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The Virgin Birth
In order for Jesus to be a descendant of Adam, He had to have at least one human parent. By the miracle of the virgin birth that Isaiah had prophesied, God came to live among men and be one of them. "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." (Isaiah 7:14)
Luke, the Greek physician who wrote the Gospel by his name, investigated the facts and wrote the following about Jesus' birth: "In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, 'Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!' But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.' And Mary said to the angel, 'How will this be, since I am a virgin?' And the angel answered her, '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. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.' And Mary said, 'Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.' And the angel departed from her." (Luke 1:26-38)
Matthew, one of Jesus' disciples, tells us what happened when Mary's fiancé learned that she was pregnant: "And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, 'Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.' All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 'Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel' (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus." (Matthew 1:19-25)
The Apostle Paul wrote it this way: "But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons." (Galatians 4:4-5)
And Jesus Himself declared, "God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die." (John 3:16 CEV)
Saying that Jesus became a human does not mean that God turned Himself into a human, or that He ceased to be God when He became human. God the Son was still God. As the Son of Man, He took on a new nature, a human nature, uniting it with the divine nature in one Being and Person: Jesus Christ, true God and true man. We call this the "Incarnation".
Born without "Original Sin"
The Bible teaches that all people have what's called "original sin". This terms is used to describe the effect of Adam's sin on his descendants. And it is because of this sin nature that all humans are under the sentence of death.
"Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man's sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous." (Romans 5:12-19 emphasis added)
The Bible says that, as a result of our human nature, we all are children of wrath; that is, we inherited that which would subject us to God's wrath. "...were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind." (Ephesians 2:3b)
Why No Sin Nature in Jesus?
The Bible supports the idea that the sin nature is passed down through the father, not the mother. The Bible says that sin entered the world through Adam, not Eve. Eve, who was deceived, was the one who sinned first. However, sin did not enter the world through her; it entered through Adam (see Romans 5:12 above).
In the Old Testament, God repeated several times that it is the iniquity [wickedness, evil] of the father that God will use to exact punishment on future generations.
"You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the father on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me," (Exodus 20:5 emphasis added)
"...keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the father on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation." (Exodus 34:7 emphasis added)
"The LORD is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but he will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the father on the children, to the third and the fourth generation." (Numbers 14:18 emphasis added)
"You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me." (Deuteronomy 5:9)
As you can see, the Bible clearly supports the idea that the sin nature is passed down through the father, not through the mother.
However, contrary to the false teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, this does not mean that Mary was free from inherited sin. Like all of us, she also inherited the sinful nature from her father.
But since Jesus did not have a human father, He did not inherit the sin nature which is passed on by the father. Although He was fully human, he was without original sin. Jesus had two natures: God and man. "For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily." (Colossians 2:9) Jesus received His human nature from his human mother, but He retained His divine nature through the work of God the Holy Spirit. Therefore, Jesus is both God and man. He was sinless, had no original sin, and was both fully God and fully man.
He marveled at the faith of the Centurion. "I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith." (Matthew 8:10)
The Creator of the universe voluntarily stripped Himself of His power and became a helpless baby.
He Lived a Perfect, Sinless Life
"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin." (Hebrews 4:15)
Was Jesus Capable of Sin?
Some say that God cannot be tempted by evil (cf. James 1:13), and since Jesus is God in the flesh, then He could not sin. That begs the question, that if He could not sin, then how can we say He was tempted in all points as we are? How could Satan's temptations in the wilderness be real temptations?
Some people believe Jesus had to have a sinful nature in order for Him to be tempted. Not only does this flawed theology contradict Scripture, as we've previously shown, but it is not a logical assumption. Adam did not have a sinful nature and yet he was tempted and fell. Jesus did not have a sinful nature [because He didn't have a human father]. He was tempted and He did not fall. So, Jesus not having a sin nature does not mean He could not be tempted.
No doubt, some who read this will disagree with our conclusion. And if you can show us Scriptural evidence for your point of view, by all means, please contact us. But we are not here to discuss opinions or certain churches' traditions. We must seek at all times to align ourselves with God's Word, even if it feels uncomfortable or goes against our traditions. God's Word is the standard against which all truth is measured.
So, let's examine some facts:
...then it is reasonable and Scriptural to conclude that Jesus, as God in the flesh, could not sin.
Think of it this way...
In order to be tempted, Jesus had to be human. Yet, since there is nothing in God that has even the remotest tendency to do wrong, then there can be nothing presented from without to induce Jesus, in His divine nature, to do wrong.
He Is the Ideal Priest and Mediator between God and Man
The Bible teaches in Hebrews 4:15 that Jesus was tempted like we are, that He knows what we are going through, and that He understands our weaknesses. He experienced first-hand the same problems we experience and some that most of us will probably never experience. This is why the writer of Hebrews tells us we can "approach the throne of grace with confidence..." (Hebrews 4:16 NIV) because we have a compassionate and understanding High Priest.
Since Jesus remained sinless and undefiled, He does not need to offer sacrifices for His own sins as the other priests must do. "Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself." (Hebrews 7:25-27)
Our sins separate us from our holy God, so He will not hear us when we pray. "...your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear." (Isaiah 59:2) But since Jesus committed no sin, He is able, as our perfect High Priest and Mediator, to communicate with God on our behalf. "For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." (1 Timothy 2:5)
He Is the Perfect Sacrifice for Sin
As the "Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (cf. John 1:29), Jesus had to be completely free from any defect, free from anything that would defile Him and cause God to reject His sacrifice. "...knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot." (1 Peter 1:18-19
"For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit." (1 Peter 3:18)
In order to represent us and bring us to God, Christ had to suffer as the just for the unjust. Although He was innocent, He suffered and died as our spotless sacrifice so we could go free, even though we were guilty. To do this for us, He had to be sinless ["without spot or blemish"].
