Many liberal theologians dismiss the idea of the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, by which is meant that Mary was a virgin who had never known a man in the carnal way when she bore Christ. The Sadducees of our modern times have chosen this doctrine of the faith, a FUNDAMENTAL doctrine upon which the truth of the Gospel is based, as a target for their Satan-spawned attacks. What's worse, many undiscerning Christians and unsaved church-goers let them get by with it unchallenged because they don't really understand why Christ had to be born of a virgin, and they believe it to be more amenable to ignore some of that "unbelievable" stuff in the Bible and compromise with the unsaved who simply cannot understand the miraculous. So as to equip the saints to contend for the faith once delivered, I now present a Biblically-based defence of the doctrine of the immaculate conception of our Lord Jesus Christ. May this article serve to give Him the glory and honour!
So as to clear up any initial preconceptions, the Bible DOES, indeed, present the birth of Jesus Christ the Messiah from a virgin as a miraculous fact, a sign of proof that Jesus was the Saviour which was to save this world from our sins. The prophecy was given in Isaiah 7:14, "Therefore the LORD himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." This prophecy was fulfilled by the birth of Jesus Christ. Looking at Matthew 1:18-25,
"Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joesph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS."
Further biblical proof of Mary's virginity and the miracle of Jesus' birth can be found in the semi-parallel account in Luke 1:26-35, in which Mary also is visited by an angelic messenger from God.
"And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, the Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."
Therefore, from the inspired record of the Word of God, we see by Mary's own admission that she was virginal. Liberal "higher" critics will try to say that the word used in Hebrew to describe the virgin in Isaiah 7:14 (Hebr. almah = virgin, maid, lit. concealment) is the same used in other passages to merely refer to a chaste unmarried maiden, and thus say that the prophecy only says a young woman of good morals would bear the Son of God, but that she needn't be a literal virgin. The fact notwithstanding that for a young, unmarried woman to be considered chaste in Hebrew society, she would necessarily have to have been a virgin, this argument suffers when we examine that the deeper, base meaning of "almah" is that of concealment, as in keeping something pure and protected. Hence, when the Messiah is prophesied to be born of a virgin, the prophecy states that He was to be born of a woman who was concealed, covered, and kept pure from the carnal knowledge of a man. This idea is reiterated in the Greek in the description of Mary as a virgin (Gk. parthenos = virgin, lit. seclusion, virginity) where this word also gives the idea of something being kept to itself, pure, and unjoined. Consider the scientific word "parthenogenesis", which refers to the act by certain organisms of producing offspring without sexual reproduction. The word literally means "to create while unjoined or virginal". Arguments from the original languages cannot be legitimately applied by liberal apostates in their efforts to "demiracle" the Bible.
So, we know that the Bible definitely says Jesus was born of a true virgin. What does this all mean? Why is it important? What is the POINT?? Well, to begin, there is the simple fact that the Bible says Mary was a virgin and that Christ was born of a virginal mother. The Bible PLAINLY says it, so we, if we dare to call ourselves faithful to our Lord, ought to take what the Bible plainly says and trust it, instead of taking the word of God-hating infidels like Nels Ferre who deny the virgin birth and other miracles, even if they have more degrees than a thermometre. In the end, we all are going to find out it isn't a man's education that avails him, but his faithfulness to the Lord.
In order for Christ to serve as our Redeemer, it was necessary both for him to take on the form of man, while yet also being sinless in earthly body. The Bible says that Christ took on the flesh of man. "And the Word was made 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." (John 1:14). Further, in Hebrews 2:16-17, the Bible says, "For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reonciliation for the sins of the people.". It was necessary for Christ to take upon Himself the nature of mankind to redeem mankind. Only by becoming like us in flesh could He die for us in flesh.
Moreover, only by being of a sinless nature and absolutely pure could Christ have been an acceptable sacrifice to satisfy God. Looking back to the Old Testament types of Christ's coming sacrifice, we see that a sin offering which was to be offered up for the people to cover their sins had to be spotless, representing the sinlessness of the coming Christ (Leviticus 1:3-4). In Genesis 22:1-18, we find the story of Abraham's call to sacrifice his son, Isaac, and the beautiful prefiguring of Christ's substitutionary sacrifice for us. "And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for an offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together........And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son." (Genesis 22:7-8,13) The ram was sacrificed in Isaac's place, just as Christ died in ours. John the Baptist clearly heralded Christ as the Messiah in John 1:35-36, "Again, the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; and looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!" John's comment was made in reference to and recognition of Christ's place as the final spotless Lamb to be sacrificed for the sins of all the people, with no other sacrifice being needed to obtain eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12). Peter further sums this point up succintly when he wrote, "But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:" (I Peter 1:19) Christ was sinless. Nobody could lay anything to his account that wasn't completely in accord with the laws of God. A lot of people didn't like Jesus Christ when He was engaged in His ministry upon this earth, people like the scribes, lawyers, and Pharisees. However, in spite of all their backbiting and murmuring and lying and trickery, they never once could find a single, solitary sin or blemish to lay to the record of Jesus Christ. It wasn't for the lack of trying, as the Bible points out!
So, what does this all mean? Christ came to earth to be born as a man so that He could die as a man in our place, and He was sinless so as to fulfill His role as our Spotless Lamb, the sacrifice in our place. What does this have to do with the virginity of Mary? The necessity of Mary's virginity is two-fold. Firstly, the birth of the Saviour was to be accomplished through a virgin as a miraculous sign to the people in Jesus day and all through the ages that Jesus was the true fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. The virginity of Mary authenticated the claims of Jesus Christ, thus providing a basis for the the faith of His disciples, both when He lived, and afterwards. Secondly, Christ's conception had to be caused by a miraculous moving of the Holy Spirit in Mary to create Christ as bodily man, and not by the common union of Mary and any man. Through the Holy Spirit's conception of Jesus in Mary, Christ had the very Deity in His nature, which could not be said for any man or woman procreated by normal means. Christ was not a mere man, tainted with the sin nature passed down by man to his progeny. Because of Adam's sin, the sin nature was passed down to all people. "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:" (Romans 5:12). Due to the nature of the way which mankind propagates himself, the sin nature as it is handed down generation to generation is passed along through the seed of man. Since Christ was not conceived through the seed of man, but rather by a miraculous action of the Holy Spirit, He both retained Deity, and was absented from the sin nature.
Hence, we see that the immaculateness of Christ's conception is very important, for if He were not born of a virgin, but were rather born of the union of a man and woman, then He was not sinless nor was He Deity, and could not have died in our place as a sinless, vicarious substitute acceptable to God. Thus, we and generations before us, would still be dead to our sins and have no hope of salvation. Fortunately, the Word of God clearly illustrates Christ's virgin birth, His Deity, and His impeccability (sinlessness), so we can be assured that all who trust in Him as Saviour and repent of their sins truly have assurance that they are saved and made the children of God.
If you are reading this and are not saved, if you have never experienced the life-changing washing and regeneration of your spiritual nature, and haven't been brought into a state of new life and fellowship with God, please know that Jesus Christ DID die as a sinless sacrifice in YOUR place. He took the wrath of God upon Himself, and died in our place on the cross. He was able to do so, and he DID do so, out of His love for you. Please, if the Lord is calling upon your heart, repent of your sins by simply telling Jesus in prayer that you know you are a sinner, and that you want to turn from your sins, and trust Jesus to save you fully and completely from the punishment of sin. Jesus took the wrath, but your burden cannot be lifted until you respond to Christ and ask for salvation. Call upon his name and be saved. "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:13)