New Catholic needs help w/ scripture and mortal sin

I just came into the church this past Easter. In my rcia class we learned that when we commit a mortal sin, we seperate ourselves from God. I am having a hard time reconciling that with Romans 8:

What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword?
As it is written: "For your sake we are being slain all the day; we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered."
No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us.
**For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, 9 nor future things, nor powers,
nor height, nor depth, 10 nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. **

thanks for any help!


Note that the things mentioned in the Romans passage do not involve personal choices to sin.
Things that a person is subjected to cannot separate him from God. These are the types of things Paul speaks of.
It is only the person himself, by an act of free will, who can choose to separate himself from God - by saying essentially, “No, I will not serve You; I will not obey You.”

Please note that when one commits a mortal sin and is immediately repentant, intending to go to Confession, he would not be eternally separated from God should he die before being able to actually confess to a priest.


Welcome to the Church, Mary Catherine! :slight_smile:

All the things listed in the Romans readings are things that happen outside of us… things that happen to us. The meaning of the reading is that no matter what happens to us, no matter what it might be (“anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword”), it cannot separate us from Christ.

If we hold firm while being persecuted for our faith, we are the conquerers through Jesus who loves us.

If we die, we go home to Him in heaven.

Nothing and **no one **can separate us from Him.

There is only one person that can separate you from Him: YOU! And the only way you can do that is by deliberately committing mortal sin. That means you know something is a mortal sin and do it anyway. You can’t “accidentally” commit a mortal sin. You can do something that is mortally sinful, but if you don’t know it’s a mortal sin, you haven’t committed a mortal sin. (That’s not an okay to never learn anything more about the faith so you’ll never know what’s a mortal sin! :stuck_out_tongue: )

Example: Missing Mass is a mortal sin, but -

THIS IS NOT A MORTAL SIN: “O Lord, I feel so sick this morning. I have fever and an upset stomach… I think it’s the flu. I can’t go to Mass this Sunday.”

THIS IS A MORTAL SIN: “I’m sleepy and it’s raining. I just don’t feel like going out today. It’s too much trouble to get to Mass this Sunday. (I don’t care enough about You who died for me to get out of bed. I’ll just go to Confession next week.”) [Actually, it’s two mortal sins: missing Mass and presuming on God’s mercy.]

Don’t worry, MC. Jesus loves you so much and is so happy you’ve come home to the Church. When you feel tempted to do something you know you shouldn’t do, think of how He sacrificed Himself for you, and think also of the joy and love you felt this Easter as you were baptized and/or received into the Church, and you’ll be fine.

*“Dear God, do You know the greatest grief one of Your creatures can bear? It is the thought that she can never love You enough. ” *- St. Gemma Galgani

Paul says many things in the book of Romans. The entirety of Romans chapter six is very instructive when it comes to sin. For the sake of brevity, I will condense things by using a selected set of verses for purposes of summary.

In verse 1 and 2 Paul tells us that we are forbidden to sin. He says:

“WHAT SHALL we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?”

Paul then tells us in verse 6 and 7 that:

“We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For he who has died is freed from sin.”

Since we are born again and live in the Spirit we are freed from committing sin. This point is also made by Jesus in John 8:33-36.

Then in verses 10 and 13 Paul goes on to say:

“The death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. Do not yield your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but yield yourselves to God as men who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments of righteousness."

Then in verse 16 Paul tells us what happens if we yield ourselves to sin. This is what he says,

“Do you not know that if you yield yourselves to any one as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?”

Paul reiterates this again in verse 23 by saying,

“The end of those things[sins] is death.”

Paul also lists the things that fall into the category of sins that lead to death. An example of this is found in Galatians 5:19-21 which says:

“Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

You can also read about mortal sin in 1 John 5:15-17. Some translations use the phrase “sin unto death” in place of the word “mortal.”

I hope this helps.

My :twocents: …
What St. Paul said in Romans 8 sounds very similar to what our Lord Jesus Christ said in Mark 7:14-21.

There in nothing outside of a man which can defile him or separate him from God. What defiles a man or separates him from God are the evil things that voluntarily come from within, out of his heart, such as “evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.”

The key you are overlooking in the passage is "any other creature ". You are a creature, but you are NOT the other creatures. It is your will that causes you to run astray.

