Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Article III

Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
Born of the Virgin Mary

In the third article the conception of the Lamb is considered.

Luke 1:26-35 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, "Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!" 29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 30 Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 "And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. 32 "He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 "And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end." 34 Then Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I do not know a man?" 35 And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.

The anti-lambs tend to go into two different errors when dealing with the conception of the Lamb and the creed deals with both errors. One doctrine of the anti-lamb is that this was an ordinary birth and that the Holy Spirit played no part in it. The other claims that the Lamb did not receive his humanity or blood from Mary. This is no ordinary conception. This is conception by the Holy Spirit. The Lamb was no mere man. No mere man could accomplish your salvation. The Lamb is fully God. Only God can save you. But this is not some god untouched by humanity either. The Lamb must be fully man in order to save us. Cast all rationality aside and accept the God-man Lamb, not some Lamb of your own devising.

Mary plays an important role that no man could ever play. Chalcedon refers to Mary as the theotokos--the God-bearer or Mother of God. The title Mother of God is appropriate and necessary. It guards against all who would try to get around the idea that the embryo that was within Mary was God and continued and continues to be God. The Biblical text says that all generations will call Mary blessed because she is the Mother of God. Unfortunately, in reaction the errors of Rome, many Protestants no longer call Mary blessed. We should not pray to her or view her as co-redemptrix but we should recognize the position to which God called her and recognize the high-calling of motherhood. No man could be the Mother of God. There are also profound ethical questions that we must consider when we consider the embryo that was in Mary's womb. The embryo was a person and we must not consider any embryo to be anything less than a person. Jesus did not become Jesus after several weeks or after birth. The person of Jesus existed from the time of conception. Many today would be urging this poor unwed pregnant woman to have an abortion but God exalts her motherhood. Many would consider her pregnancy to be a hindrance to her career but God calls it a blessing--and who could imagine a greater blessing?

From the very beginning of the church there was a general consensus in regards to a belief in the perpetual virginity of Mary and a belief that Jesus was able to pass through without destroying her virginity. For an excellent Biblical and theological defense of this position I direct the reader to Rev. Weedon's Study On the Perpetual Virginity of Mary. The doctrine of the Perpetual Virginity was upheld by most of the Reformers including Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, and Turretin where we often read of the "ever-virgin Mary." The doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary is not as important for what it tells us about Mary as it is for what it tells us about the Lamb and the communication of the attributes. The Lamb was able to pass through and be born without violating the virginity of His mother because the Lamb was fully God.

Luke 1:46-55 And Mary said: "My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. 48 For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. 49 For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name. 50 And His mercy is on those who fear Him From generation to generation. 51 He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. 52 He has put down the mighty from their thrones, And exalted the lowly. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things, And the rich He has sent away empty. 54 He has helped His servant Israel, In remembrance of His mercy, 55 As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and to his seed forever."

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