How has one done good in the state of mortal sin?


First off, please correct this if needed: **We as Catholics believe we cannot do any good, or any good works, on our own. God’s grace must assist us. **

Now, knowing we must need God’s divine intervention - God’s actual grace - in order to do good, how could anyone do anything GOOD while not in the state of grace.

You might ask yourself, “why does one need to be in the state of grace to receive actual grace…which leads to doing good?” The reason is because you cannot merit sanctifying grace, which is the “type” of grace consisting in the soul when one is in the state of grace, when one is not in the state of sanctifying grace. You receive the increase of sanctifying grace - sanctification - when one does good, which is due to actual grace.

So the logic is, actual grace (the grace that helps us do good( isn’t given to us in order to do good in the state of mortal sin.

So, how can one do good in the state of mortal sin? how is it possible?

Please help me if I’m lost on this. Perhaps this is the reason I’m lost: do we still receive God’s actual grace outside the state of grace?


I am not sure what your question is exactly, but I will take a stab. Actual grace, while in mortal sin, leads one to properly repent of that sin. When God sees a genuine repentance (a good act) He forgives. Take the example of King David in Ps 32 (and Ps 51).

Also, you should distinguish between naturally good works and supernaturally good works. Naturally good works (no sanctifying grace) can be done by anyone, for example a non-Christian who cares for his family. Supernaturally good works are what are pleasing to God because sanctifying grace makes you an Adopted Child of God. As a Child of God your works go towards increasing the Kingdom as well as your own holiness.


See Romans 5:20

“But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:”

Even in the midst of sin, grace surrounds us. The moment we repent, we have access to it. God is slow to anger but quick to forgive. He knows our hearts, and though we fall, we ask for forgiveness and continue toward Him.

God bless,


Also, don’t forget, perfect contrition lifts us out of a state of mortal sin before we’ve been to confession. Perfect contrition sounds impossible to many people, but all it really means is a turning back to God because of his goodness. Imperfect contrition arises out of a fear of hell. Most Christians who genuinely love God will find themselves in a state of perfect contrition more often than they think, at least according to a good priest I have spoken to.

If you’re doing good, it’s because God’s already put you back on track. :thumbsup:


But I thought humans cannot do any good on there own. We need help - God’s grace. Is this incorrect?


Feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, tending the sick, and harboring the homeless are ALWAYS good acts.

How meritorious they may be if a person is not in good spiritual condition, I don’t presume to say.


You can do naturally good works on your own (ie with the natural powers God granted to human nature), but not supernaturally good works. Since sacntifying grace is added to human nature, when Adam sinned he fell to a purely natural state. Anyone without sanctifying grace is in the same purely natural state. In this state human nature is not corrupt (as Protestants mistakenly think because they reject the concept of sanctifying grace), we can still think, reason, act, etc. In that state we can do objectively good acts, like helping someone, but these don’t rise to the level of supernaturally good acts which can only be done with grace.

Am I making any sense?


It is my understanding that one may receive actual grace without having sanctifying grace. For instance, the grace that leads us toward repentance cannot itself be sanctifying grace, since sanctifying grace comes to us by means of repentance. In other words, God still gives us his actual graces even before having sanctifying grace. Of course, that is a particular case.

 I read once in a meditation - I cannot remember which saint wrote it, but it was written by a saint - that even the unrepentant sinner receives graces from God preserving him from a great multitude of sins which he might otherwise have committed.

 Then there is always that distinction which Thomas Aquinas made between the cardinal virtues and the theological virtues. The theological virtues can only be gotten upon repentance of sin and the sanctifying grace of God, Theos. The cardinal virtues, although most truly possessed by the Christian, can also be obtained by unrepentant sinner by virtue of the natural law that exists in all of us. We cannot get rid of the fact that we are created in the image of God, and can thus never be wholly evil.

 Now, I'm no theologian, and maybe I'm not using the right terminology here, by I think that expresses my point. And with that . . . :tiphat: 

 Thoughts, comments and criticisms are not always appreciated but always welcomed.


Oh. Thanks for helping. That does help.


It is like what St. Paul said: “I find myself not doing the good I want to do, and doing the bad things that I don’t want to do”

Without God’s grace, any good done is stand-alone and does not fit nicely into His plan. Doesn’t mean it’s a waste of time, though, just not as effective as good acts guided by God’s grace and Spirit.


Stick to the script and you cant go wrong…

You cant please GOD without the power of the Holy Spirit as seeded by his Son Jesus the Christ, Our High Priest and King and Our everlasting Father.

There is no work, no thought, no words you could ever do to impress or please him. This is the definition of Grace.

For with any work that could please him, then where would be grace?

Now once you have been endowed with the Holy Spirit, you must fight the good fight and Never stop the tenacity of the fight.

Will you fall? YES. Pick yourself back up ask for his power and continue on.

“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses(angels)” .

"Then Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed; be strong and of good courage, for thus the LORD will do to all your enemies against whom you fight.”

The Father Almighty Wants you to Call Upon Him in Time of Trouble. And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. (Psalm 50:15)

And so in conclusion, you cant do good or please him unless you fight for the good while in the Grace of GOD !!



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