THE SPIRITUAL SIGNIFICANCE OF
THE VIRGIN BIRTH
A STUDY BY
GARY RAY BRANSCOME
Lesson 9

    God used the miracle of the virgin birth to impart His own nature to Christ, and that fact gives the birth of Christ a spiritual significance that sets it apart from every other birth. Because the child born of Mary has the divine nature, it can truly be said that He is “The Son of the Highest, // The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father” (Luke 1:32, Isaiah 9:6). The Bible also identifies Him as “Jehovah Our Righteousness,” while telling us that His “goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting,” and that He is “God… manifest in the flesh // God our Savior, and Lord.” [1Timothy 1:1 and 3:16, Micah 5:2, Jeremiah 23:6.]

    Because of His miraculous birth, Jesus was born without sin. Unlike us, his nature is not “Deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9). On the contrary, the Bible tells us that He is “The image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15). At the same time, the words, “who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one,” make it clear that if Christ had not been born of a virgin we would have no reason to believe that He was sinless, and, therefore, no reason to believe that He triumphed over sin (Job 14:4).

    For that reason, the truth of Christ’s virgin birth is of fundamental importance to all that we believe. In fact, it is not too much to say that the Christian church is founded on the truth of Christ’s virgin birth. After all, the Bible tells us that it is founded on the knowledge that Christ is “the Messiah, the Son of the living God,” and it is only because of the virgin birth that He is the “Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16-18, John 6:69). Furthermore, no mere man could have taken our sins upon himself, and no mere man could have given himself as ransom for the sins of the entire world (1Timothy 2:6). No sinful man could even pay for his own sins, much less the sins of anyone else.

    Since it was only Christ’s human nature that grew in a womb and was born as a son, the title Son properly belongs to His human nature. Nevertheless, the Bible uses the word Son in reference to the His deity in order to make it clear that there is only one Christ, not two (one human and one divine). At the same time, because Christ humbled Himself during His sojourn on earth, He did not always avail Himself of the divine power and knowledge that were at His disposal (Philippians 2:8, Matthew 26:53, Mark 13:32). However, that time of humility ended at His death, and since the resurrection what is true of His divinity is true of His entire person, to the point that it can truly be said that “all power is given unto” Him “in heaven and in earth” (Matthew 28:18).

The Athanasian Creed states the facts of Christ’s incarnation thus:

For the right faith is that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God is God and Man (Romans 1:3-4);
God of the substance of the Father (John 10:30) existing before all worlds (Micah 5:2, John 17:5); and man of the substance of His mother (Romans 1:3), born in the world (Matthew 1:18);
Perfect God (Titus 2:13) and perfect Man  (1Timothy 2:5) of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting (Mark 15:37-39):
Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead (Philippians 2:6) and inferior to the Father as touching His manhood (1Corinthians 15:28).
Who although He be God and Man yet He is not two, but one Christ (1Corinthians 8:6, 1Timothy 2:5):
One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh (Malachi 3:6), but by taking the manhood into God (Hebrews 2:14, Philippians 2:5-7).
One altogether; not by confusion of substance (Malachi 3:6), but by unity of Person (Jeremiah 23:5-6, Colossians 2:9, John 14:9).
For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and Man is one Christ (1Timothy 2:5, 1John 5:20);


    At this point, let me share an insight into the virgin birth that came to me from an unexpected source.
    Some years ago, I was asked this question. “If God can do anything, can He make a stone that is too big for Him to lift?” As I pondered that question and prayed for the answer, this thought came to me. Since stones are only hard for finite beings to move, God would first need to become a finite being, subject to the laws of gravity and inertia before He could make a stone too big for Him to lift. However, He would also need to remain God while becoming a finite being, otherwise it would not be God who was unable to lift the stone. That being the case, He could become a finite being by being born of a virgin. Through the virgin birth, He could take upon Himself the nature of man while retaining the divine nature. As a man he would be unable to lift the stone, but as God nothing would be impossible for Him.
    That answer helped me to understand why it was necessary for Christ to come into the world. God loves us so much that He was willing to take our sins upon Himself and die in our place. However, as God, it is impossible for Him to be guilty of sin or to die. Therefore, in order to take our guilt and punishment upon Himself, He became man — born of a virgin, born under the law. As man, He was able to take our sins upon Himself and die in our place. Yet as God, He was able to remain perfectly sinless and could, therefore, triumph over sin, death, and the devil.
 

CONCLUSION

    
    As the seed of David, Christ is the rightful heir to the throne of David. In fact, all who trust in Him are the citizens of His heavenly kingdom (Luke 17:21). However, because the truth of His miraculous birth is fundamental to the truth of His deity, as well as the entire salvation message, those who deny the truth of His virgin birth are attacking the Christian faith, and thus attacking Christ’s kingdom. You should not receive them into your home, or bid them God speed, for those who bid them God speed become partakers in their evil deeds (2John 10).


STUDY QUESTIONS


1. What is the spiritual significance of the virgin birth?
2. List three Bible passages that tell us that Jesus is God.
3. Why is the truth of Christ’s virgin birth important?
4. Why does the Bible use the word “Son” in reference to Christ’s deity?
5. When did Christ humble Himself?
6. When did that time of humility end?
7. Could any mere man have taken our sins upon himself?
8. Who is the image of the invisible God?
9. Who are the citizens of Christ’s heavenly kingdom?
10. What are those who deny the virgin birth attacking?