As Advent season is upon us, the virgin conception/birth of our Lord Jesus Christ takes prominence in our hearts and minds. That his virgin conception and birth is clearly taught in Scripture is undeniable (Matthew 1:20, 25; Luke 1:35).
But is it necessary to believe in the virgin conception/birth for personal salvation? Before I answer this question, I want to state what I think this question is really asking. The real question is this: what is the minimum someone must believe to be a Christian?
For personal conversion to occur, a person must understand a certain set of essentials about the gospel of Jesus Christ. A person must believe that they have sinned against a holy God by transgressing his law. A person must believe that a man, Jesus Christ, who is himself God in the flesh, paid for those sins by his life, death, resurrection, and ascension. And a person must renounce their sins and rely on Christ alone for salvation.
This same person, however, may well be ignorant of the virgin conception/birth. A child, for example, cannot conceive of a virgin conception/birth, because he does not understand the process of human reproduction. Yet, a child can be a Christian.
What is really at stake in the question is not personal salvation but the Christian faith itself. As important as the question of personal salvation is, the even more important question is this: is the virgin conception/birth necessary for the Christian faith? The answer to that question is a resounding yes.
Why is the virgin conception/birth necessary for the Christian faith? For several reasons:
- Because the Scriptures explicitly and unambiguously teach Christ was conceived and born of the virgin Mary (Matthew 1:18, 23, 25; Luke 1:34).
- Because the virgin conception/birth allows for the full humanity and full deity of Jesus Christ.
- Because the virgin conception/birth preserves Christ’s sinlessness (Luke 1:35).
Having said this, is belief in the virgin conception/birth necessary for personal salvation? If a person has the mental capacity to understand a virgin conception/birth, and truly does understand the virgin conception/birth, yet that person denies the virgin conception/birth, then that person cannot be a Christian because to deny the virgin conception/birth is to deny an important tenant of the Christian faith.
For more on the importance of virgin conception/birth, see the sermon here.