See, Eze 18;&version=31;

another proof text to expect is,

John 10:28-29
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all ; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.

The text is speaking about someone outside the hand not having the power to take you out of Jesus’ hand. But, you can walk away from his hand.

Otherwise, this passage addressed to Christians would make no sense at all,

Rev 3

14"To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. 19Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. **20Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. **21To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."

Thanks for all of the help.:thumbsup:

True Born Again Christians do not sin mortally…

If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this. All unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin not leading to death. (1 John 5:16-17 NAS95)


We know that no one who is born of God sins (practices sin); but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him. (1 John 5:18 NAS95)

They simply will not sin mortally…mortal sin is something that an unbeliever does. The child of God will not.

You are stretching the text. Those that are born again can fall into mortal sin. Those born of God do not live a sinful lifestyle. That is they do not sin continuously. You referred to this as “(practices sin.)”

You need to put all of this into the context of scripture as a whole. John also has this to say about sin:

1 Jn 1:6-10
"If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth; but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us."

James is also very helpful in all of this. In James 5:19-20 it says:

My brethren, if any one among you wanders from the truth and some one brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his[the sinner’s] soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.”

This verse is very clear in telling us that one of the Christian bretheren can wander from the truth, but can be brought back from the sinful error of his way, and that his soul can thus be saved from death. That is, he can be brought back from deadly or mortal sin.

You might also want to consider Revelation 2:18-23 which says:

"And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: 'The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze. “'I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and beguiling my servants to practice immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her immorality. Behold, I will throw her on a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her doings; and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches shall know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve.”

I could cite many more passages of scripture that demonstrate the point, but these should be sufficient.

I could explain all of your passages to you but you would not accept my answers to your passages. You cannot explain my passages that I would bring to you as your answers would contradict.

What you need to avoid is using works like “brethren” to connote that it is speaking of someone who, in fact, is a Christian that is in Christ. This passage in James can be likened to 1John 5:16…about the sin NOT leading to death. There are those in the midst of the brethren who are NOT born again. James 5 is for the purpose of some of those being saved because of our constant looking out for eathother.

Ultimately, you place no stock in Justification by faith alone. Where one is made righteous in Christ through the imputation of His righteousness to us while our sin is imputed to Him and we become married to Christ. It is on the basis of this relationship which comes by faith at the hearing of the gospel that we are declared righteous…

1344 δικαιόω [dikaioo /dik·ah·yo·o/] v. From 1342; TDNT 2:211; TDNTA 168; GK 1467; 40 occurrences; AV translates as “justify” 37 times, “be freed” once, “be righteous” once, and “justifier” once. 1 to render righteous or such he ought to be. 2 to show, exhibit, evince, one to be righteous, such as he is and wishes himself to be considered. 3 to declare, pronounce, one to be just, righteous, or such as he ought to be.

Strong, James: The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible : Showing Every Word of the Text of the Common English Version of the Canonical Books, and Every Occurrence of Each Word in Regular Order. electronic ed. Ontario : Woodside Bible Fellowship., 1996, S. G1344

It seems this does not matter to someone like yourself. Once perfected…once a sheep we cannot be plucked out of the hands of God…

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.” (John 10:27-29, NKJV)

I can say this…concerning a Christian…

“For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:14, NKJV)

Those who are beiong sanctified - are true Christians - have been perfected forever. Perfected applies to the one being sanctified…forever applies to the one being sanctified.

No condemnation - those that have passed from death to life - SHALL NOT come into condemnation.

““Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” (John 5:24, NKJV)

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.” (John 10:27-29, NKJV)

You contradict in your interpretation OR your interpretation is wrong.

“True Born Again Christians” is not an expression used in the Bible.

How do you define “True Born Again Christians”? Do you define them as those who hear the word and immediately receive it with joy and endure for a while? In Matthew 13:20-21, our Lord Jesus Christ says that even these can, “when tribulation or persecution arise on account of the word,” fall away. Our Lord’s remarks only make sense if “True Born Again Christians” can sin mortally.

How do you define “True Born Again Christians”? Do you define them as those who have “been enlightened and have tasted the heavenly gift and become sharers in the Holy Spirit”? as those who “have tasted the word of God and the powers of the age to come”? Hebrews 6:6 says that even these can “fall away” and once they do “it is impossible to make them repent again, since they are crucifying the Son of God for themselves and holding him in contempt.” St. Paul’s remarks only make sense if “True Born Again Christians” can sin mortally.

