Immaculate Conception of The Blessed Virgin Mary
Mary is a role model for all other Christians still here on earth. The manifestation of the power of God’s grace in her life is to give us hope. Seeing sin in others, and more distressingly seeing it in ourselves can be very discouraging. Fighting the ongoing battle with a particular sin that seems to have a hold over us can be depressing . However, Mary was saved from sin in a spectacular way to give us an example that encourages us to trust in the tremendous power of God.
Although the Bible does not explicitly teach the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in her mother, Saint Anne’s, womb it does imply it. However, the Bible is not explicit on several doctrinal issues, such as the Trinity, and that there are two natures in the one person Jesus Christ as well as the extent of the canon of the Bible. The word Trinity for example is not even found in the Bible, but of course it is a true doctrine.
We can see that at least at the time of the Annunciation Mary is without sin. This is evident by the words that the Angel Gabriel speaks to Mary in Luke 1:28. The Angel, a messenger, is not speaking his own words, rather he is delivering God’s message to her. He says in Luke 1: 28 "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women." In the Greek the word for "full of grace" is "kecharitomene." She is full of grace so there is no room for sin in her.
The word "kecharitomene" is a perfect passive participle of the verb "charitoo."
Some have argued that this says nothing unique about Mary since Saint Stephen, just before he is martyred for the faith, is said to be full of grace in Acts 6:8. However a different word form is used to describe Saint Stephen. In the Greek the conjugated form of "charitoo" that is used to describe him is "charitos" not "kecharitomene" that is used in reference to Mary.
Some who oppose the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception have attempted to argue that the use of the verb "charitoo" in Luke 1:28 says nothing special about Mary since this same verb, although in a *different* form, is used to refer to all Christians in Ephesians 1:6.
However, Luke 1:28 uses a special conjugated form of "charitoo." It uses "kecharitomene," while Ephesians 1:6 uses "echaritosen," which is a different form of the verb "charitoo." Echaritosen means "he graced (bestowed grace.) Echaritosen signifies a momentary action, an action brought to pass. (Blass and DeBrunner, Greek Grammar of the New Testament, p.166.) Whereas, Kecharitomene, the perfect passive participle, shows a completeness with a with permanent result. Kecharitomene denotes continuance of a completed action (H. W. Smyth, Greek Grammar (
It might help to consider other instances of the perfect tense being used.
Another example of a verb used in the perfect tense is the word "is" in
John 19:30 "It is finished."
The work of the redemption is complete and forever enduring.
Examples of the perfect participle are the following:
The word "beloved" in
Ephesians 1:6 " … for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved." Jesus is perfectly and enduringly loved by His Father.
The word "Blessed" in
Luke 1:42 "… Blessed is the fruit of your womb." Jesus is perfectly and endlessly blessed by God the Father.
Therefore, Luke 1:28 points to Mary being without sin. So, at this point the only question is at what point in her life is Mary made without sin.
This doctrine of the Immaculate Conception can be found in what God says to Satan in Genesis 3:15.
Genesis 3:14-15 "And the LORD God said unto the serpent … I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." KJV
Identity of the Woman
All Christians agree that this is a prophecy about the Messiah, Jesus Christ, coming to strike the head of the serpent, Satan. - Actually the Hebrew word that is translated as "seed" is being used in a very unusual way. Normally it applies to the male, but here it is being used in reference to a woman. It is referring to Jesus’s birth through the Virgin Mary. - So, looking back at this Scripture we should appropriately ask ourselves, of which woman’s seed was He born ? The answer of course is Mary. Jesus even goes on to identify Mary as the "Woman" in John 2:4 , 19:26, and also see Revelation 12: 1, 5.
Mary as "woman." See endnote # 1.
It is important to note that the creation of the enmity between Satan and the woman is not something that the woman does, rather it is what God does, and He does it in the most perfect way. Unfortunately some Christians in their misguided attempts to defend the glory of God actually insult Him by denying Him the credit that is due for this miraculous work He did in Mary.
Enmity is a determined, enduring and extreme hostility that exists between enemies.
Every Christian once in heaven will be perfected by God’s grace. However, only of Mary, and of "her seed," which is Jesus Christ, is it said that there will be enmity between them and Satan. Since Jesus is God and since holiness is an aspect of His Nature, he has that enmity by nature. Where as with Mary, she has it as a gift.
If there had ever been a time when Mary was under Satan’s domination through personal or original sin, then there would not be a real enmity between her and Satan. Therefore, by virtue of the grace He gave her, God put Mary in opposition to Satan from the beginning and throughout her life. Notice that God the Father says that *He will put* the enmity between her and Satan. Only in God, and by His gift of grace, also in Mary, can it be said that there is enmity with Satan because only in them is their entire life opposed to Satan.
Therefore, since Mary had an enmity between her and Satan, and even though she was a descendant of Adam and would have contracted Original Sin, she was saved from the stain of it by the merits of Jesus Christ from the first moment of her life.
Exodus 20:12 "Honor your father and your mother …"
Jesus came to earth and fulfilled the Old Testament Law perfectly and completely. And this Law is especially manifested in the Ten Commandments. Now, the fourth commandment says that He is called to honor His Father and His mother. However, to allow His mother to participate in the Fall would be to allow her to be dishonored. If He is to honor her, then He can not allow this.
Another point to consider is that Jesus is the only person who was able to chose His own mother. He was able to chose the holiest human woman. And being a perfect Son, He loved His mother more than any other son. And being a loving Son, He would not want His mother to spend one second in Satan’s domination.
Psalm 84:12 " … God, bestowing all grace and glory.
The LORD withholds no good thing from those who walk without reproach."
Mary as "woman" in John 2:4 , 19:26, and Revelation 12: 1, 5. is a coincidence and does not imply a connection with Genesis 3:15.
Context : The Key To Understanding The Significance Of "Woman"
This is the Word of God. There are no coincidences in God’s holy Word. The significance of these passages point to a deeper meaning than just casual conversation.
John 18:4-6 "Jesus, knowing everything that was going to happen to him, went out and said to them, ‘Whom are you looking for ?’ They answered him, "Jesus the Nazorean." He said to them, ‘I AM.’ … When he said to them, "I AM," they turned away and fell to the ground."
The words "I am" are found in very many passages of the Bible. But, here they have a special significance because this is God’s own name. Cf. Exodus 3:14 The chief priests and temple guards are coming to battle against God Himself. God created the universe with just speaking His Word. Jesus, who is the Word of God, speaks His Name and this causes them to fall down.
The special timing and context of these passages point to a special meaning for these words. This is not casual or incidental conversation. Mary is identified as the "Woman" in John 2:4 at the beginning of Jesus ministry with the working of His first Miracle. Mary is also identified as such in John 19:26 at the time of Christ passion on the cross when He suffered for our sins. And she is identified again as the Woman in Revelation 12: 1, 5 in the great battle against Satan.
It is the same John who the Gospel, calling Mary the "Woman" that wrote the Book of Revelation where the woman gives birth to the male child in Rev. 12:5.
Revelation 12:1,5 "A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars… 5 She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod. Her child was caught up to God and his throne." NAB