Saturday, May 9, 2015

Why the Virgin Birth must be affirmed - Jesus' Sinlessness and Personal Salvation

Isaiah 7:14 "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel."

We began yesterday looking at why the church today must affirm the virgin birth/concepption of Jesus in His humanity. The virgin birth is not just a small curious teaching of scripture, but a significant and central truth - the virgin birth/conception of Jesus Christ. Touching His deity, the Son is eternal (John 1:1; Romans 9:5); God (Colossians 1:16-17; 1 Timothy 3:15-16; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 1:1-2) with all power and authority (Matthew 28:18). When the Son chose to come into this world (Hebrews 10:4-5) as sent from the Father (John 3:16) with Whom the Son shares in the same undivided Divine nature (John 17:1-5); He came through the vessel of a young, Jewish, virgin, peasant girl by the name of Mary (Luke 1:35) 

Many today scoff at the idea of the virgin birth conception, remarking the needless effort to try to prove it, since it is seemingly such a small incidental detail. Moreover, since virgin births simply don't happen, perhaps the church has misinterpreted the scriptures. Some have even opted to try to translate the word "virgin" recorded in Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:23 by the phrase "young maiden" so as to dismiss the doctrine altogether. 

Is the virgin birth/conception a small trivial detail of the Christian faith? Can we do without the virgin birth of Jesus' humanity? Would Jesus had been any less qualified of a Savior in His humanity if he had been born by natural means? This writer would say that unavoidable problems result when we deny the virgin birth accounts and thus, the incarnation (the enfleshment) of the Son into true humanity required and demanded a virgin birth conception. So the question is: what is the significance of the virgin conception/birth of Jesus' humanity? We saw in yesterday's post that to deny the virgin birth leads to denial of the Bible as being perfectly true in its details (i.e Biblical inerrancy). Today we consider a second reason to affirm the virgin birth - Jesus' sinlessness.

Affirming the virgin birth affirms Jesus' sinlessness
It is interesting how the virgin birth is associated with the perfection that is attributed to the Bible as originally revealed and now to Jesus as originally conceived in His humanity. If Jesus Christ had any trace of sin in his humanity, then He would had been disqualified as the sinner's substitute. The scriptures argue forthrightly about the sinlessness of Jesus Christ, notice:

Acts 3:14 states - "But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you." If Jesus had not been sinless, He could not had saved anyone. Consider 2 Corinthians 5:21 - "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." Jesus' sinlessness qualifies Him to continue ministering in His post-ressurection ministry at the Father's right hand as the believer's Highpriest. Notice Hebrews 4:15 "For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin." Other scriptures assert the fact that Jesus Christ in His humanity was without sin. (Hebrews 7:26; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5). 

So then with Jesus' sinlessness firmly established in the scriptures, what does this have to do with the virgin birth? Everything! How? Scripture teaches that the sin nature is passed down through the father's side of the blood-line. Whenever you read for example the accounts of the kings of Israel, they were described as doing the sins of their fathers. The general overall pattern and desire to sin that is found in every human being on planet earth is due to Adam's original sin. (Romans 5:11-21). Moreover, 1 Peter 1:18 explicitly notes - "knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers". By way of the virgin birth, Jesus' incarnation by-passed the sin nature that would had been otherwise passed down had Mary had relations with Joseph. Remarkably, Jesus was able to still have a genuine, true humanity from Mary (which is why He is called "the seed of the woman" in Genesis 3:15; Galatians 4:4) without sin. Theologian Wayne Grudem explains the significance of this: "Jesus did not descend from Adam in exactly the same way in which every other human being has descended from Adam. And this helps us to understand why the legal guilt and moral corruption that belongs to all other human beings did not belong to Christ."

Closing thoughts
We have explored over the past two days why we need to affirm the virgin birth. Without the virgin birth, the inerrancy of the Bible would be called into question and the qualification of Jesus to be the sinless Savior would be jeopardized. Because of this, Christianity must once again affirm the truth of the virgin conception/birth of Jesus' humanity as a cardinal doctrine of the Christian faith. If he had not been born into this world through the virgin's womb, scripture would had been nullified and Jesus' sinlessness touching His human nature could not had occured. 

By implication, Jesus' virgin birth qualified him in His humanity to be our Savior. Salvation would had been of no effect were it not for the virgin birth. All who respond by faith to the Spirit's quickening work of regeneration in their souls have a miraculous new birth (John 3:3-6; James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23) which enables the Christian to say they have had a miraculous new birth based upon the One who in His humanity had virgin birth had a miraculous birth. Thanks be to God that Jesus, God in human flesh, was virgin born with reagrds to His humanity. He is qualified and is the sinless Savior and scripture is the inerrant, infallible Word of God. Its that important!

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