THAT HOLY THING
Luke 1:26 ¶ And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. 30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. 31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. 34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
We learn from these very words of our Lord Jesus himself that his Incarnation is the pattern of our regeneration. John 6:57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. Therefore we can look into our text verses which set forth his become flesh and dwelling among us to see the pattern of our individual regeneration and lifestyle.
The first thing we learn is that this took place solely upon God’s initiative. We see in our verse twenty-nine that Mary was troubled when she saw Gabriel. Therefore the first words from his mouth, as with Zacharias in verse thirteen of this same chapter, were, “Fear not.” For the sinner being so immediately and sovereignly born by the Holy Spirit is in bewilderment at his instantaneous spiritual resurrection, as was Mary at Gabriel’s sudden appearance. John 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
Prior to his spiritual birth the sinner is “dead in trespasses and sins.” Therefore he, being darkness, (Ephesians 5:8), must have the Spirit of God to move upon him, having God give the Word to command the light of life to shine upon him. Genesis 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. 3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
And these same words, (“Fear not”), spoken to Zacharias were the first recorded words spoken by God since the four hundred years of silence at the ending of the Old Testament. And that last word was “curse” as recorded in Malachi 4:6. What a welcomed relief it is when the Lord brings forth the Word, who brings faith into the heart! John 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
And as the word to dead Lazarus, it must be so sovereignly effectual as to give the ability to the spiritually dead sinner to first hear and then also to comply! Matthew 11:15 He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Then in verse thirty we see that God’s messenger used a Greek word, here translated, “found favor,” which is the exact same Greek word translated “grace” in one of our most familiar verses having to do with our salvation. Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. Mary, like Noah, had found grace and favor in the eyes of the Lord. Genesis 6:8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. That is, God looked upon them with favor in his gaze.
And we see in verse thirty-one that the Lord sovereignly took rule over Mary’s body, but only instructing her of that which he intended to accomplish. The Apostle Paul speaks of this in his own regenerating experience. Galatians 1:15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, 16 To reveal his Son in me, … 4:19 My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,
Consider these verses regarding the spiritually dead sinner being totally acted upon by the determination of God: Ephesians 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. 4 ¶ But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
And then we read of Mary’s inquiry in verse thirty-four. But this was not like Nicodemus’ doubtful question of John 3:9, nor of Zacharias’ as listed in verse eighteen of this first chapter of Luke. For she was just expressing the blessedness of her spiritual hunger for righteousness. This is but an evidence of the spiritual birth! Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
For the Lord’s commission to his messengers was two fold. First, they were to provide the gospel to every creature. Then they were to “Teach them to observe.” Just as the church first had to roll away the stone from Lazarus’ tomb, and then to “Loose him and let him go.” Only Christ, by the Holy Spirit can call forth the sinner from death unto life, but the church can then provide the truth to set them free. John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. 2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
And we notice that Zacharias’ mouth was involved in his doubting heart. Luke 1:20 And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season. And so is every awakened sinner’s mouth involved in the assurance of his salvation! Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. That is, to the assurance of a full and complete salvation.
For there will never be the strength of assurance within the believer’s heart without his mouth’s confession of his reliance upon his Lord. And not to do so will also be of disastrous and eternal consequences. Matthew 10:32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
And this doctrine of entering the kingdom of righteousness by birth is not exclusive to the New Testament. For we can find it being set forth by God in the writings of Isaiah. Isaiah 66:9 Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the LORD: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God. 10 Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her: 11 That ye may suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations; that ye may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory. 12 For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees.
It was also clearly noted that the child being born was God giving his Son to us. For he states that the child being born is but the Son being given. Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
And it was even prophesied these hundreds of years prior that He was to be given for a virgin to birth him. Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Both the Incarnation and the sinner’s regeneration are of great mysteries. Both involve “That Holy Thing” to be formed in the flesh of mankind. 1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,…
Colossians 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: John 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
Even the Lord’s instruction to the disciples concerning his ascension was given to them regarding the birth. John 16:21 A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. 22 And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.
Pastor Gene Breed
October 13, 2023