Was Mary, the mother of Jesus, without sin?

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Mary was undoubtedly a godly woman (Luke 1:28). But the Catholic Church teaches that she was not just godly but without sin (Catechism of the Catholic Church -1994, 491-Mahwah, NY: Paulist Press). The Bible teaches that all humans have sinned before God. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23, emp. added). It is clear that the word “all” includes Mary.

Humanity became the recipient of the consequences of Adam’s sin (i.e., death). Paul wrote: “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12). And Paul agreed with the psalmist’s statement: “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10; cf. Psalms 14:3; 53:1-3).

The Bible does not teach that Mary was sinless rather it teaches that Jesus Christ is the only Person who was not infected by sin (Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:23; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5). The apostle Paul confirms: “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

Therefore, Mary, like any other human being, needed a Savior to take away her sins. And Mary herself acknowledged this great truth, i.e., that all have sinned and are in need of a Savior when she declared: “And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior” (Luke 1:47, emp. added).

This fits with what the angel told Joseph about Mary: “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21, emp. added). Jesus came to save mankind from the bondage of sin. If Mary lived without committing sin as the Catholics teach, it follows that she would not have needed a Savior. But instead she referred to God as her “Savior.”

Mary was merely a human vessel chosen by the Creator for bearing His Son and she clearly understood this point when she accepted God’s role for her life saying: “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38, emp. added).

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In His service,
BibleAsk Team


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