By Pastor Mitch Horton | November 2005 | Posted in • Archives | (0) Comments
“Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, ‘Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!’ But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.’ Then Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I do not know a man?’ And the angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.’” (Luke 1:26-37)
These verses in Luke record the extraordinary event of a Jewish virgin becoming pregnant supernaturally! This supernatural birth fulfilled prophesies that had been recorded hundreds of years before, prophesies that foretold the coming virgin birth, the incarnation of God the man!
The word incarnation means “a taking on of human form.” The second member of the Trinity took on human form in the man Christ Jesus! 1 Timothy 2:5 reads, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.”
Isaiah prophesied about Jesus’ supernatural birth long before the actual event: “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)
Another prophesy of Jesus’ birth is found in Isaiah 9:6-7: “For unto us a Child is born unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
The phrase “For unto us a Child is born” is referring to the physical birth of Jesus’ human body, given to Him by Mary His mother. The next phrase, “unto us a son is given,” speaks of Jesus’ deity as the God who came to live in human form.
Jeremiah 31:22 refers to the virgin birth of Jesus, “How long will you gad about, O you backsliding daughter? For the LORD has created a new thing in the earth - A woman shall encompass a man.” That is, a woman will bear a child apart from natural genealogy, a child conceived without an earthly father!
The disciple John speaks directly of this miraculous birth in John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
It is mentioned again in Romans 8:3, “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on the account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh.”
And again in 1 Timothy 3:16, Paul alludes to the incarnation: “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.”
In his letter to the Galatians, Paul further explains that the power that frees us from the bondage of the law came through the incarnation: “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” (Galatians 4:4-5)
Then in Hebrews 2:14 we read, “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”
Why is an acceptance of the virgin birth of Jesus Christ necessary for salvation? Why must we believe it to be Christians?
Jesus declared about Himself in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” Why do we believe this is true? And why is Jesus the sole mediator between God and man? (1 Timothy 2:5)
To answer these questions, so that we recognize the need for the virgin birth of Jesus, we must understand why the nature of man’s sin required an incarnation of deity in humanity. In fact, our redemption from sin and its effects could not have occurred apart from this incarnation!
When Adam sinned, two things immediately took place: He was separated from fellowship with God, AND his God-given dominion over the earth was transferred to Satan. To understand why the incarnation was essential, we must grasp how immeasurably significant these two radical changes were.
First of all, when Adam sinned, his spirit was separated from fellowship with God. God had given Adam a specific command in Genesis 2:17: “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it, you shall surely die.” But Adam chose to disobey God. And when he did, just as God had said, he died - spiritually.
We must understand that there are three types of death spoken of in the Bible: spiritual, physical, and the “second death.” Spiritual death is separation from fellowship with God. Physical death, of course, is the end of the physical body’s life. The “second death” commences with being cast into the lake of fire from which there is no escape, remaining forever separated from God.
From the moment that Adam died spiritually, everyone subsequently born has inherited from him a sinful nature. “For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23). “Therefore, just as sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.” (Romans 5:12). “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.” (Psalm 51:5). These Scriptures verify that as the result of Adam’s disobedience, everyone is born already separated from God by sin!
Then secondly, when Adam sinned, he transferred his God-given dominion over to Satan. At that moment, Satan became the “god of this world,” with a legal dominion over the earth.
Notice what Satan said to Jesus during His temptation in the wilderness: “Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, ‘All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I will give it to whom I wish.’” (Luke 6:4-5)
As Satan unfolded this temptation before Jesus, he was actually speaking a portion of a truth here: he DID have authority over the kingdoms of the world! How did he obtain it? He got it from Adam when Adam sinned. And he still has legal right to dominate humanity on this planet for a limited amount of time!
So after Adam sinned, he lost two things: his fellowship with God, and his dominion over the earth that had been delegated to him by God.
In our redemption, we must understand that God is completely just. His love for us is based on His justice. And God, Who never changes, is just to ALL, even to Satan His enemy, and to Himself. God Almighty long ago decided to live by the laws that He Himself created to govern the universe!
Because of His amazing love for fallen man, the Lord yearns for fellowship with people. But His justice and holiness forbid the very fellowship He longs for.
God’s justice requires that the penalty for our sin be paid in full, that penalty being eternity in hell’s lake of fire. SOMEONE had to pay for the injustice of our sin, and because a man got us into sin, that someone had to be a man.
But not just any man! No, for a man to become our redeemer, he had to be in total fellowship with God, and therefore completely free from Satan’s dominion.
This posed a BIG problem for God to solve! Since Adam sinned, EVERY person has been born in sin, out of fellowship with God, and under Satan’s dominion and control. NO one born of two human parents could ever fit this bill! Each of us is sin-filled and Satan-dominated at birth. And except for Divine intervention, we are destined to pay for our sin by spending eternity in the lake of fire separated from God!
How could God ever find a person able to pay our sin penalty, break Satan’s rule over our lives, and bring us back to the same standing that we had with God before Adam sinned?
The answer was the incarnation.
If God had been unjust, He easily could have dispossessed Satan of the authority he had deceptively but legally gained from Adam. He could have forgiven man just because He loved him. And He could have revived the dead spirit of a man and let that man serve as our redeemer.
But to do that would have been unjust. He would be breaking His own rules, and our God is not a law breaker, even when dealing with Satan himself.
God’s love, based on His justice, demands that a man in right standing with God, not subject to Satan’s dominion or to death, live as we live, face every temptation that we endure without sinning, and then pay our sin penalty in our stead.
Therefore, this man had to take on our sinful condition, having no sin of His own, He had to die in our place and go where we should have gone to pay our own sin penalty. Then He was required to remain there until the demands of justice against our sin were fully met. He had to defeat Satan, our adversary, and restore to us our lost dominion.
This man must conquer death, and bring life and immortality to humanity. He must make available to us a human body that is as perfect as Adam’s body before he sinned. He must so completely redeem humanity from its sin that all of creation is restored back to its original condition before the fall of man!
What an incredible task this was, possible solely through the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Only the absolutely astounding miracle of God becoming man could redeem us from our terrible plight of sin.
The incarnation of Jesus is THE fundamental truth of Christianity. Without the virgin birth of Jesus, there can be no redemption from sin, no freedom from the tyranny of Satan, and no hope of a bright future in Heaven. That’s the reason Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)
The virgin birth of Jesus and His incarnation are truths that Satan and his hordes of demons bitterly oppose. They know that if the incarnation is a fact, then our redemption from sin is a reality, our standing with God is secured, and Satan is a defeated foe!
Because of these truths, we stand as victors in life’s fight now, we have hope of a new body one day, and we will enjoy God’s presence throughout eternity in the new heaven and new earth, freed from all the effects of Adam’s fall!
The incarnation is love based on justice, God Himself assuming the liability of our sin, the Creator paying the legal penalty for the sins of the created. As you give and receive gifts this Christmas season, don’t forget the greatest gift ever given in all eternity, the incarnate Son of God giving us the gift of redemption from sin and its effects by paying the wages of sin for each one of us!
“..........and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)
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