It’s often assumed that the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception refers to Jesus. After all, He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, making Him unblemished by the stain of sin.
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18)
That is immaculate.
However, that’s not the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception.
It doesn’t refer to Jesus at all. It refers to Mary. The Immaculate Conception is a Roman Catholic doctrine stating that the Blessed Virgin Mary from the first incident of her conception was preserved free from all stain of original sin.
Pope Pius IX wrote in the Ineffabilis Deus of 1870:
“We declare, pronounce and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mare, in the fist instant of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful.”
In fewer words, Mary was sinless.
But this is a false doctrine, not found in Scripture.
The Bible says:
For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
…and Jesus Himself said, “there is no one good except God alone.” (Mark 10:18, Luke 18:19)
After Mary had given birth to Jesus, Joseph took them to the Temple to offer a sacrifice of two turtle doves or two young pigeons, according to the law.
And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) and offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.” (Luke 2:22-24)
And when the days of her purifying are completed, she shall bring to the priest at the entrance of the tent of meeting a lamb a year old for burnt offering, and pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering, and he shall offer it before the Lord and make atonement for her… If she cannot afford a lamb, then she shall take two turtledoves or two pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering. The priest shall make atonement for her, and she shall be clean. (Leviticus 12:1-8)
This is exactly what we see Joseph and Mary doing in Luke 2:22-24. Mary wouldn’t have needed to do this if she was sinless. She was a Godly woman, but she was not sinless.
Though Joseph and Mary were too poor to afford a lamb, they did have one with them – the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29)
Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed. (1 Corinthians 5:7)
He committed no sin… tempted as we are, yet without sin. (1 Peter 2:22 & Hebrews 4:15)
The Bible says only Jesus was without sin… when we understand the text.
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