“Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” Romans 1:1-4
Paul, like other Christian Apostles, makes a strong case for Christ’s eternal position as the Son of God. Paul appealed to Christ’s birth, death and resurrection. Those who claim that Paul never spoke or wrote about the Virgin Birth of Christ apparently missed this verse in Romans 1 where he declares that Jesus Christ was “born of the seed of David according to the flesh.” In his second letter to Timothy, Paul repeated his affirmation of the Virgin Birth – “Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel.” (2 Timothy 2:8) It’s important to note that in both Romans and 2 Timothy, Paul connected Christ’s birth to His resurrection. Both of these truths are at the core of Christianity.
First, the Lord’s birth – “born of the seed of David according to the flesh.”
This doctrine concerning the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ began thousands of years ago when God spoke to Eve in the Garden of Eden – “And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” (Genesis 3:15) Notice that God spoke to Eve about “her” Seed. God did not say anything to Adam about “his” Seed because the Seed God spoke about would not come through man. The Seed would come through a Virgin.
God also spoke to Abraham about this same Seed – “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” (Genesis 22:18) The Apostle Paul made it clear in his letter to the Galatians that the “Seed” God spoke about to Abraham is Christ Jesus our Lord – “Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, ‘And to seeds,’ as of many, but as of one, ‘And to your Seed,’ who is Christ.” (Galatians 3:16)
Paul said that Jesus Christ was born “of the seed of David according to the flesh.” God promised that Israel’s Savior would come through the physical lineage of King David.
“I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever; With my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations. For I have said, ‘Mercy shall be built up forever; Your faithfulness You shall establish in the very heavens.’ ‘I have made a covenant with My chosen, I have sworn to My servant David: ‘Your seed I will establish forever, And build up your throne to all generations.’” Selah” Psalm 89:1-4
“Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David: His seed shall endure forever, And his throne as the sun before Me; It shall be established forever like the moon, Even like the faithful witness in the sky.’ Selah” Psalm 89:35-37
The Apostle Matthew made clear that Christ was the promised Seed of David when he wrote this in his Gospel account:
“So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations. Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.’ So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us.’ Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.” Matthew 1:17-25
Christian historian and apostolic confidant Dr. Luke wrote two of the longest Books of the New Testament. He also made clear in his Gospel account that Jesus was the promised Seed of David, and, as promised in the Old Testament, would rule Israel from the Throne of David.
“Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, ‘Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!’ But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. 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. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.’ Then Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I do not know a man?’ 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. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.’ Then Mary said, ‘Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.’ And the angel departed from her.” Luke 1:26-38
Paul was an Old Testament expert and knew that “the Christ” would come from David’s lineage. He taught early in his ministry that Jesus was “the Christ” from the “seed” of David:
“He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’ From this man’s seed, according to the promise, God raised up for Israel a Savior—Jesus.” Acts 13:22-23
The words “according to the flesh” are important for many important reasons – one of them being that it was through His flesh that the Seed of the woman would bruise (crush) the head of the serpent, even as the serpent would bruise the heel of the Seed. It was through His human flesh that Jesus Christ would be “wounded for our transgressions” and “bruised for our iniquities.”
“Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken. And they made His grave with the wicked—But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.” Isaiah 53
The doctrine of the “flesh” of Jesus Christ has been challenged for centuries. Can we finally put the argument to rest? We’ll see in the next part of our special study about Romans – The Gospel of God.
In Christ’s Love and Grace,
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”