These are the common questions from protestants:Sin is a universal human problem..Bible identifies Jesus as the sinless One, not Mary:
"For he hath made him (Jesus) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." 2 Corinthians 5:21
(Romans 3:9-10) - "What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; 10as it is written, "There is none righteous, not even one."
(Romans 3:23) - "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
(Psalm 14:3) - "They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one."
But the scripture hath concluded all under sin..." Galatians 3:22 .Mary knew she needed a Savior ."And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour." Luke 1:46-47
For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not." Ecclesiastes 7:20 "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:" Romans 5:12
When we are baptized, sin goes out and GOD comes in. Baptism to remove sin and allow GOD to come in was not instituted until after Jesus had started His ministry (John 3:22-23, 4:2).
So The Blessed Virgin had to have a stainless sin-free body and soul in order for GOD incarnate to dwell within her "Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in Him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.
This verse is often cited as teaching that "genuine" believers will not practice sin. They will not sin habitually, 1 John 3:9 is said to teach.
(Job 1:1) - "There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job, and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God, and turning away from evil."
(Genesis 7:1) - "Then the Lord said to Noah, "Enter the ark, you and all your household; for you alone I have seen to be righteous before Me in this time."
(Luke 1:5-6) - "In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah; and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6And they were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord."
The Bible clearly teaches that all people have sinned -- except Jesus (1 Peter 2:22).
Romans 3:23 clearly condemns all under sin. But when it mentions people like Job, Noah, Zacharias, and Elizabeth as people who were "blameless" and "righteous" it is not saying that they are not sinners. It is saying that they were godly people, who kept the commandments of God and in that sense, they were righteous. But of course, we realize that no one can keep the commandments of God perfectly which is why all people are deserving of damnation (Eph. 2:3) and why we need a savior. If righteousness can come through the Law, then Christ died needlessly (Gal. 2:21).
The Immaculate Conception means the Blessed Virgin Mary was conceived and born without original sin. However this verse does not even address 'Original Sin', which is imputed to almost all of mankind by the sin of Adam and Eve. I said almost all, simply because a few did not have original sin imputed to them, namely Adam, Eve, Jesus Christ, and the New Eve, Blessed Mary.
Romans 3:23 addresses only the sins that we commit of our own free will.
Are there any exceptions to the word 'All'?
What about Jesus Christ? Did He in His humanity ever sin?
What about babies and those with a mental retardation who have no reasoning power? Have they sinned? Have children below the age of reason sinned? Have comatose and senile people sinned? As you can see, there are exceptions.
Luke 1:6, regarding Zachary and Elizabeth, the parents of John the Baptist, "Both were just before GOD, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord".
Luke 1:15, regarding John the Baptist, "For he shall be great before the Lord; he shall drink no wine or strong drink, and shall be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mothers womb".
Do these verses sound as if Zachary, Elizabeth, and John the Baptist have sinned?
You can readily see that there are many exceptions to the term 'All have sinned'. Since I have shown there are many exceptions to the word 'ALL', why then should anyone not allow one more exception, the Mother of GOD?
The Greek word, 'PAS', meaning 'ALL', can have different meanings as shown in other verses of Holy Scripture.
John 12:19, "The entire world has gone after him!" Did everyone in the entire world really go after Christ?
Mt 3:5-6, "Then went out to Him Jerusalem, and ALL Judea, and ALL the region about the Jordan; and they were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins."
Were all of the people of Judea, and the region about the Jordan baptized?
The phrase 'the whole world', does not really mean everybody in the world. The words 'whole world' and 'all' are used in several different senses of Scripture, and seldom do they literally mean all persons.
Rom 11:26, "ALL Israel shall be saved." We know for certain that 'ALL' in Israel will not be saved.
Rom 15:14, "...you yourselves are full of love, filled with 'ALL' knowledge..." Here we know for sure that the only person filled with 'ALL' knowledge is GOD Himself.
