Mary’s virginity is extremely important within Christianity. It is a confirmed fact that Mary was a virgin when she conceived Jesus (Luke 1:26-38). It was the work of the Holy Spirit that enabled Mary to conceive Jesus in her womb.
Jesus was not the result of a typical union between a man and a woman. The virginity of Mary is vitally important to Christianity, the life of Jesus, and the proclamations Jesus spoke. If Mary was not a virgin, Jesus would not have been the Son of God.
The Significance of Mary’s Virginity
Mary’s virginity should not be overlooked by biblical scholars or Christians across the globe. The conception of Jesus in Mary’s womb was done by the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35-38).
If Jesus had been born in the traditional manner of a union between a man and a woman, He would have been born into sin like the rest of mankind. Ever since the fall of mankind, there has been sin in the world. Every human being is born into sin and every human being freely commits sin (Romans 5:12-14).
The only person to not have been born into sin is Jesus Himself because He was not the result of a union between a man and a woman. Jesus was not born into sin, and He never sinned throughout His entire life (1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5; Hebrews 4:15). It is only because Jesus was sinless that He was able to be the propitiation for our sins.
The Father requires ultimate perfection. Only by Jesus’ sinless life could He be the propitiation for our sins. Jesus is the sinless lamb who was offered in order to redeem mankind from our sins. If Jesus had been born into sin, then Jesus could not have saved us from our sins.
Similarly, if Mary had not been a virgin and had actually been unfaithful to Joseph, Jesus would have been just an illegitimate child and not the Savior of the world. Mary’s virginity is extremely important because it attests to Jesus being the Son of God and His sinlessness.
Mary herself was a sinner; however, Jesus was not because He was not born into sin, nor did He commit sins during His life. This is because Jesus is God in the flesh (John 1:1). The Lord was tempted during His earthly life, but He never gave in to sin (Hebrews 4:15).
Satan tried to tempt Jesus many times to sin; however, Jesus always defeated temptation (Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13). If Jesus had just been born out of unfaithfulness, He would not have been the Savior of the world. Thankfully, Mary was a virgin when she conceived Christ and He was born as the sinless Savior of mankind.
A Different Approach
Over time, there have been many oppositions to Mary’s virginity as some feminists believe it deprives women of sexuality, passion, leadership, and courage. The distortion of the importance of Mary’s virginity has been seen within Catholic circles as well in feminist circles.
As stated by feminist writer, Dorothy Ann Lee, “The ever-Virgin diminishes women’s sexuality and makes the female body and female sexuality seem unwholesome, impure” (Ibid.). Over time, many have believed that the aspect of Mary’s virginity had strong patriarchal overtures and robbed Mary of her passion and sexuality.
This is a distorted view of the person of Mary. As previously stated, Mary saw it as a great privilege to carry the Lord in her womb. There were not any patriarchal influences on Mary carrying Jesus. The virgin birth of Christ did not distort Mary’s own personhood, nor did it diminish her own unique being.
The Catholic Church has elevated Mary to an unattainable standard of purity and sinlessness. This is erroneous teaching as Mary was not sinless and she did not remain a virgin her entire life. After Mary gave birth to Jesus, she had other sons and daughters who were conceived with Joseph (Mark 6:3).
The Bible tells us Mary had relations with Joseph after the virgin birth of Jesus — not before (Matthew 1:25). Catholicism advocates for the absolute purity of the virgin Mary; however, she was only a virgin during her time carrying Jesus. After she had given birth to Jesus, she had several natural children with Joseph.
Much of the distortion of Mary’s sexuality has been raised by the Catholic Church. Mary did not remain a virgin as Catholicism teaches. The teaching of the “perpetual virginity” of Mary does not agree with the Word of God. There was nothing wrong with Mary having relations with Joseph after they were married.
Sexual intercourse is not a sin between a married man and a married woman. It is not biblical for the Catholic Church to teach young women to strive and follow after the “perpetual virginity” of Mary. It did not take any of Mary’s worth away when she was no longer a virgin after she had relations with Joseph.
In the same way, when women get married and have relations with their husbands or even before marriage, it does not mean their worth is diminished once they lose their virginity. A person’s worth is not based on their virginity or purity. Every person’s worth is found in Christ alone.
Once a person places faith in Jesus, they are given fullness in Christ (Colossians 2:9-10). The belief endorsed by the Catholic Church has twisted the importance of Mary’s virginity in order to keep women down throughout history to define women's sexuality.
It is not a sin for a woman to have relations with her husband as Mary had relations with her husband after they were married. When individuals try to misuse the virginity of Mary, they need to be corrected and instructed in the truth of God’s Word.
Mary was a virgin when she conceived Jesus; however, after she gave birth to Jesus, she had sex with her husband. The virgin birth was important because the Son of God could not be born into sin. By Jesus being born to a virgin also attested to Jesus being the Son of God. No mere man could be born to a virgin.
Why Does This Matter?
Only the Son of God could be born to a virgin. Jesus’ birth is unique as there has never been another person born through the conception of the Holy Spirit. This is because Jesus is God in the flesh, and He was being born into the world to redeem mankind from our sins.
Mary’s virginity is important because it also demonstrates Jesus was in fact the long-awaited Messiah spoken of through the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 7:14). The Jewish leaders were well-equipped with the scriptures; thus, they knew Jesus had fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies concerning His birth, and later His death and resurrection.
Mary’s virginity is extremely important as it testifies to the truth of Jesus Christ. She was a young girl when she conceived Jesus by the Holy Spirit and her life teaches us much about bravery, faithfulness, and loyalty.
However, the Christmas story is not about Mary — it is about Jesus. During this Christmas season, reflect on the wonder, amazement, and awe of Jesus’ birth into the world through the virgin Mary.
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Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.