The New Testament is clear about the reality of Jesus’ virgin birth or, more accurately, His virgin conception. It’s really impossible to explain away what the New Testament unequivocally affirms about Christ’s miraculous conception. And while the modern church is often vigilant in defending the fact of the virgin birth and conception of Jesus, it also has often overlooked its significance. It’s important to affirm the virgin conception because the Bible does, but we also need to understand WHY the virgin birth is important.
A Physical and Spiritual Nature
Only Matthew and Luke record the circumstances of Jesus’ birth, but both explicitly make the point that Jesus would be born of the “Holy Spirit” (Matt. 1:20 and Luke 1:35). This means Jesus was born of flesh AND of the Spirit. In this sense He was different from any other person ever born. From the moment of conception, Jesus was born of the flesh (Mary) AND the Holy Spirit. He was both physical and spiritual.
In Romans 8:29, Paul told the Roman church that believers were “predestined to be conformed to the image of His [God’s] Son, so that He [Jesus] would be the firstborn among many brothers” (emphasis added). We might argue over what “predestined” means, but our point here is that Jesus was to be the “firstborn among many brothers.” This would require that Jesus’ “pedigree” be different from all other human beings. And that is, in fact, the case. Jesus was born of the flesh AND the Spirit. Such a pedigree would require a virgin birth or conception.
Salvation Requires a New Birth
When Jesus spoke to Nicodemus in John 3:1-8, He was asked what it meant to be “born again.” Jesus replied that “unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” While there’s a good deal of debate over the meaning of “water” in this context, it makes sense, in light of Jesus’ virgin birth and “firstborn” status, that “water” is referring to physical birth. In order to enter the Kingdom of God, Jesus is saying, a person must be born physically (as Nicodemus was picturing) and be born spiritually as well.
The bottom line here is that Jesus is the “firstborn” of a new kind of people. Those fit for the Kingdom of God are a new people who, like Jesus, are born of the flesh and, now, the Spirit. Such a “pedigree” would not be possible without the virgin birth and conception of Jesus. If we’re going to affirm or believe in the miraculous nature of those who have been “born again,” then we must also affirm Jesus’ miraculous nature and that miraculous nature requires a virgin conception.
Author, Speaker, Bible Teacher
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