The Greek word 'pas' in many verses in Scripture simply means a 'great number', or 'a lot'. Since there are exceptions for Jesus Christ, and for others as shown above, the meaning could be seen as, 'ALL are subject to sin'. In the case of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a prevention of sin was brought about by a special grace from GOD.
“.... the whole world has gone after him” [John 12:19 ] Did all the world go after Christ?
“then went all Judea, and were baptized of him in Jordan.” [Matt. 3: 5-6] Was all Judea, or all Jerusalem, baptized in Jordan?
“Ye are of God, little children”, and the whole world lieth in the wicked one”. [1 John 5:19] Does the whole world there mean everybody?
The words are generally used to signify that Christ has redeemed some of all sorts -- some Jews, some Gentiles, some rich, some poor, and has not restricted His redemption to either Jew or Gentile ...
. Grace saves us.
. Grace gives us the power to be holy and righteous and without sin.
Therefore, for a person to be full of grace is to both be saved and to be exceptionally, completely holy. Thus we might re-apply the above two propositions as follows:
1. To be full of the grace which saves is to surely be saved.
2. To be full of the grace which gives us the power to be holy and righteous and without sin, is to be fully without sin, by that same grace.
Or, we could make the following deductive argument, with premises (#1 and #2) derived directly from Scripture:
1. The Bible teaches that we are saved by God's grace.
2. The Bible teaches that we need God's grace to live a holy life, above sin.
3. To be "full of" God's grace, then, is to be saved.
4. Therefore, Mary is saved.
5. To be "full of" God's grace is also to be so holy that one is sinless.
6. Therefore, Mary is holy and sinless.
7. The essence of the Immaculate Conception is sinlessness.
How could Mary be sinless when she sinned at Cana (John 2:3-4)? Jesus granted Mary's compassionate request that He help the young couple (John 2:5-11). The Bible says that God does not grant sinful requests (John 9:31; James 4:3), so her request could not have been sinful.
But she did sin in asking Jesus to reveal Himself publically before His time. That is not a sin, otherwise anyone throughout history who longed for the Second Coming would have been guilty of a sinful desire! Besides, Mary is not omniscient; she did not know it was not yet time. She was essentially asking Jesus "Perhaps this is a good opportunity for you to reveal yourself publically?". When He indicated it was not she did push for it, but arranged for the miracle to be performed in secret. Had she disobeyed his wish to keep it quiet, she would have been sinning! The fact that she did not further shows that she is submissive to the will of God.
Didn't Mary lose her faith in Jesus during His ministry (Mk 3:21, 31)? The text does not say that, and the very notion is absurd. Here is why:
Mary had seen an angel from heaven, who told her that she would bear a Son without having relations with a man. She knew such a thing was naturally impossible (Luke 1:34), yet she believed and it happened to her! This was clearly a miracle of God, which she experienced in her own body!
Based solely on the angel's message, she went to visit her cousin Elizabeth. There she found that Elizabeth was pregnant, as the angel had said - a confirmation of his words. Then Elizabeth suddenly prophesied, displaying knowledge of Mary's pregnancy and the identity of her Child which she could not have known except by divine revelation. Another clear miracle! Mary praised God for this wonder (Luke 1:46-53), in words which are full of faith in Him.
Mary's betrothed, Joseph, then had this miraculous dream revealing to him the divine nature of her pregnancy - yet another confirmation from God for Mary! She heard the shepherds tell of how they saw myrads of angels singing praises at Jesus' birth. She marvelled at Simeon's prophecy of Jesus' future. She never forgot any of these wonders; the Bible clearly states that she "treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart" (Lk 2:17; 51).
She saw the Wise Men come from a distant land to adore her Son, drawn by a mysterious star. She witnessed firsthand the fulfillment of every Messianic prophecy in her Son. She lived with God Incarnate for thirty years; prayed with Him daily and talked with Him of heavenly things for three whole decades!!!
She even instigated His first miracle at Cana, and witnessed Him change common water into the finest wine.
