Was Mary Sinless?

Q. I was having a talk with my pastor about the belief that Mary was sinless, a view as you know held by Catholics as declared by the ineffable God decree of 1854 and the idea of the Immaculate Conception of Mary.

I was wondering if you thought that a person who believes Mary was sinless can also be a Christian. Does the view of Mary being sinless take away from Christ’s glory? Ineffable God does stress that Mary remained sinless by the power of God and not by her own deeds, however does this even change anything?

A. To be sinless, Mary would have to have born without a sin nature, which we apparently inherit from our human fathers. That means she like her Son, would have to have been born of a virgin who was supernaturally impregnated. There’s no indication of that anywhere in Scripture. Jesus was the only sinless human ever born. In my opinion, trying to equate Mary with Jesus does diminish the Lord’s glory because it takes away from His uniqueness.

Salvation is based on the belief that Jesus died for our sins, not that He was the only sinless person. As long as a person doesn’t elevate Mary to the position of participating with Jesus in our salvation (the co-redemptrix view) I think that seeing her as sinless is no worse than any other incorrect theological position. While wrong, it’s not a salvation issue.

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