Misunderstanding about Romans 3:23 (“All have sinned”)
Rom. 3:23 – Some Protestants use this verse “all have sinned” in an attempt to prove that Mary was also with sin. But “all have sinned ” only means that all are subject to original sin. Mary was spared from original sin by God, not herself. The popular analogy is God let us fall in the mud puddle, and cleaned us up afterward through baptism. In Mary’s case, God did not let her enter the mud puddle.
Rom. 3:23 – “all have sinned” also refers only to those able to commit sin. This is not everyone. For example, infants, the retarded, and the senile cannot sin.
Rom. 3:23 – finally, “all have sinned,” but Jesus must be an exception to this rule. This means that Mary can be an exception as well. Note that the Greek word for all is “pantes.”
1 Cor. 15:22 – in Adam all (“pantes”) have died, and in Christ all (“pantes”) shall live. This proves that “all” does not mean “every single one.” This is because not all have died (such as Enoch and Elijah who were taken up to heaven), and not all will go to heaven (because Jesus said so).
Rom. 5:12 – Paul says that death spread to all (“pantes”) men. Again, this proves that “all” does not mean “every single one” because death did not spread to all men (as we have seen with Enoch and Elijah).
Rom. 5:19 – here Paul says “many (not all) were made sinners.” Paul uses “polloi,” not “pantes.” Is Paul contradicting what he said in Rom. 3:23? Of course not. Paul means that all are subject to original sin, but not all reject God.
Rom. 3:10-11 – Protestants also use this verse to prove that all human beings are sinful and thus Mary must be sinful. But see Psalm 14 which is the basis of the verse.
Psalm 14 – this psalm does not teach that all humans are sinful. It only teaches that, among the wicked, all are sinful. The righteous continue to seek God.
Psalm 53:1-3 – “there is none that does good” expressly refers to those who have fallen away. Those who remain faithful do good, and Jesus calls such faithful people “good.”
Luke 18:19 – Jesus says, “No one is good but God alone.” But then in Matt. 12:35, Jesus also says “The good man out of his good treasure…” So Jesus says no one is good but God, and then calls another person good.
Rom. 9:11 – God distinguished between Jacob and Esau in the womb, before they sinned. Mary was also distinguished from the rest of humanity in the womb by being spared by God from original sin.
Luke 1:47 – Mary calls God her Saviour. Some Protestants use this to denigrate Mary. Why? of course God is Mary’s Saviour! She was freed from original sin in the womb (unlike us who are freed from sin outside of the womb), but needed a Saviour as much as the rest of humanity.
Luke 1:48 – Mary calls herself lowly. But any creature is lowly compared to God. For example, in Matt. 11:29, even Jesus says He is lowly in heart. Lowliness is a sign of humility, which is the greatest virtue of holiness, because it allows us to empty ourselves and receive the grace of God to change our sinful lives.