4. Do Christians worship Mary?
Some people give special honor to Mary since she was the mother of the Savior. Some even think she was perfect. But the Bible says all have sinned (Romans 3:23), and the Bible forbids worshipping mere humans or praying to them. Jesus said, “You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve” (Matthew 4:10).
When a woman pronounced a blessing a Mary, Jesus pronounced a different blessing: “As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, ‘Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.’ He replied, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it’” (Luke 11:27-28).
Those who worship or pray to Mary disobey God’s commands. Mary herself worshipped God after she found out she was to give birth to God’s Son:
“And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever’" (Luke 1:46-55).
While the virgin birth doesn’t mean Mary was perfect, it does point to Jesus’ perfection. Ever since Adam and Eve disobeyed, every person has inherited the same guilt and sin nature: “. . . sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” (Romans 5:12). Every one of us has sinned, breaking God’s laws such as these:
• Loving God above all (Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 22:37)
• Loving neighbor as oneself (Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 22:39)
• Honoring parents (Exodus 20:12; Matthew 15:4)
• Not committing adultery or lust (Exodus 20:14; Matthew 5:28)
Jesus, however, was born of a virgin and didn’t inherit the sin nature. Although He was tempted to sin, He never sinned (Hebrews 4:15). Instead, He displayed God His Father’s perfect righteousness.
Just as Adam’s sin affected all born after him, Jesus Christ’s righteousness affects those who are born again and cry in faith to Jesus: “For as by the one man's [Adam’s] disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's [Christ’s] obedience the many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19).
How can we be “made righteous”? We cannot make ourselves righteous. We are “made righteous” by God through the righteous Jesus. According to God’s Word the Bible, Jesus lived as the perfect God-Man, died on the cross to take the punishment for believing sinners, and rose from the dead as living Lord and Savior.
God awakens the sinner’s heart, who responds by turning from sin to trust in Jesus alone for salvation from sin and hell. God pardons the sinner and declares the sinner righteous based on the righteousness of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:1-4). Because God made the believer’s sin Christ’s when He bore sin on the cross, God makes Christ’s righteousness the believer’s. A matchless exchange!
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
“However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness” (Romans 4:5).
A man once opposed these truths, throwing Christians in jail and watching as a Christian was stoned to death. This man thought he could please God by following God’s law perfectly. But when Jesus called and saved him (Acts 9), Paul testified of righteousness by faith in Christ:
“But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:7-11).