The Miraculous Conception

Posted on December 5, 2017 by Adam Smith in Article from The Messenger

We often speak of the great miracle by which Jesus came into the world as the virgin birth, though we should perhaps speak instead of the virgin conception. Jesus’ birth into this world was actually quite natural and normal. However, Jesus’ conception in the womb of the Virgin Mary was supernatural—the work of the Holy Spirit alone in Mary. Just as God’s Spirit was at work when God created the world when there was nothing, so too God’s Spirit created something from nothing in Mary’s womb in the beginning of the gospel. The Gospel of Matthew tells us that before Mary was married to Joseph, she was “found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit” (1:18). And this miracle changes everything!

The virgin conception means that Jesus was not simply a holy man who became a god. It also means that Jesus was not an otherworldly ghost who just appeared to be a man with a lot of good things to teach us. The virgin conception means that the baby born to Mary, Jesus of Nazareth, was fully God and fully human at the same time, yet without sin. As fully human Jesus is able to go to the cross in our place, as our substitute, to pay the penalty that our sin deserves. As fully God, Jesus’ death and resurrection constitute the victory of God over sin, death, and the devil. The Christmas miracle is God’s ultimate answer to all the evil, injustice, and suffering that we see around us.

The virgin conception also tells us something significant about our salvation. Our salvation is entirely by grace without human effort. God takes the initiative apart from any human effort to send us Jesus who will “save us from our sins.” What a miracle!

--Adam Smith