Column: Mary was a virgin — why it matters

Published 11:52 am Tuesday, December 5, 2023

By Hank Walker | Pastor at Friendship Baptist Church

Most Christians, even nominal ones, can recite Mary’s part in the Christmas Story. The Apostles’ Creed tells us that Jesus was born of “the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary.”  This understanding reflects the angel Gabriel’s answer to Mary about how she — a virgin — could possibly give birth to “the Son of the Most High” (Lk. 1:26-34). Gabriel explained, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore, the child to be born will be called holy — the Son of God” (Lk. 1:35).

In light of Scripture, then, why does it matter that Jesus was born of a virgin?

First, the Old Testament predicted it: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son” (Is. 7:14). Jesus was the “seed of woman” promised in Gen. 3:15 (often called the “first gospel”). Either Jesus was born of a virgin, or the Scriptures are unreliable. This matters!

Second, to be the sin-bearer, spotless Lamb, and second Adam, as Paul calls Him (Rom. 5;

1 Cor. 15), Jesus had to be born without a sin nature — as the God-Man. We call this the hypostatic union. Jesus wasn’t half man and half God; He was truly God, in every way; He was truly man, in every way, “yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15). In order to be sinless, he could not inherit the first Adam’s sin nature — something that could only be accomplished by being born of the “seed of woman.” This matters!

But wasn’t Mary a sinner too? She was — but with a difference. Although Eve was “deceived” in the Garden, Adam was not; Adam knowingly and willfully rebelled against God. Moreover, Eve was not responsible for mankind — Adam was. This is called federal (representative) headship. Consequently, the sin nature is not passed through the seed of the woman, but through the “seed” (sperma) of the man. If Joseph had been His natural father, Jesus would have inherited the sin nature from him. This matters!

Third, just as Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born-again believers are too. We had nothing to do with our natural birth and we have nothing to do with being born again — “not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (Jn. 1:13).

This really matters!

Soli Deo Gloria.