Living effects of being in Mortal Sin

What exactly is the living consequence of being in mortal sin?

Can we still pray? Should we still read the Bible? How do we understand God as *seeing and treating *us when we are in mortal sin?

Does God still extend His grace to us?

What is the difference between being in Mortal sin and a state of Grace?

I tend to have the attitude that if I consider myself to be in mortal sin, I tend not to want to do anything particularly important, because I see that any thing important really requires God to be with us 100%, and if I feel that I am in mortal sin, I tend to feel like I won’t appreciate or benefit from things fully…

Is this silly?

Please help.

Go to confession and confess your sins , all of them. Then you wont be in a state of mortal sin any longer. The only thing I can say on the subject of mortal sin , is to avoid it at all costs. One never knows how many days we have in our lives. And no one wants to be caught in a state of mortal sin when our life ends suddenly.

God does indeed still extend His grace to us, but the grace is called “actual”, a gift which enlightens our intellect and strengthens our will toward action. This grace does not sanctify (i.e. make holy, or justify), but prompts us toward reconcilation with God. It is also a real possibility that we can freely reject this grace.

When we are “prodigal”, that is “wasteful” of God’s gifts, I think God sees us as the father saw the prodigal son when he chose to leave his father to squander the gifts he’d been given. The father said “my son was dead.” (Lk 15:24). Yet, when the son returned to the father from his prodigal ways, the father said that his son “is alive again.” (ibid.)

If one is truly impenitent and unreconciled with God after having committed mortal sin, they are spiritually “dead”, lacking sanctifying grace, they are no longer justified.

However, baptism and confirmation are sacraments which place an “indelible” mark on your soul. This is a sign which never goes away. It means that you have been given, as yesterday’s first Scripture reading stated, a blessing and a curse. A blessing for those who live faithfully according to God’s commandments, and a curse for those who don’t, who willfully reject the covenant “oath” signified by the sacraments.

Not only can you still pray and read the Bible, you most certainly should. The first prayer that I recommend is the Act of Contrition, followed by the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Penance as soon as able.

St. Augustine taught:

“For if any one … have righteousness … if even faith, and fall away, he is rightly said to have had these virtues and to have them no longer; for he was … righteous, or he was … believing, as long as he was so; but when he ceased to be so, he no longer is what he was” A Treatise on the Gift of Perseverance]

For God does listen to sinners too. If God did not listen to sinners it would have been all in vain for the publican to cast down his eyes to the ground and stike his breast saying: ‘Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner.’” [Homilies on John, 44, 13]

We need to pray for the saving gift of perseverence. St. Augustine continues:

"The excuse would seem more just of those who say: “We did not receive hearing,” than those who say “We did not recieve perseverance,” because reply can be made: “Man, in what you heard and kept, in that much you could have persevered if you had will” (Admonition and Grace, 7, 11)

"God, therefore, gave man a good will, because He made him in that will when He made him upright (i.e., justified or regenerated). He gave man assistance (i.e. saving grace) without which man could not continue in the will even if he would; but that he would, God left to his free choice. Man was able, therefore, to continue if he would, because the assistance was not lacking whereby he was able, and without which he would not be able, to persevere in holding to the good that he might will. But because he willed not to continue, certainly the blame is his whose merit it would have been if he had willed to continue. (ibid., 11, 32)

This gift of [perseverance from] God, therefore, can be obtained by supplication” (Gift of Perseverance, 6, 10)

What is the difference between being in Mortal sin and a state of Grace?

Those impenitent and unreconciled after having committed mortal sin are not in a state of grace, that is, they are no longer sanctified or justified, having severed themselves from the body of Christ.

I tend to have the attitude that if I consider myself to be in mortal sin, I tend not to want to do anything particularly important…

In this state, you ought to have a sense of urgency to do something VERY important, be reconciled with God. Unless already hardened of heart, God sends the sinner the gift of sorrow (actual grace), which urges them to “repent, turn toward God, and do the works worthy of repentence.” (Acts 26:20). We are called to respond to this gift and not remain impenitent and unreconciled.

Many of us will spend our lives effectively *in and out of *mortal sin; how is it possible, after Baptism, for us to continually be alive and dead to God?

  1. If one has that sense of urgency and overwhelming desire to flee intoo God’s grace and love, is this a sign of one no longer being spiritually dead before God?

Also, what does it mean to be no longer be justified before God? Is this the same as those not Baptised? How can we be justified in faith and baptism, and then no longer justified? Isn’t Justification something we have through faith, and not whether or not our actions are moral or gravely immoral? Also, does the concept of sanctification factor in here?

