Reimar A.C. Schultze
The Necessity of the Virgin Birth
By Pastor Reimar Schultze
“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
Let us consider the necessity, the mystery, the miracle, and the meaning of the Incarnation of Jesus and the vir-gin birth. Statistics indicate that in the United States of America, about half of the young people believe that Jesus sinned at some point in his life. Also, half of those youth believe that all the religions of the world basically worship the same god and that all religions of the worldincluding Christianityhave basically the same values.
I want you to know that Jesus was born holy, that Jesus lived holy, and that Jesus went to heaven holy. He was holy, holy, holy. The fact that he was born holy comes to us from this passage in Matthew 1: “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” (v. 20).
What the word “conceived” means in the context of biology and this text is that Mary became pregnant. Mary’s pregnancy was not of Joseph, it was not of man, but of the Holy Ghost. It originated with the Holy Spirit. It had to be that way.
Scientists tell us that we get our blood from our father. Since all have sinned, that means that every one born into the world was born with sinful blood, originating with Adam. God needed holy blood in a holy man who would become the Savior. As Joseph’s blood was not pure, he was not qualified to be the actual father of Jesus; only God himself could be the father. Hence, Jesus was born with holy bloodsinless!
Yet, there are many people who believe that the virgin birth is not important, that who conceived Jesus is not important! They say that the fact that Jesus came to die for usto show us how much he loves usthat’s impor-tant; but they tell us to forget about the virgin birth and the holy conception. But I say to you that the virgin birth and the conception of Jesus within Mary by the Holy Ghost is worth fighting for, because without the virgin birth, without Jesus having been conceived by the Holy Ghostsinlessthere would be no salvation for mankind.
Without verse 20, we would not have verse 21. Verse 20 tells us that the child which is conceived of Mary is of the Holy Ghost, and verse 21 tells us that that child shall save his people from their sins. How can a sinner save us from our sins? Had Jesus not been conceived of the Holy Ghostsinlesshad he not been born sinless, he would also need salvation! And if he himself needed to be saved, he could not become the sacrifice for our sins.
So, if you do not believe in the absolute necessity of the virgin birth of Jesus, conceived of the Holy Ghost, you have to get rid of the Bible, because all of it teaches that no man can come to God without a perfect sacrifice made on behalf of his sins. Every animal sacrifice we read about in the Old Testament had to be without blemish; it had to be spotless and perfect. And now, remember, all these perfect animal sacrifices were offered only to point to Jesus the perfect, sacrificial “Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
Actually, what these people did in the Old Testament days to atone for their sins was, once a year, to bring a lamba spotless lamb (or a spotless male goat or male ox)to the altar. When that animal was slain, its blood, which symbolized the blood of Jesus, atoned for their sin as they confessed their sins, bringing them once again into a right relationship with God. (God takes sin very seriously, doesn’t he?) And so, when these people in the Old Testament days would bring their sacrificial animal to the altar, they would, so to speak, step into the shadow of Je-sus, the ultimate sacrifice for the forgiveness of their sins.
Now, if Jesus would have been conceived by manby sinful maneven if he would have lived a godly life after that birth, he still would have had a spot of iniquity in his blood from the Adamic sinful nature, disqualifying him from being our Savior. You can see now, my friend, why we have to have this pure birth of the Lord Jesus through Mary, conceived by the Holy Ghost. It is an absolute necessity for the doctrine of our salvation.
The necessity of this doctrine was felt by church scholars throughout the early centuries. In the year 700 AD, the best church scholars came up with what’s known as the Apostles’ Creed. Segments of the Apostles’ Creed were in existence much before the year 700 AD, but in that year, they said, “We’re going to have to come up with a sum-mary statement of the whole Bible to let Christians know what central and necessary doctrines they must believe in order to be considered Christians. We want to lay down in one paragraph the truths the apostles held dear, the ele-ments of our faith that are not negotiable.” This short statement of faith reads:
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; the third day He rose from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sit-teth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit; the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.
The first part of the Apostles’ Creed says that you cannot negate the virgin birth (Mary having conceived of the Holy Spirit) and yet be a Christian! If you don’t believe these truths as declared in the Apostles’ Creed, you are a heretic! There can be no Christianity without acceptance of the virgin birth and of God having become flesh through his Son Jesus Christ.
