I was pondering upon the severity of some sins being more grave than others and whether or not some sins are able to be forgiven at all, possibly even condemning someone to hell. So is it possible that some sins are never forgiven?
In Matthew 12:32 the sin against the Holy Spirit is said to be unforgiveable. However St. Thomas Aquinas wrote that there are three meanings that have been given to this:
- blasphemy against the Holy Spirit
- final impenitence
- malice against goodness of the Holy Spirit
St. Thomas Aqunias wrote:
In this life the free will does indeed ever remain subject to change: yet sometimes it rejects that whereby, so far as it is concerned, it can be turned to good. Hence considered in itself this sin is unpardonable, although God can pardon it.
If you remember your education about the Sacrament of Reconciliation you will remember that there are conditions to forgiveness. You are supposed to do you penance, make an effort not to sin again and probably some more that I forgot. So, if you didn’t do what you are required to do would your sin be forgiven?
If you study Scripture you can come to several conclusions about forgiveness and sin. They range from everybody is forgiven to almost no-one is forgiven, depending on what part of the Bible you choose to read and how you choose to interpret what you read.
But, I have never come across anything where the nature, or severity of the sin made any difference. Everything I have learned seems to make all sins equal, at least when it comes to going to heaven or hell. Now keep in mind that I am talking about grave sins. Which can be just about anything.
If you study the way that the Sacrament of Reconciliation came to be you will find out that, as everything, the practice of it has evolved over time. But, throughout history, the message has been consistent, God doesn’t want you to go to hell. You should be assured that God has worked very hard to save your soul, not condemn it.
There are people that see 4 mortal sins under every rock and they live in a gravel pit. History has always had such troubled people. Martin Luther was such a man. It is not easy to live in a state of mortal sin. It requires that you sever your relationship with God. Personally, I don’t think God, or the Church wants us to exist so we can become mortal sin counters. You know, how many mortal sins did I commit today and which one was the most fun? Or, what mortal sin do I commit tomorrow so I can get all that wonderful grace by going to confession?
Jesus, in The Lord’s Prayer, asks God to “forgive us our sins”. If God forgave us our sins when Jesus died on the Cross, why would He say that?
So all grave sins are seen as equal and God wants to forgive them but he himself will judge whether it’s truly forgiven. That said, it comes from if we were truly sorry for the act and that will come from our actions thereafter I suppose. Thank you for the assistance!
The only way to know you are forgiven is if you go to confession. Don’t just assume that if you feel badly enough about what you have done, God will forgive you. Use the gift that the Church has given to you.
It doesn’t matter how grave the sin is, if you are truly sorry (and God knows if you are or not) then you are truly forgiven. *The only sin that is not forgiven is the unrepented one. *
If there were to be any sin that could not be forgiven by God then that sin would become larger than God Himself. And we know that not to be the case…
That’s a very good answer.
Does the Sacrament of Reconciliation mitigate Matthew 12:31?
If it does, then is not blasphemy against the Holy Spirit forgiveable?
If it doesn’t matter how grave the sin is, why would the particular of Matthew 12:31 be cited uniquely? If all sins are forgiven by the same condition of repentence, then why did Jesus differentiate the forgiveableness of sins [Matthew 12:31]?
Jesus stating that a sin is not to be forgiven should not be interpreted to mean can’t be forgiven.
Is knowledge of forgiveness confined to confession to a priest; is it the only way to know you are forgiven?
The Sacrament of Confession is a gift, but is it mandatory, in order to know your sins have been forgiven?
To quote the commentary in the Douay-Rheims Bible
“The blasphemy of the Spirit”… The sin here spoken of is that blasphemy, by which the Pharisees attributed the miracles of Christ, wrought by the Spirit of God, to Beelzebub the prince of devils. Now this kind of sin is usually accompanied with so much obstinacy, and such wilful opposing the Spirit of God, and the known truth, that men who are guilty of it, are seldom or never converted: and therefore are never forgiven, because they will not repent. Otherwise there is no sin, which God cannot or will not forgive to such as sincerely repent, and have recourse to the keys of the church
Emphasis is mine.
Hi Curious Seed
Like I said, if you study Scripture enough you can form different opinions.Sounds like you know what is in the Bible. It is not my place to tell you how you are supposed to think. In all fairness, the Catholic Church doesn’t either. The Church is probably the smartest bunch of theologians around but they don’t tell you how to think. They inform you what they think and why then you form your own opinion.
Last time I asked about what you referred to I was told there is not a consensus about what blasphemy of the Spirit is exactly. So, if you committed it how do you know for sure?
Logically, I guess God would not forgive those that do not want to be forgiven. This ties in with free will. I can see where choosing to not love God would be as sin, and as long as you continue to choose not to love God honors your choice. So, you go to hell.
The only time a sin is not forgiven is when the person is not sorry and doesn’t want forgiveness. That’s it. If there is contrition, ANY AND EVERY sin can be forgiven. “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow…”