After all that, how could she possibly lose faith in Him?
Mark 3:31 may refer to His other relatives (but see Objection #6 below) who did not believe in Him during His ministry (Jn 7:5). They had not witnessed all these miracles or received the divine revelations, as Mary did. In contrast to them, Our Lady is the exemplar of discipleship. She did not always completely understand the ways of God (Lk 1:34; 2:33, 50), but she pondered them in her heart and clung to her faith, even at the foot of the Cross. She followed her Son till the very end, and is numbered among His followers in the Upper Room at Pentecost (Acts 1:14).
Mary was Jesus' Mother; she knew Him better than anyone other human being. She did not - could not - lose faith in Him after all that God had done in her life. Though others doubted, Mary never stopped believing in her Son; she knew Him too well!
I still believe Mark 3:21 clearly shows that Mary did lose faith in her Son, along with the rest of His family. Here is what Mark 3:21 actually says:
"And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself". (KJV) -OR-
'And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for people were saying, "He is beside himself."' (RSV)
This verse does not say "His Mother said he was beside himself", nor that she lost her faith. In fact there is no explicit reference to Jesus' Mother in Mark 3:21 at all. She was not the only member of His family! Scripture does not "clearly" show any alleged sin on her part at all. This argument appears to be as follows: Jesus' family said He was crazy, His Mother is a member of His family, ergo His Mother must have said He is crazy. But this is a logical fallacy.
The Bible elsewhere tells us that, when Jesus was arrested in Gethsemane, "All the disciples forsook him and fled" (Matthew 26:56, Mark 14:50).
So if we apply your logic here, we could say "All of Jesus' disciples forsook Him, St. John was one of those disciples, therefore St. John forsook Him as well". But the Bible tells us that John, the beloved disciple, was at the foot of the Cross (John 19:26-27). He evidently did not go into hiding with the other Apostles.
So such reasoning just does not work. A general statement about a group of people does not always apply to every member of the group. There can be exceptions, such as St. John among the Apostles, and, I would submit, the Blessed Virgin among Jesus' relatives. Unlike the rest of His relatives, she knew Who He was, and so could never have thought He had lost His mind.
His mother and brothers were only human; they did not believe in Him because they did not understand at the time what God was doing in their son or brother's life. Why, if one apostle betrayed him, the others deserted him and his own hometown rejected him, should his family be any different? But of course he did have one faithful Apostle, St. John, and even though His cousins didn't believe in Him at first (John 7:5), He had one family member who remained faithful all along: His Mother. She had a better understanding of God's plan than the rest of His family because of the Annunciation, Visitation, etc.
But if his own family thought him insane; then we can assume that perhaps his parents, the heads of the family, had lost faith in Him at some point. No, we cannot assume that. Other family members could well have acted without Mary's support.
Also, if you go back to the original Greek text of Mark 3:21, you will find that St. Mark did not use the Greek word for "kinsman" (suggenes), or "family" (patria) or even "household" ("oikeios" or "oikianos") to refer to those who went to seize Jesus. Instead, he uses the phrase "hoi par autou", which literally means "those with him". This term refers to ones companions, not specifically to relatives.
This is why, if you look up Mark 3:21 in different Bible translations, you'll see that many call them Jesus' "friends" or "his own people" rather than "relatives" or "family". This is because the original Greek does not specify relatives.
So those who came to get Jesus may not have even been His family! I think the translators who render "hoi par' autou" as "family" or "relatives" are assuming that vs 21 is related to the events in vvs 31-35. That need not be the case.
But what if that were the case? Well, even if "those with Him" were His relatives, and were the same group mentioned in verse 31-35, it still does not prove that Mary did not believe in Jesus. She may have gone along, not because she approved of their actions, but to try to keep the situation calm, to reconcile this family squabble by offering guidance and restraint, lest it got out of hand.