So nearly one half of the youth in the United States today believe Jesus sinned! How can he save us if he him-self sinned? And about half of those youth believe that we all worship the same god as the Buddhists, Moslems, and Hindusand that we all believe in the same basic moral values.
Well, I want to tell you, dear ones, do not ever agree with that! If you were to study Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam, you would quickly come to the conclusion that they all worship an entirely different god than Christianity, having different characteristics and a different spirit.
In Christianity, we believe that God the Father cannot be disassociated from his Son. In Christianity, we be-lieve we must have forgiveness of our sins in order to have fellowship with God and that this forgiveness is only possible through Jesus’ shed blood on Calvary’s tree. Christianity (and Judaism) say, “We need a perfect Sacrifice; we need somebody who takes the punishment of our sins on behalf of us.” This is Jesus. Our Bible tells us that if we don’t accept the Son, Jesus, we don’t accept God the Father, and the Father will not accept us if we don’t accept his Son Jesus. Only Christianity teaches that there is no other way to God but through Jesus, the perfect Son of God.
So you can’t say that we all worship the same god because the other religions claim, “We don’t need Jesus as a Savior. We only recognize him as a prophet but not as a Savior.” Christianity says, “We need Jesus as a Savior,” and God says, “If you don’t take Jesus’ sacrifice for your sins, if you don’t take my Son, Jesus, you have nothing to do with me.”
As a Christian, you can never leave Jesus out of your faith. In fact, our whole faith is named after Jesus Christ, isn’t it? Christianity comes out of the religion of Christ. Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam are not the religions of Christ the Savior, the Son of God. The apostle John said in one of his letters, “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son” (1 John 2:22).
Think of it: John calls any person a liar who denies that Jesus is the Christthe Messiah, the Savior. He con-tinues in verse 23, saying, “Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father...” This is serious, isn’t it? You separate the Son from the Father in Christianity and you end up with a Christ-less Christianity.
My friends, we have seen the absolute necessity of the virgin birth and of Jesus having been conceived by the Holy Ghost. We call this the doctrine of the Incarnation, meaning that God took on human flesh. As John says it in his gospel, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt amongst us” (John 1:14).
So, the first fact of Christianity is the doctrine of the Incarnation: God through the Son taking on human flesh, God becoming man, and God coming to us as a manthough sinlessand meeting us on our own level of human-ity. And that is what happened 2000 years ago.
Having talked to you about the necessity of the Incarnation, I want to talk to you briefly about the mystery of the Incarnation. “Now,” you say, “Pastor Schultze, what do you mean by ‘mystery’ here?” I mean by mystery, that which cannot be understood, entirely or in part, and that which will never in this life be understood by the human intellect. A mystery in this context means that it is beyond science; it is beyond reason; it is beyond understanding. And because it’s bigger than science, reason, and understanding, all we can say is, “This is awesome! This is tre-mendous! This is miraculous! This is of Heaven!”
Christianity, as a whole, is just too big for the test tube. Christianity is too big for the most sophisticated labo-ratory to examine and to understand, and so it is too big for the human mind. Therefore, man has to take a leap of faith and say, “I believe! I read it, I heard it, and I believe it.” This is why the Apostles’ Creed meets us with these two beginning words: I believe.
The whole Apostle’s Creed is on how to live by faith: I believe in the creation, and I believe in Mary having conceived of the Holy Ghost; I believe in the virgin birth; I believe in the crucifixion and in the resurrection of our Lord; I believe he ascended to heaven and that he’ll return to judge the living and the dead. Yes, I believe! I be-lieve! I believe!
Indeed, everything in the Apostles’ Creed is beyond reason, beyond understandingit’s an article of faith. The Incarnation is a mystery to the natural man, this is why another man, Daniel Webster Whittle, wrote one of my fa-vorite songs. It says,
I know not why God’s wondrous grace to me he hath made known,
Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love redeemed me for his own.
But I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able
To keep that which I’ve committed unto him against that day.
So let it be known that without the virgin birth, there is NO Christianity, there is NO salvation. We need a per-fect Lamb of God; and in Jesus Christ, we have it. Hallelujah!