Thursday, November 16, 2006

"Believing The Virgin Birth"

Christmas songs such as "Silent Night" explicitly refer to it. Famous doctrinal creeds such as The Apostles’ Creed, The Nicene Creed, The 39 Articles of the Church of England, and the Westminster Confession of Faith clearly mention it. Christmas pageants all over the world refer to it. But does anyone really believe it?

I suspect the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ is one of those beliefs that some people publicly acknowledge but privately laugh at. Yet the Bible is very clear in its teaching on the Virgin Birth (not to be confused with the Catholic beliefs about the Immaculate Conception of Mary or the Perpetual Virginity of Mary).

Beginning with the OT prediction in Isaiah 7:14 and confirmed in Matthew and Luke, the Virgin Birth is essential to the theology of salvation. The Virgin Birth is the method God used to bring the eternal Son of God (John 1, Colossians 1, Revelation 22) into the world as a human being.

Logically, there are only 4 possibilities for the birth of Christ.
1. A human father, no human mother
But this raises the question of how to be born since men do not have babies
2. A human father and a human mother
How would this birth be any different from any other birth?
3. No human father and no human mother
Would this make Jesus some type of alien, not human at all?
4. A human mother, no human father

The most unique & different of all the options, this allows Jesus Christ to be both God and man at the same time. As fully God, He would be able to pay the penalty for our sin. As fully man, He would be able to be our representative and substitute sacrifice. Yet this possibility also allows the element of miracle since the virginity of the woman could be verified, giving the situation a mystery which the human mind would have to deal with.

The context of Isaiah 7:14, one of the most famous verses in the Bible, shows that the Hebrew word translated "virgin" in the King James refers to a young woman who is a virgin. The passage teaches that God is not going to deliver His people by military force or political maneuvering but by the birth of a Special Child. Unless the woman is a virgin, the birth does not have any special significance and is not any different than any other birth.

The wording of the genealogy of Christ in Matthew 1:16, especially in the Greek text, shows that the birth of Jesus Christ was different than the other births of the genealogy. The explicit statements of the angel to Joseph in Matthew 1 and to Mary in Luke 1 clearly teach a virgin birth.

Some object to the Virgin Birth by referring to it as a biological impossibility. Yet, interestingly, that objection was the first recorded objection to the Virgin Birth, and that objection came from Mary herself (Lk 1:34). The inspired answer? The power of God will make this possible (Lk 1:35).

If someone in the ministry does not believe in the virgin birth, that person is embracing unbelief and refusing to accept what the Bible clearly teaches. In such situations, that person has become heretical and should be removed from his ministry.

When a person is exposed to what the Bible teaches about the virgin birth and that person refuses to accept that teaching, that person cannot be a Christian because he is denying a fundamental doctrine of Christianity. A person cannot be a Christian and deny what Christianity teaches. He may be a religious person, but he is not a Christian.

More than just a "Christmas story", the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ is clearly taught in the Bible and is a fundamental doctrine of Christian belief. The Virgin Birth is an essential part of the profound and ingenious plan of salvation that God has designed.