I think this prompts my same question as before: what does it mean to no longer be sanctified or justified, in terms of our living relationship with God? Is the conesequences of mortal sin a purely theological set of consequences as it were, or does it affect our actual living relationship with God?

Sorry that’s an awkward question I realize.

For example, are we still merited of our good deeds as it were, if we are in mortal sin? I am of the understanding that if we are in mortal sin, and then we say, save a man’s life, that this potentially means nothing to God if we are in Mortal Sin?

If this is the case, when we recover to Sanctifying Grace (e.g. after Reconciliation) can we then be merited of our good deeds?

While that is common, it need not be that way. God tells each of us after he offers his merciful reconciliation, “Go, and sin no more” (Jn 8:11). I don’t believe that God demands of us something he doesn’t equip us to achieve. When we fall from grace, we aren’t doing something inevitable, as some seem to think. God tells us, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor 12:9). Despite our weakness, by the grace of God we are given a Divine gift, the perfect power to remain in Him.

Yet, the greatest of all God’s gifts is love. Love requires freedom, or else it is not authentic love. He won’t force Himself upon us. We can reject his gifts. If we remain or return to our “prodigal” ways, no longer choosing to remain “in Him,” we become spiritually dead, until we repent and turn again to be reconciled in Him, by Him.

  1. If one has that sense of urgency and overwhelming desire to flee intoo God’s grace and love, is this a sign of one no longer being spiritually dead before God?

I think it is dependent upon the chief motive of our sorrow. If the principal reason for our sorrow is fear of punishment, then this “fear” is also a gracious gift of God, and an “actual” grace. It does not in itself sanctify or justify. Yet, sorrow chiefly based upon fear can move a sinner toward repentence and reconciliation with God who is love. Such “imperfect contrition” alone does not transform a “spiritually dead” sinner to be “alive again” in Christ. When imperfect contrition is acted upon in the manner willed by God, that is, when the sinner cooperates with this “actual grace” in turning to God and doing the “deeds” worthy of repentance, then God and man are reconciled and man is no longer “spiritually dead.” Turning to God in the sacrament of reconciliation, the “oath” of our covenant, is that deed worthy of our repentance.

Yet, in some cases, the motive of our desire to flee into God’s grace is not principally due to “fear” of punishment, but can be chiefly due to the love of God, who is most deserving of all our love. This is called “perfect contrition”, not because of a perfect “degree” of sorrow, but because of the “kind” of sorrow, which is a “contrition of charity,” and because “Love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Pet 4:8). This “perfect contrition” is necessarily joined with the desire to received the sacrament of reconciliation, yet perfect contrition alone signifies that we are no longer being spiritually dead before God.

Also, what does it mean to be no longer be justified before God?

“Justified before God” means “being mad righteous by God.” It is “the gracious action of God which frees us from sin and communicates ‘the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ’ (Rom 3:22). Justification is not only the remission of sins, but also the sanctification and renewal of the interior man” [Catechism of the Catholic Church, glossary; cf. CCC 1987-1989]. Consequently, when we are no longer justified before God, we are not remitted from sin and do not possess the righteousness of God, nor sanctification.

Is this the same as those not Baptised?

There is a initial translation from the state in which man is born a child of the first Adam (i.e. not-justified), to the state of grace and the adoption of the sons of God through Jesus Christ (justified). This initial translation cannot occur, except through the sacrament of Baptism or its desire. So, they are not justified prior to receiving the grace of justification by baptism or its desire. Those who have been baptized are given all the supernatural help from God to “go, and sin no more” and therefore remain justified, if they freely co-operate with the grace they’ve been given. If they fall from grace, they can be restored to God’s grace through contrition, reconciliation, and penance.

I think this prompts my same question as before: what does it mean to no longer be sanctified or justified, in terms of our living relationship with God?

Scripture teaches us that justification is not a ‘one-time’ event, but instead must be ongoing in our lives. “Let the just be justified still” (Rev 22:11).

The Church teaches:

Having, therefore, been thus justified and made the friends and domestics of God,[Eph 2:19] advancing from virtue to virtue,[Ps. 83:8] they are renewed, as the Apostle says, day by day,[2 Cor 4:16] that is, mortifying the members [Col 3:5] of their flesh, and presenting them as instruments of justice unto sanctification,[Rom. 6:13, 19] they, through the observance of the commandments of God and of the Church, faith cooperating with good works, increase in that justice received through the grace of Christ and are further justified, as it is written: He that is just, let him be justified still;[Rev 22:11] and, Be not afraid to be justified even to death;[Ecclus. 18:22] and again, Do you see that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only?[Jam 2:24] This increase of justice holy Church asks for when she prays: “Give unto us, O Lord, an increase of faith, hope and charity.”

