This morning we considered the birthday story of Jesus and the virgin birth (Matthew 1:18-25). Some might think that spending time thinking about the virgin birth is immaterial — that it really doesn’t matter whether or not Jesus was born of a virgin. Yet there are many reasons why the virgin birth is essential.
- To deny the virgin birth is to deny the Word of God.
“The explicit testimony of Scripture is that Christ was born of a virgin. To deny this truth then is to deny the validity and reliability of Scripture. If the virgin birth of Christ is denied, then every other tenet of the faith is also open to criticism and denial. At a most fundamental level, the virgin birth relates to the authority of Scripture.”
- To deny the virgin birth is to deny the deity of Christ.
“If His was simply a human birth, He is simply a man; a good man, a great man, but only a man. But, you see, the meaning of Christmas is that this man is God who became man in order to become our Savior. The person who denies the virgin birth of Jesus Christ denies the instrumentality whereby God became a man. He is starting down the road that will ultimately lead him to deny the deity of Christ. This is why the virgin birth is so crucial and significant.
“Moreover, it has historically been a mark of orthodox evangelical theology from the time of the church fathers until the present. From the earliest days of Christianity, it was recognized that the virgin birth was the means by which God kept His Son from possessing the sin nature, while still possessing human nature. Stated another way, God could not have taken on humanity if it was not sinless. The virgin birth was essential to His advent. That being said, it also determines whether one believes in a natural or supernatural Christ.”
- To deny the virgin birth is virtually to declare that Jesus inherited a sinful nature.
“’That which is born of the flesh is flesh.’ A natural birth produces a natural man. If the sinful nature is communicated through the male, and if our Lord was born by the means of a natural birth, He inherited a sinful nature and He is a sinner among sinners. To deny the virgin birth of Christ is to make Him a sinner. Clearly then, it was the means whereby God became truly man without inheriting the fallen nature of man.”
- To deny the virgin birth is to disqualify Jesus from being Savior.
“Because you and I are sinners standing under the wrath of God, we need a Savior to save us from the judgment that we rightly deserve. But where should you find one? To be your Savior He must die because ‘the wages of sin is death.’ The righteous judgment of God upon the sinner is eternal death and if you are ever to find a Savior then you must find a Savior who will die for you, who will die in your place, who will take the punishment that you deserved as a sinner, who will bear the penalty that God has already passed upon you. Jesus Christ came and did just that. ‘But God commendeth His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us’ (Rom. 5:8).”
- To be Savior He must be a man because only a man could die for a man. Jesus Christ became a man to die for men. To be Savior He must be an infinite man. A finite man could only die as a substitute for one other person. To die for all he must be an infinite man — and only through the virgin birth could Jesus maintain His deity while also taking on genuine manhood.
- To be Savior the One who is to die must himself be innocent, or else he will only bear the punishment of his own sin. Jesus Christ is that innocent One who “knew no sin” and “did no sin.” Being born of a virgin provided the means by which He could be born outside of the curse of sin, under which all other men are born.
- The virgin birth of Christ relates to the resurrection of Christ. If one believes the resurrection, he must also believe in the virgin birth because they are of the same supernatural classification.
- The virgin birth of Christ is essential for these truths. To deny the virgin birth makes Jesus Christ less than infinite (He is only a man), and less than innocent (He would be a sinner); He therefore would be disqualified from being Savior. That is why the virgin birth of Christ is a fundamental of the Christian faith. It is as essential to the Christian faith as the foundation is to a building.
“If Jesus is simply the illegitimate child of Mary’s infidelity, or even if He is the child of Joseph’s natural marital union with Mary, He is not God. If He is not God, His claims are lies. If His claims are lies, His salvation is a hoax. And if His salvation is a hoax, we are all doomed.…The virgin birth is an underlying assumption in everything the Bible says about Jesus. To throw out the virgin birth is to reject Christ’s deity, the accuracy and authority of Scripture, and a host of other related doctrines that are the heart of the Christian faith. No issue is more important than the virgin birth to our understanding of who Jesus is.” [John MacArthur, God With Us.]