Contrary to what some may say, the virgin birth of Jesus is a very important piece of the entire Gospel message. If we deny its occurrence, then we are also saying that the Bible is untrustworthy because in the Old Testament it clearly prophecies that the Messiah was to be born of a virgin (Isa 7:14) and in the New Testament we read that this was fulfilled in the birth of Jesus (Mat 1:18; Luk 1:31-35). So if Christ was not born of a virgin, the Bible contains false information.
The Virgin Birth is Important
While it is not within the scope of this article to prove or justify the virgin birth of Jesus, there are however doctrinal importances that we can derive from it in the following three ways.
- The virgin birth shows that salvation must come from the Lord. In Genesis 3:15, God promised that the seed of the woman would ultimately destroy the serpent (Satan). Since Jesus was born from the seed of a virgin woman, his birth serves as an unmistakable reminder that salvation must be the work of God himself. It can never be the result of any human effort. Our salvation can only come through the supernatural work of God, which was evident at the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry when “God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”
- The virgin birth made it possible to unite the full deity and full humanity in one person. This is in regards to the means which God used to send his son to us (Jhn 3:16; Gal 4:4). Despite other methods through which Christ could have come to earth, compared to the gospel account, none of them come close to clearly uniting the deity and humanity in one person. For example, it would have been possible for God to send a fully grown human man to earth, without the benefit of any human parent, but then people would be likely to doubt and misunderstand his full humanity. Or, it would’ve been possible for the Messiah to come to the earth as the result of a sexual relationship between a man and woman, but then people would be likely to doubt and misunderstand his full deity. With these two examples in mind, we can see how God ordained a mixture of both human and divine interaction in the birth of Jesus, so that his full humanity could be evident from his ordinary human birth from Mary, and his full deity would be evident from his conception i the womb by the powerful work of the Holy Spirit.
- The virgin birth made it possible for Christ to have true humanity without inherited sin. All human beings have inherited legal guilt and a corrupt moral nature from our first father, Adam. This is sometimes referred to as ‘;inherited sin’ or ‘;original sin’. But since Christ was not born of a human father, he was not fully descended from Adam, as you and I are. This break in the line of descent was the method that God used to bring it about that Jesus was fully human yet did not share inherited sin from Adam. This appears to be implied in Luke 1:35 where the angel tells Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy-the Son of God.” As a result of Jesus being conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, he was able to be called holy and live without sin.
From these three points we can see the significance and message of the virgin birth of Christ; it tells us that salvation comes only from God and explains how Jesus is able to have full deity and full humanity in one body which is sinless.
- Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994), 529-532