Summary: God's work is always outside the realm of human possibility.
It is absolutely impossible to become a Christian. Down through the years many have tried and have failed most miserably. The problem is people are taught that they can become a Christian anytime they want to. This gives people room to put it off to a “more convenient season.”
Most people confuse Christianity with religion. Christianity is not a religion. Religion can make a person a better person; can help cultivate good morals and ethics. Religion can do a lot of good for people but it cannot deal with the person’s eternal destiny or relationship with Jesus Christ.
Our basic problem is that we always look at things from a human standpoint. We see a problem, or think it’s a problem, and try to come up with a human solution for that problem. We mean well, but some things have no human solution. Becoming a Christian, is the main one.
We live in a society that believes all they have to do is put their mind to it and they can fix anything. The recent massacre of 20 first-graders is an illustration. People, especially politicians, think if they just get their heads together, they can come up with a fix-all solution. How long have men been around? None of these problems have ever or will ever be solved. “Nothing new under the sun,” sighed King Solomon.
Man is not very good with solving moral problems how do you think he would fare with spiritual problems?
In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic, “The Scarlet Letter” the leading character, Hester Prynne, says something rather enlightening towards the end of the novel. In effect, she said after she had taken off her burden, “I didn’t realize how heavy this burden was until I took it off.”
Like Hester Prynne, we have grown accustomed to our burden of sin and forget that it is there.
The Scripture today focuses on the Virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. This brings to the surface some issues demanding our consideration.
God’s work is always outside the realm of human possibility.
Gabriel says to the Virgin Mary, “For nothing will be impossible with God.”
This was an answer to Mary’s logical question, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
Mary presents a very good point. The birth of Jesus Christ as announced by the angel Gabriel was simply impossible. No way could Mary give birth to a child without the intervention of a human father. There has never been, and never will be, a virgin birth since the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let us not just push this aside as simply a miracle with no spiritual application for us today.
God’s work is never limited to man’s strength. Man, cannot dig himself out of his hole. The more he digs, the deeper the hole gets.
“Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:9).
There is no way we can work ourselves out of the mess we are in. The bridge between God and man has been destroyed. It is impossible for man to reach up to God.
This is the weakness of all religion. Religion is trying to reach God through works and personal merit. We all fall short of the glory of God.
Why is the Virgin birth such an important doctrine for us today? Some have totally blown it out of proportion that the essence of truth in this doctrine is marginalized. As Protestants, we somewhat shy away from this because of the abuse others have given this doctrine.
There are two aspects of this that I want to outline for us today. The first would be God entering into our world, and the second would be God entering into our life. Both of these represent human impossibilities.
Let’s look to see what Gabriel said to Mary.
In verses 26 through 33, the angel Gabriel announces to Mary that she will conceive and have a son and she shall call his name Jesus. It is one of the most amazing announcements in all of history.
Mary questions it in verse 34, “And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
I first need to compare this with Zachariah’s query in verse 18. “And Zachariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.”
Zachariah should have remembered the story of Abraham and Sarah and even Jacob and Rachel.
Zachariah is questioning the possibility. “How can we do it?”
Mary is questioning the impossibility. “How can God do it?”
Not only is this an impossibility from a human standpoint, but it is also something that cannot be explained to other people. Mary will always have to bear the shame of an illegitimate birth. Nobody believes the impossible. Everyone needs an explanation that they can understand.