Nowhere does the Bible say that Mary ever lost her faith in her Son. You could search the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you would never find a verse saying "even His mother did not believe in Him". Considering all she knew about His identity and mission, to think that she could lose faith in Him is absurd. His other relatives, however, had not been present at the Annunciation, Visitation, Nativity, etc., so they did not have as full knowledge as she had. This explains their unbelief.
You are reading too much into these verses by insisting that Mary thought her Son, Whom she knew beyond doubt was the Messiah, had lost His mind. They say nothing of the sort!
But didn't she lose her faith at Calvary (John 19:25-27)? There is no evidence whatsoever of that in Scripture. In fact her courage to stand at the foot of the Cross seems to indicate the opposite. You are again reading too much into this passage.
The Bible does not say that Jesus appeared first to His relatives after His Resurrection. But He did eventually appear to his brother James, and on the Day of Pentecost His mother and brothers were among His followers in the Upper Room. This seems to indicate that His whole family came to believe in Jesus only after His Death and Resurrection. Yet Mary was present at the foot of the Cross with those who believed in Him. This shows that she had faith in Him even in that dark hour.
Jesus didn't only appear to people who believed in Him; He appeared to St. Thomas the Apostle, though he didn't believe that Christ had risen (John 20:24-29). St. Matthew, recounting one of His post-resurrection appearances, writes: "And when they saw him they worshiped him; but some doubted." (Mt 28:17). So Jesus did not make faith in Him a prerequisite for post-resurrection appearances.
So why did the Church Fathers say that she sinned at Cana and/or the Cross? Not all of them taught that; many of the Fathers taught that she was sinless, such as Sts. Augustine, Ambrose and Ephraim the Syrian. As for the few who did, that was their personal opinion; it was never the official teaching of the Church.
It's not fair that everyone else has to struggle against the flesh but Mary is spared! I am sure that every Christian wishes she or he did not have to deal with sin, so it is understandable that some might be tempted to jealousy over Mary's prerogative or think it "unfair". Yet we should resist that temptation, for jealousy over the spiritual state of another is itself a sin-perhaps the worst infraction of the Tenth Commandment!
Is God "unfair" in preserving Mary and not us? "O man, who art thou that repliest against God?...Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor?" (Romans 9:20-21). This passage refers to God's dealings with Israel and the Church, yet it applies in this case as well. God can do as He wills with us and we have no right to question Him. If He chooses to exempt one human being from all sin - original and actual - by the merits of Jesus, He has every right to do so.
Was Mary free from temptation as well? That is highly doubtful. If Jesus Christ, the God-Man, had to endure temptation, surely Mary, a mere creature, was not spared. Surely the Devil, who tempted the first Eve, tried the New Eve as well. Yet unlike her foremother, Mary always relied on God's grace to resist, so she never gave in. This is not impossible (I Co 10:13). Adam and Eve did not have to disobey God; they could have resisted, but did not. Mary, by her reliance on God, triumphed where her forebears had failed.
As mentioned above, Mary most likely did not know that she was sinless. She may have experienced periods of spiritual dryness as we all do, and feared that she had somehow offended God (when in reality God was simply testing her faithfulness). She loved God with all her heart, soul, mind and strength, so she greatly feared offending Him. Therefore her sinlessness does not necessarily rule out temptation and spiritual struggle.
When God spoke to the serpent in Eden He said "I will make you enemies of each other: you and the woman, your offspring and her offspring. It will crush your head and you will strike its heel" (Gen. 3:15). The one referred to who will crush Satan (the serpent) and be attacked by him, must surely be Christ. He is also the child of the woman referred to by God, and in this respect Mary is called the New Eve. The enmity between Christ and Satan is complete and absolute, and the passage suggests that the enmity God put between the woman and Satan would be similar. The vision of the woman clothed with the sun (Rev. 12), who bore a son who was to rule all nations with an iron sceptre, can also be applied to Mary. This chapter relates her epic struggle with the devil, and how she was taken to a place of safety which God had prepared for her. She is protected from being swept away by the devil. This implies sinlessness. "We know that anyone who has been begotten by God does not sin., because the begotten Son of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him" (l Jn. 5:18). Mary and the devil were complete opposites, and the enmity that existed between them could not be, unless she was preserved from sin. "To lead a sinful life is to belong to the devil, since the devil was a sinner from the beginning" (1 Jn. 3:8).