[Council of Trent, decree on Justification, ch. 10]

If we choose contrary to God’s will, choosing to not work together (co-operate) with God, we can be described as it says in Scripture, to “***accept the grace of God in ***vain” (2 Cor 6:1), to “fall away from the living God” (Heb 3:12; cf. Mk 4:17), to be those “severed from Christ” and “fallen away from grace” (Gal 5:4).

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Is the conesequences of mortal sin a purely theological set of consequences as it were, or does it affect our actual living relationship with God?

Yes, it affects our actual living relationship with God. The Christians of Galatia were called by St. Paul “sons of God.” They were really Christians, yet St. Paul warned them that they may be “severed from Christ.” He warned these Christians which he testified were “sons of God” to not “gratify the desires of the flesh” (Gal 5:16), affirming that “those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

The Protestant “once saved, always saved” view is a concept invented by John Calvin, but it has no basis in Sacred Scripture and has been rejected by the Catholic Church (and many Protestants).

St. Paul describes how mortal sin can affect our actual living relationship with God:

Rom 11:22 - Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you too will be cut off.

For example, are we still merited of our good deeds as it were, if we are in mortal sin? I am of the understanding that if we are in mortal sin, and then we say, save a man’s life, that this potentially means nothing to God if we are in Mortal Sin?

I would not say it means nothing to God. It does have natural merit. However, it does not have any meritorious effect in the supernatural order.

The Church teaches: “none of those things that precede justification, whether faith or works, merit the grace of justification.” [Council of Trent, decree on justification, ch. 8]

St. Alphonsus Liguori taught:

"It is not enough to do good works; they need to be done well. For our works to be good and perfect, they must be done for the sole purpose of pleasing God”

It is only “the just” who are “justified still” (Rev 22:11), thereby advancing from virtue to virtue. Consequently, for our works to have supernatural merit, and not merely natural merit, they must be done in a state of grace, a state of justification, and for the purpose of pleasing God.

If this is the case, when we recover to Sanctifying Grace (e.g. after Reconciliation) can we then be merited of our good deeds?

Only those prior deeds done in a state of justificiation, a state of grace. Deeds apart from a state of grace are not meritorious works in the supernatural order.

Thank-you, really kindly, for this. It is most attentively appreciated.

So Baptism is our initial entry into Justification, whereby we receive all the necessary spiritual gifts and aids to allow us to *work in Christ *and benefit from it spiritually?

Is it right that our continued justification in Christ is the continued work of the Holy Spirit in sanctifying us, conforming us moreinto the likeness of Christ?

I don’t understand what I highlighted. What does it mean that when we are not justified (e.g. because we fall in mortal sin) that we are no longer remitted from sin? I thought that we are only remitted from sin through the Eucharist and Penance (the two sacraments)??

My pleasure :slight_smile:

So Baptism is our initial entry into Justification, whereby we receive all the necessary spiritual gifts and aids to allow us to *work in Christ *and benefit from it spiritually?

Yes.

Is it right that our continued justification in Christ is the continued work of the Holy Spirit in sanctifying us, conforming us moreinto the likeness of Christ?

Yes, and in this we are co-workers with God, “For we are God’s fellow workers.” (1 Cor 3:9)

I don’t understand what I highlighted. What does it mean that when we are not justified (e.g. because we fall in mortal sin) that we are no longer remitted from sin?

Yes. At baptism, all past sin is forgiven, to include temporal punishment for past sin. However, should we sin again, our new sins are unremitted, that is, not forgiven unless we repent of them. Venial sin does not result in a fall from grace, a transition from being justified to be unjustified, however even venial sin requires repentence to be forgiven by God.

If we should commit mortal sin after baptism, we fall from grace, having severed ourselves from Christ. So long as we remain unrepentent of that sin we are not justified. If we are not hardened of heart, God graciously gives the actual grace of sorrow, serving to enlighten the intellect and will, urging us toward repentence and a return to Him. If we fail to freely cooperate with this actual grace, our mortal sin continues unremitted, that is, not forgiven by God since our will continues to cling to mortal sin instead of to God

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I thought that we are only remitted from sin through the Eucharist and Penance (the two sacraments)??

Venial sins are remitted through internal repentence which expresses itself exernally as prayer and works of mercy. Mortal sin is remitted by interal repentence of perfect contrition, or through imperfect contrition joined with sacramental absolution.

A condition for worthily receiving the Sacrament of Eucharist is that we be in a state of grace, which necessarily means all mortal sin has already been remitted. Consequently, the Sacrament of Eucharist worthily received remits venial sins, since prior mortal sin had already been remitted.

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