If you were at Quest last Sunday, you saw Corey’s perfect humanness revealed when he discovered he emailed himself the wrong notes for the sermon. Mistakes like this happen to the best of us and Corey rebounded with grace and delivered a great off-the-cuff, God-led message instead of what he had planned. He did want the original notes shared with you, however, so below are the notes that he meant to email to himself for last Sunday’s message!
Who is Jesus?
Is Jesus fully man?
Is Jesus fully God?
Why did Jesus come to us through the Immaculate Conception?
As Christians, the virgin birth is key to our understanding of who Jesus is. Christ is the center of our religion. But I’m amazed at how few professing Christians know anything about who Jesus is. The Bible teaches that Jesus is both fully God and fully man. The virgin birth of Jesus is the means by which the full deity and full humanity of Jesus are wedded together in one person.
There are a couple of objections that are commonly raised by those who reject the virgin birth of Jesus. First, they say that the Hebrew word usually translated “virgin” in Isaiah 7:14 actually only means a young, unmarried woman. This word, they believe, was then mistranslated with the Greek word for “virgin” in the LXX which was followed by the New Testament authors. In other words, the concept of the virgin birth is a mistake.
The problem with this objection is that although the Hebrew word translated as “virgin” in Isaiah 7:14 can mean “a young, unmarried and eligible woman”, the only kind of “young, unmarried and eligible women” who were in that context were virgins. Even if you did translate it that way, it still would refer to the same thing.
The other problem is that the New Testament is explicit that the birth of Jesus was through a miraculous conception. The argument is based upon more than the translation of that word. We have testimony from the angel Gabriel and Mary herself that she was a virgin.
Another objection also raised is that the virgin birth is only mentioned explicitly in two places in the New Testament (Matthew and Luke). It is true that Matthew and Luke both announce the virgin birth most clearly. But Mark doesn’t contradict it, only beginning with the ministry of John the Baptist and baptism of Jesus. John certainly implies it with his statement that the Word was eternally co-existent with the Father and “became flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:1-3, 14).
The Apostle Paul said in Galatians 4:4, “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman.” Which shows that God has kept His promise to send a deliverer who was called in Genesis 3:15 “the seed of a woman”.
What is the significance of Jesus being both fully God and fully man?
Does it really matter?
The virgin birth of Jesus Christ was the means by which He acquired a human nature without affecting His sinless deity. Jesus is perfect God and perfect man, 100 percent God and 100 percent man. Some emphasize the humanity of Christ to the exclusion of His deity. But the Scriptures teach both. The virgin birth is essential because it is the means by which Jesus maintains His divine nature, while assuming a human one. Both Jesus’ humanity and deity are important to our salvation.
- Jesus’ Humanity
a. Man needed a representative.
Romans 5:18-19 Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
b. Man needed a substitute sacrifice.
Hebrews 2:16-17 Fro surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.
c. Man needed a mediator between him and God.
1 Timothy 2:5-6 For there is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men, the testimony given in its proper time.
2. Jesus’ Deity
Only God could achieve our salvation. Because our sins are against an infinitely holy God, they are infinitely heinous and worthy of infinite punishment. The only way a finite human being can pay for his/her sins is by spending infinity (eternity) separated from God. Because Christ is infinite God, He was able to bear the infinite (eternal) punishment for all the ones given to Him by the Father in a finite amount of time (as He hung on the cross). Only God could achieve our salvation!
It would not have been right for the restoration of human nature to be left undone, and . . . it could not have been done unless man paid what was owing to God for sin. But the debt was so great that, while man alone owed it, only God could pay it, so that the same person must be both man and God. Thus it was necessary for God to take manhood into the unity of his Person, so that he who in his own nature ought to pay and could not should be in a person who could . . . The life of this man was so sublime, so precious, that it can suffice to pay what is owing for the sins of the whole world, and infinitely more.
The Sinlessness of Christ
The virgin birth is also essential because it ensures the sinlessness of Christ. The virgin birth is the means by which Jesus is protected in His human birth from the corruption of Adam’s sin. Jesus was fully human, yet without sin. As Romans 8:3 states, God sent His Son in “the likeness of sinful flesh”. It was real human flesh, but not sinful! Without the sinlessness of Jesus, He could not have paid for our sins for He would have had to pay for His own. In order to be our substitute He had to be completely sinless Himself. As Peter writes in 1 Peter 1:18-19,
For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver and gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.
As Dr. Albert Mohler has written:
Christians must face the fact that a denial of the virgin birth is a denial of Jesus as the Christ. The Savior who died for our sins was none other than the baby who was conceived of the Holy Spirit, and born of a virgin. The virgin birth does not stand alone as a biblical doctrine, it is an irreducible part of the biblical revelation about the person and work of Jesus Christ. With it, the Gospel stands or falls.
I don’t believe that someone has to fully understand the virgin birth in order to be saved. The story of Jesus is capped by two miraculous events: the virgin conception of Jesus by the Holy Spirit and the glorious resurrection. The story of Jesus is a supernatural story that must be believed on the authority of the Word of God. The doctrine of the virgin birth is biblical! It is not optional. It is essential to our salvation! There is no other means for our salvation that the one which God has devised.
Acts 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.