is Jesus , God, Jehovah saves and he saves his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). We cannot say for all men for we understand from experience that not all men are saved. We understand also from God’s word that not all men are or will be saved, but “all that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). Sadly many, most even do not want him, they want food, clothing, their immediate problems solved. I don’t minimise those, I am just prioritising, putting things in a right perspective.  But we are assured that he will save his people, there are no if’s or but’s to this. If you say he is the Saviour of all men then he is a failure. He does not try to save all or else he is a failure. But he does and will save all that the Father has given him. All that is who believe in his name, his name encompassing all he is and has accomplished. His virgin birth and his resurrection. The former was a necessity but so too was the latter. By the power of his resurrection he was Divinely declared to be the Son of God (Romans 1:3-4). If you had looked into that manger the child would have looked just like any other baby, how would you know he was the Son of God? Following his death, three days after to be precise, the tomb is empty, he is gone back to heaven. Death is defeated, sin’s power is broken, our darkness has been turned to light, “declared to be the Son of God with power…by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4).

(© James R Hamilton, 23rd December 2013)
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