To save Mary from ever sinning was an even greater mercy, which only God could bestow. It is true that Mary too required a Saviour. She was still a member of a fallen race and, like all descendants of Adam, she was by her nature subject to the necessity of contracting original sin. But by a special intervention of God, at her conception, she was preserved from the stain of original sin, possessed of grace at every instant She was therefore redeemed by the Saviour, but in a special way, by anticipation: by prevention rather than cure. In rejoicing in the God who had saved her, Mary herself anticipates the Redemption of the Cross. In the earlier verses (1 :39-45), Luke describes the visitation of Mary to her relative Elizabeth, and the sanctification of John the Baptist. At the approach of Mary, the child John leapt in his mother's womb and she was filled with the Holy Spirit, (cf. Lk. 1: 15), a sign that he had been freed from the burden of sin by her pure presence. Elizabeth then exclaims: "of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honoured with a visit from the Mother of my Lord?" If the Baptist's mother had been granted such a privilege from the visit of the mother of her Lord, then the Virgin Mary must surely have been granted a greater one.
But "all have sinned " only means that all are subject to original sin. Mary was spared from original sin by God, not herself. The popular analogy is God let us fall in the mud puddle, and cleaned us up afterward through baptism. In Mary's case, God did not let her enter the mud puddle.
Rom. 3:23 - "all have sinned" also refers only to those able to commit sin. This is not everyone. For example, infants, the retarded, and the senile cannot sin.
Rom. 3:23 - finally, "all have sinned," but Jesus must be an exception to this rule. This means that Mary can be an exception as well. Note that the Greek word for all is "pantes."
1 Cor. 15:22 - in Adam all ("pantes") have died, and in Christ all ("pantes") shall live. This proves that "all" does not mean "every single one." This is because not all have died (such as Enoch and Elijah who were taken up to heaven), and not all will go to heaven (because Jesus said so).
Rom. 5:12 - Paul says that death spread to all ("pantes") men. Again, this proves that "all" does not mean "every single one" because death did not spread to all men (as we have seen with Enoch and Elijah).
Rom. 5:19 - here Paul says "many (not all) were made sinners." Paul uses "polloi," not "pantes." Is Paul contradicting what he said in Rom. 3:23? Of course not. Paul means that all are subject to original sin, but not all reject God.
Rom. 3:10-11 - Protestants also use this verse to prove that all human beings are sinful and thus Mary must be sinful. But see Psalm 14 which is the basis of the verse.
Psalm 14 - this psalm does not teach that all humans are sinful. It only teaches that, among the wicked, all are sinful. The righteous continue to seek God.
Psalm 53:1-3 - "there is none that does good" expressly refers to those who have fallen away. Those who remain faithful do good, and Jesus calls such faithful people "good."
Luke 18:19 - Jesus says, "No one is good but God alone." But then in Matt. 12:35, Jesus also says "The good man out of his good treasure..." So Jesus says no one is good but God, and then calls another person good.
Rom. 9:11 - God distinguished between Jacob and Esau in the womb, before they sinned. Mary was also distinguished from the rest of humanity in the womb by being spared by God from original sin.
Luke 1:47 - Mary calls God her Savior. Some Protestants use this to denigrate Mary. Why? Of course God is Mary's Savior! She was freed from original sin in the womb (unlike us who are freed from sin outside of the womb), but needed a Savior as much as the rest of humanity.
Luke 1:48 - Mary calls herself lowly. But any creature is lowly compared to God. For example, in Matt. 11:29, even Jesus says He is lowly in heart. Lowliness is a sign of humility, which is the greatest virtue of holiness, because it allows us to empty ourselves and receive the grace of God to change our sinful lives.