No sinful person could ever pay the price for anyone else's sin. Jesus Christ could suffer in our place only if He committed no sins for which He would have deserved to be punished.
Christ saves us, not by living a sinless life in our place [the false doctrine of imputation], but by suffering the punishment of sin for us. His life is not substituted for our life; rather, His death was substituted for our punishment and death.
The sinless life of Jesus was essential to our salvation because it was necessary to qualify Him as the sacrifice for our sins.
It Was Jesus' Mission to Live a Perfect Life
Satan tried to make Jesus sin and turn Him aside from His mission. But Jesus rejected all temptation and carried out His mission to save us. Jesus' goodness was not just negative [the absence of evil], it was a positive commitment to God's perfect will. He not only refused to do wrong, He was dedicated to doing right. He was love incarnate. Think of it! Jesus loved us so perfectly that He didn't know how to hate another human being! Sure, He hated sin and hypocrisy and anything that would replace God in our lives and our hearts, but He loved the sinner. He was known as a "friend of sinners". Yet, He never sinned. Instead of His association with sinners changing Him, He changed sinners!
Jesus began His public ministry at 30 years of age. He taught people about God and how they could have a part in His kingdom. He was the greatest Prophet and Teacher the world had ever known. With only a touch or a command, He healed hundreds of sick people. Sinners came to Him and received forgiveness, peace, cleansing from sin, and a wonderful new life filled with His love. "...God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him." (Acts 10:38)
But the religious leaders of Jesus' day were jealous of Him. Although they read the Scriptures, they didn't understand them and He didn't fit their idea of what the Messiah ought to be. So, they refused to accept Him as the Messiah. They falsely accused Him and had Him crucified [just as prophesied through the Prophet Isaiah and King David]:
"He was hated and rejected; his life was filled with sorrow and terrible suffering. No one wanted to look at him. We despised him and said, 'He is a nobody!' He suffered and endured great pain for us, but we thought his suffering was punishment from God. He was wounded and crushed because of our sins; by taking our punishment, he made us completely well. All of us were like sheep that had wandered off. We had each gone our own way, but the LORD gave him the punishment we deserved. He was painfully abused, but he did not complain. He was silent like a lamb being led to the butcher, as quiet as a sheep having its wool cut off. He was condemned to death without a fair trial. Who could have imagined what would happen to him? His life was taken away because of the sinful things my people had done. He wasn't dishonest or violent, but he was buried in a tomb of cruel and rich people. The LORD decided his servant would suffer as a sacrifice to take away the sin and guilt of others." (Isaiah 53:3-10 New Century Version)
"All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; 'He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!' . . . I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; . . . I can count all my bones they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots." (Psalm 22:7-8, 14, 17-18)
He was crucified like a common criminal, between two criminals. And the people He had come to save mocked and spat on Him while He died. In spite of this, Jesus still loved them and prayed, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." (Luke 23:34)
Jesus' perfect life did not end in the grave. He arose from the tomb on the third day just as He had prophesied He would do: "Jesus answered them, 'Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.'" (John 2:19P)
And after forty more days on earth, He ascended back to Heaven, where He is now seated at the right hand of the Father as our High Priest.
"For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people." (Hebrews 2:17)
"Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet was without sin." (Hebrews 4:14-15)
"So Christ also did not take upon Himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to Him, 'You are my Son; today I have become your Father.' And He says in another place, "You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek." (Hebrews 5:5-6)
See also Hebrews 3:1; 5:1,10; 6:20; 7:1,26; 8:1,3; 9:7,11,25; 13:11.
"...until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13)
"Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted." (Hebrews 2:17-18)
"I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed." (Daniel 7:13,14)
"But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers . . . And again, 'I will put my trust in him.' And again, 'Behold, I and the children God has given me.' Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery." (Hebrews 2:9-11, 13-15)
"For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." (1 Timothy 2:5)
...so that we may serve the living God!
"For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance-now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant." (Hebrews 9:15)
"But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel." (Hebrews 12:22-24 emphasis added)
"But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons." (Galatians 4:4-5)
"For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit," (1 Peter 3:18)
All throughout the New Testament we find passages that tell us about God's purpose for us. God's Word helps us understand why Jesus became the Son of Man. Jesus Himself sums it all up in one sentence: "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was the lost." (Luke 19:10 KJV)
Why the Title "Son of Man"?
Jesus referred to Himself as the "Son of Man" more than 80 times, not to merely identify with the human condition, but to make the point that He was both divine and human, that He was, in fact, that One whom Daniel saw in his vision. If there was any question about that fact, just look at some of the assertions He made when using the title "Son of Man":
"...for as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." (Matthew 12:40)
"Jesus said to them, 'I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.'" (Matthew 19:28)
""No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven-the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life." (John 3:13-15)
See also Matthew 8:20; 10:23; 11:19; 13:37,41; 16:13,27-28; 17:9,12,22; 18:11; 20:18,28; 24:27,30,37,39,44; 25:31; 26:2,24,45,64; Mark 2:10,28; 8:31,38; 9:9,12,31; 10:33,45; 13:26; 14:21,41; Luke 6:5,22; 7:34; 9:22,26,44,58; 11:30; 12:8,10,40; 17:22,24,26,30; 18:8,31; 19:10; 21:27,36; 22:22,48,69; 24:7; John 1:51; 5:27; 6:27,53,62; 8:28; 9:35; 12:23,34; 13:31.