Living in God's Grace?


#1

Question:

We are all sinners? Or should we say we were once sinners? Should it not be the “normal” state of affairs for a practicing Catholic to be able to avoid grave sin, through the grace of the Holy Spirit and the help of the Sacraments? St. John tells us that if we are begotten by God we will be able to avoid sin:

1JN 3 (NABRE)
Avoiding Sin.
4 Everyone who commits sin commits lawlessness, for sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that he was revealed to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6 No one who remains in him sins; no one who sins has seen him or known him. 7 Children, let no one deceive you. The person who acts in righteousness is righteous, just as he is righteous. 8 Whoever sins belongs to the devil, because the devil has sinned from the beginning. Indeed, the Son of God was revealed to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one who is begotten by God commits sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot sin because he is begotten by God. 10 In this way, the children of God and the children of the devil are made plain; no one who fails to act in righteousness belongs to God, nor anyone who does not love his brother.

I believe this passage has been interpreted as referring to mortal sin and that even those who are “begotten by God” still commit venial sins because of our concupiscence. Still, should we refer to ourselves as great sinners? Or should we say we were once great sinners but have been rescued from slavery to sin through Our Lord’s mercy? Or does that risk becoming (or coming off as) self-righteous?

I ask this because it was recently suggested to me that the proper attitude for a Catholic Christian is that expressed by St. Paul in 1 TM 1:15: “This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Of these ***I am ***the foremost.” I pointed out what I felt was obvious - that in context St. Paul was not saying he presently remained the world’s foremost sinner - but rather that he had been so before he was converted (“I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and an arrogant man, but I have been mercifully treated…”).

But folks were insistent that I have it wrong. Do I?


#2

Those who have committed mortal sins and been forgiven etc - were yes “sinners” in the past in the sense of having committed mortal sins.


We are all sinners - in the sense that we all commit* venial sins*

(one cannot avoid all such venial sins in life - unless of course God gives you a very special extraordinary grace which is not usual).

But that being said …when we are “in true life” in Christ- we are *living *in a new reality than before faith and baptism and repentance - we are in “real life”:

We are “sons in the Son”

We are “a new creation”

We are temples of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Trinity is dwelling with in us

We are “in Christ” and are “saints”.

Holy - set apart for the Lord.

Etc


#3

I think St. Paul is saying; Christ put me out in front as an example. That’s what the context seems to indicate.

Gratitude for God’s Mercy.
12
I am grateful to him who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he considered me trustworthy in appointing me to the ministry.j
13
I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and an arrogant man, but I have been mercifully treated because I acted out of ignorance in my unbelief.k
14
Indeed, the grace of our Lord has been abundant, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.l
15
This saying is trustworthy* and deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Of these I am the foremost.m
16
But for that reason I was mercifully treated, so that in me, as the foremost, Christ Jesus might display all his patience as an example for those who would come to believe in him for everlasting life.
17
To the king of ages,* incorruptible, invisible, the only God, honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.n*


#4

My wierd opinion but the typical “we are all sinners” leans most heavily on two factors:

  1. Hypocrite avoidance with subcategories:
    A. If we let people get a big head they will be cheating with the neighbors spouse while calling for the stoning of the other neighbor who got caught with the other :frowning:

    B. If we don’t say it it would make the sinners feel uncomfortable and think everyone was on a pedestal whichcould be demoralizing.

  2. Confusions… there are per Jesus more bad than good people, and therefore it is logical that in a room full of 100 practicing catholics only 1-3 are actually “practicing catholics” the rest pretend for a set of reasons. Many cases I think the bad use mental tricks to convince themselves of their good, but while some may be ignorant most are just bad.

You are with a opposite sex member in a wierd circumstance… let’s say work partners stuck working on a project late and delirious. You are near eachother and have been friendly. You have some momentary biological instict as your faces are close together and oops you cheated = You suck, but you might be a good person who “made a mistake” we’ll call you a practicing catholic who sinned.

You sign up on Ashley Madison and message someone for 3 weeks and line up a meeting = you are just a bad person, you are phoning in your Catholicism probably because you are too scared of God to defy him head on and go full evil… but you suck epic.

(Universal “you” no one I am pointing at)

The other option perhaps is the bonus, the agnostic-ish Catholic. Someone who is catholic but has just enough doubt to allow some secular law approved sins. Though this too is a double edged sword, as half or more are probably just “doubting” thinking it’ll fool God into not punishing them. Denial, should be the 8th deadly sin and IMO is the greatest.


#5

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