I say not unto thee, Until seven times, but, Until seventy times seven; Confession and the limited amount of sins God will forgive


I have a hard time to understand these two ideas together.

Matthew 18:22 says we should always forgive, then I sometimes here priests who say God determined an amount of sins He is willing to forgive, and then He won’t forgive no more. It will be too late. How to understand this with the Sacrament of Confession?

Thank you :slight_smile:


God’s mercy endures forever and is endless. As long as we are asking, he is will to extend it to us, contrite heart.
The ONLY sin that will not be forgiven is the sin when you don’t turn to God and ask.
I am not sure what the priest is saying.
We can go through periods of trying to root out some sins and it may feel like we confess those forever.


Here is a good example youtube.com/watch?v=wFgUrhwUGi4


YES! We must always be ready!
One GREAT habit is to have a daily examination of conscience, I do before bed, and make an act of contrition.
But, that doesn’t mean that God is going to only forgive so many sins. Even with these, you do not know if they turned at the last minute or what happened.


Death is final. We will have particular judgement when we die.
We will no longer have a chance to repent. Our time of repentance is now, on Earth, while we are breathing.
Is that what is confusing? That people can choose to do their own thing, not repent, and that God will allow that all eternity (damnation)? If so, that is part of God’s justice. It would not be fair to the person who did not do it, repent, during this life, to suddenly be in heaven.
I remember one saint wanted to reach into hell and bring a soul into heaven. She was allowed and the soul of the person HATED it! Even the saint didn’t understand how some completely reject God, even heaven.


The Catechism doesn’t say anything about a limited amount of sins being forgiven. There was another thread discussing this, maybe a few months ago; you might try a search and see what the comments were there.


That passage of Scripture shouldn’t be taken literally.

The passage makes use of figurative language. “Seventy time seven” is a very big number, and that’s what Jesus was conveying–that there is no limit to God’s love and forgiveness for those who repent of their sins.


Numbers are used very figuratively in the Bible:
In both Hebrew and Greek (Hebrew especially): 40 was a large number often used to mean a lot or for a long time
Also (more potent in Greek); 7 was used to imply everlasting and eternity (e…g it says in the Bible, I will pray 7 times a day to you which fits into another quote: I will praise you unceasingly). If 7 implies everything, seventy times seven (referring to the meaning of 7) can be interpreted as unlimited!

God will never stop forgiving our sins as long as we are truly sorry


Thank you, but my question came up with this already in my mind :). It is this contrast between always and an amount of sins that is difficult to get.


Have you actually heard a priest interpret this passage as indicating a finite number of times that God will forgive us? I have never heard any priest say that before.

In any case, Matthew 18:22 is about how many times we are to forgive those who sin against us.


The Bible implies that God will forgive all *properly repented and/or apologized for *sins–and the only info He gave us as to how properly apologize is through Confession.

Some saints have said that God will for certain people forgive only a certain number of sins, notably St Alphonsus Liguori. However, this seems to be under certain circumstances, no need to be paranoid.


He did not interpret Matthew, but Saint Alphonse de Liguori. But when I hear this with Matthew in my mind, it clashes. Because we shall love like God loves us, therefore God’s mercy is infinite, as we should always forgive.
No? :smiley:

I guess like some said he meant at the end when death comes it means God won’t wait longer.


Seventy times seven - indicates “always”. That is what it means in the Hebrew usage.

See Navarre Bible Matthew. scepterpublishers.org/category/?category_id=24

The point is that there is not to be a “cap” on forgiving.


Ok, I willl make it clearer: THe title may not be the best to say what I think. So, I know that seventy times seven is a big number and is there to mean always. I know that :slight_smile: Now, some priests say God forgives a limited amount of sins which He has predetermined for us that He could bear, and then that’s too late.
Therefore, hearing this there are two things: How to understand the priest, which Matthew in mind?
And: If this idea of amount of sins (taken probably from Alfonso de Liguori) is correct, why go to Confession, when even if completely regretting, we miht not receive pardon?

THat’s why, my opinion now is the priest meant death is the limit that God give us. Still, this idea of amount of sins can’t come from nowhere.


Seventy times seven - indicates “always”. That is what it means in the Hebrew usage.

(see Navarre Bible Commentary on Matthew).

That verse does not mean that one has a limit on the times one may repent and return via Confession.

(oh and the “until” is not in the verse…)


982 “There is no offense, however serious, that the Church cannot forgive.”


That is of one repents and returns to the Sacrament of Confession.



982 “There is no offense, however serious, that the Church cannot forgive.”


That is of one repents and returns to the Sacrament of Confession.


I am sorry, but you don’t understand me. i am not saying seventy times seven relates to a limited numbers of sins, I am saying since there is a contrast between Matthew and this concept of limited amount of sins. That idea of amount of sins is found in S. Alphonse mainly. And some priests carry this on, but I think I misinterpret their interpretation.

So, we are saying the same thing, Matthew means always.


With respect for your zeal, I would suggest that you not base your theology on the writings of just one saint, but instead, read as many of the saints as possible to get a more balanced viewpoint.

I would suggest starting with the diary of Sister Faustina, who wrote with love about the Divine Mercy.

Also try the writings of St. Anthony of Padua, who seemed to have a mastery of theology and was able to communicate with people in such a way as to clear up their confusion.

Finally, there are the beautiful writings of Saint Pope John Paul II.

One more thing–don’t forget to take into account the historical background whenever you read saints, as well as the saint’s particular living arrangement. Many of the religious are quite hard on themselves because they live in a sequestered environment and are beholden to follow their Order’s Rule. Those of us who are not the religious don’t have a “Rule” to follow, other than the commands of our Lord Jesus and the Precepts of the Church.


I have no other theology than the Church’s. That’s why I sometimes get stuck with personal opinions, I don’t know if somehow they can be understood the right way. They may also be inaccurate. It isn’t even a Saint in particular, but how it is interpreted by some priests.


The “always” would be to say there is not limit to forgiveness. We are to always forgive those who repent and come to us. To read along with confession - there is no limit to the forgiveness of God in confession - when repent and confess and are absolved - the sins are forgiven. There is no limit - God is not going to say -oh well I cannot forgive you anymore…

There is no “quota” of sins - as if one repents and confesses - God in his love and mercy forgives…

There is yes that limit of life. We know not the day or hour. Repentance happens this side of death.

(Though God can reach us even in the last moment - let us always hope and trust - but get right to confession if we should fall)

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