Why is the Doctrine of Mary’s Immaculate Conception so Important
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
The word “kecharitōmenē” 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 “kecharitōmenē” 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
However, Luke 1:28 uses a special conjugated form of “charitoo.” It uses “kecharitōmenē,” 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, Kecharitōmenē, the perfect passive participle, shows a completeness with a with permanent result. Kecharitōmenē denotes continuance of a completed action (H. W. Smyth, Greek Grammar (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1968 ) 108-109, sec 1852:b also Blass and DeBrunner p.175.
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
Examples of the perfect participle are the following:
The word “beloved” in
The word “Blessed” in
Therefore, Luke 1:28 points to Mary being filled perfectly and complete
with grace, so much so, that there is no room for sin in her. So, at
this point the only question is at what point in her life is Mary made
This doctrine of the Immaculate Conception can be found in what God
says to Satan in
Identity of the Woman
Mary as “woman.” See endnote #
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.
“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.
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.
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.
Early Church Fathers on Immaculate Conception