12 Days of Christmas Devotions: Day Four
This Christmas FiG is helping you to keep yourself focused upon Christ in this busy season where we celebrate our saviour's birth. The third day is brought to you by Geoff Lloyd, the Pastor from Wyndham Grace Church.
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
I am sure, like me, you have been captivated by the gleaming strands of a frozen spider’s web. But beauty comes at a price. The added weight puts strain on the web. Weak links inevitably break, the web sags, its sublimity tarnished. The virgin birth may seem an insignificant thread in the Christmas story. Some Christians consider it an inconvenience and endeavour to explain it away. But losing this single strand puts an unbearable weight on our whole theology. I am not suggesting that rejecting the virgin birth causes the gospel to crumble, but it will make it sag and rob it of some of its majesty. Consider three doctrines that suffer if we abandon the virgin birth:
1) The Doctrine of God’s word – The Bible plainly states it happened. The two gospels that record Jesus birth explicitly mention Mary’s virginity. Perhaps even more significantly, it was prophesied, as in our verse above. To deny it is an assault on the veracity of the Bible.
2) The Doctrine of God’s Son – Jesus didn’t come into the world as a spirit like the Docetists argued. He was a real man with a real human mother. However, He wasn’t just a man, He was God, so He didn’t have a human Father. Virgin Birth is the only way to maintain the hypostatic union, the doctrine of Jesus’ two natures.
3) The Doctrine of the Atonement – The reason Christmas is so special is because it marks the birth of our saviour. But Jesus couldn’t be our representative unless He was a real human and Jesus couldn’t pay our infinite debt unless He was infinite God. He could only be both those things if He was born of a virgin.
We do not have to pretend that virgin birth is anything but a miracle. However, we certainly don’t have to be ashamed of it. After all, how else would we expect the life of Jesus to begin? As B. B. Warfield remind us: “Men have always and everywhere judged that a supernatural man, doing a supernatural work, must have sprung from a supernatural source.”