- (By CP Cartoonist Rod Anderson)
If you will accept the virgin birth of Christ as factual, you will be a step closer to your own personal rebirth. If you decide to reject the virgin birth of Christ, you will find it very difficult, if not impossible, to trust Jesus as your Savior. The virgin birth of the Lord is not a "secondary doctrine." It is essential to knowing God and believing in Jesus as the Messiah.
"God is spirit." (John 4:24) That goes for the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. But in order to die for sinful human beings, one of those three took on a human nature. A real flesh and bones body. And it was a body that did not exist prior to His miraculous conception in the womb of the virgin Mary. That conception was the work of the Holy Spirit. And the Son of God was the One to receive this "second nature." He had of course always been God, but He did not have a human nature until that point.
So what was Jesus doing before Bethlehem? Well, let's see. Creating the world, and all things. (see Colossians 1:15-17) That was pretty significant wouldn't you say? And creating man. And watching over the universe and the people He had created. And being worshipped by the angels. It wasn't like Jesus was "lacking for things to do." It was just that we desperately needed a Redeemer, and only the Lord could fill that role. No one on earth was good enough to get it done.
And so God made a way. He sent His only Son to be the perfect sacrifice for our sin. That little baby in Bethlehem came here in order to die for us on the cross. That was His mission. And He completed it perfectly, without sinning even one time. (see Hebrews 4:15)
In fact, if Jesus had sinned even once, then He would not qualify to be your Savior or mine. In that case, He would need someone to save Him. But of course He doesn't need that because He is perfect, and God's plan of redemption went off without a hitch. God wasn't "caught off guard" by any of it. He knew what would happen before it happened. He told us in His Word how it would happen. And then it did, just as He had said hundreds of years earlier.
The prophet Isaiah wrote, "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel." (Isaiah 7:14) And the prophet Micah wrote, "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times." (Micah 5:2)
The same Holy Spirit who worked the miracle of Christ's conception in Mary's womb can work a miracle in your spirit. He can bring the living Christ to dwell in your heart through faith. He can literally work that new birth in you today! But it will require a miraculous "conception" of sorts. It will require joining together your faith with the Gospel message. When you believe this good news, the miracle begins inside you. Christ comes to dwell in your spirit. This is the new birth. And without it, it is impossible to please God, or even know Him.
"You mean if Christ is not in me, then I don't know God?" That is correct. That is the teaching of the New Testament.
Just as Mary would not have been the mother of our Lord unless this miraculous conception had taken place in her womb, you will not be a Christian without the Holy Spirit bringing Jesus into your spirit. But it can happen. It will take a miracle, but God is performing those miracles all the time. He is God Almighty. Miracles come as easy to Him as breathing comes to us.
So would you like God to breathe on you today? After Jesus had risen from the dead, "He breathed on his disciples and said, 'Receive the Holy Spirit.'" (John 20:22) You may receive a number of Christmas gifts this year, but I assure you that not one of those gifts can compare with the gift of the Holy Spirit. When He comes, Jesus is "born" so to speak inside people. It requires a miracle, just like with the virgin birth.
Mary certainly couldn't take any credit for it. It was all God's doing. And the same is true with the new birth. If you are a Christian, you can't take an ounce of credit for it. Jesus paid it all. The One who came as a babe in Bethlehem also died on a cross just outside of Jerusalem. And then he rose from the grave. And the Holy Spirit is there with you right now to work the miracle of the new birth inside you. Go ahead. Receive the Spirit. Receive Christ as Savior. Receive the free gift of eternal life. It's as easy as breathing.
Why not open your heart right now to the Lord of the universe? Place your faith in Jesus Christ. "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved." (Acts 16:31) Your personal rebirth will mean as much to you as the virgin birth of Christ meant to Mary. But unless you experience it personally, you will end up like those who walk away from God's gracious offer as they chart their own course.
Do you honestly believe you can chart a better course for yourself than God Himself? If you wonder why the sin of unbelief is so dangerous, just look at all the people who reject Jesus and who do so without any apparent sense of remorse or shame.
You see my friend, that is the other option available to you. A hard heart toward the Messiah, as compared to a heart filled with faith, love, and appreciation for all that Christ has done for you. Those are the two roads. Those are the two spiritual outcomes. But only one of those paths involves Jesus living inside you. (see Colossians 1:27)
Mary experienced what it was like to have the Savior live inside her. But will you learn from her miracle to seek the Lord for yourself? Or will this be just another Christmas that comes and goes while your spirit remains Christless? It doesn't have to be that way. It really doesn't. Unless of course that's the way you want it to be for yourself.
So what do you want for Christmas? And will the gift you desire this year change your life, or will it just add one more "thing" to your growing collection of earthly possessions?