How do you define “True Born Again Christians”? Do you define them as those who “have been raised with Christ”, who “have died” and whose “life is hid with Christ in God”? as those who “have put off the old nature…and put on the new nature”? In Colossians 3:1-10, St. Paul tells even these that they must “put to death what is earthly in you: fornication… now put them all away” because, as he says in Galatians 5:21, those who commit fornication “shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” If “True Born Again Christians” are incapable of committing the mortal sin of fornication, why does St. Paul tell them that they must now put fornication away? St. Paul’s remarks only make sense if even “True Born Again Christians” can sin mortally.

How do you define “True Born Again Christians”? Do you define them as wild olive branches that are grafted into the cultivated olive tree because of faith. In Romans 11:21, St. Paul says that even these “will be cut off” if they do not remain in God’s kindness. St. Paul’s remarks only make sense if “True Born Again Christians” can sin mortally.

I assume that you would classify St. Paul as a “True Born Again Christian,” yet even St. Paul understood that he could sin mortally. In Hebrew 10:26-27, he includes himself when he says, “If we sin willfully after receiving the truth, there remains for us no further sacrifice for sin—only a fearful expectation of judgment and a flaming fire to consume the adversaries of God.” Similarly, in 1 Corinthians 9:27, St. Paul says, “I pommel my body and subdue it, lest after preaching [the good news of salvation in Christ Jesus] to others I myself should be disqualified.” St. Paul’s remarks only make sense if “True Born Again Christians,” like himself, can sin mortally.

By the way, as I mentioned at the beginning, your expression “True Born Again Christian” is not found in the Bible and neither are the expressions “True Christian” and “Born Again Christian.” In the Bible, there are only “Christians.” Anyone who believes in our Lord Jesus Christ and is baptised in him name, with water using the Trinitarian formula found in Matthew 28:19, is a Christian, true and born again.

Yes, of course, James doesn’t know what he is talking about in using the term “brethren” and neither do we. Please be advised that James opens his epistle with the following:

James 1:1-4
JAMES, A servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greeting. Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

The second chapter of the epistle starts with this statement:

James 2:1
My brethren, show no partiality as you hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.

The third chapter of the epistle starts with this statement.

James 3:1
Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, for you know that **we **who teach shall be judged with greater strictness.

James 5:7 says:
Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord.

Throughout his letter, James refers to his listeners as “brethren” and he does so in a context that indicates that they are Christian believers that hold the faith of the Lord. James issues warnings to these believers. The context never changes from speaking to and about Christians to some other context of speaking to and about non-Christians. The only time that non-believers are mentioned in any of the NT letters is usually as warning to tell the listeners not to act as the pagans do. They are frequently told to repent when they fall into sin and idolatry.

Your view of this is a complete non-starter. You cannot try to ignore verses in scripture by claiming that they do not apply to Christians believers because you disagree with the implications for your theology. This is eisegesis because you are letting your doctrine drive your reading and understanding of scripture.

Perhaps we could move that discussion over to the OSAS thread?

I am always amazed when Protestants come to a Catholic Board and tell us what “you need”. Since the NT was written by, for, and about Catholics, and Catholics have been given the understanding of what the writers meant through the Apostolic Succession, I think we have what we “need”. :thumbsup: Yes, there may be non-believers among the brethren, but the epistle is addressed to the brethren, not the unbelievers.

James 5:7-8
7 Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient over it until it receives the early and the late rain. 8 You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

Why would unbelievers receive such instruction? :confused:

This is true. The Teaching of Jesus is that we are justified by grace. Grace works through our faith, and is evident in our works. The concept of “imputation” is part of a “new gospel” invented by the Reformers 1500 years after Christ. God is also not interested in stopping at the declaration that we are righteous, but wants us to become, in fact. righteous.

Justification is very important to Catholics, which you would understand if you understood Catholic soteriology. It seems, though, that you make a number of assumptions based on ignorance. Catholics will affirm that none of His sheep can be plucked from His hand. But we also believe that he does not keep the sheep in his hand by paralyzing them, and that they are able to jump out. :wink:


And when on decides to stop being sanctified, one has left the path of perfection.

Catholics undertand hearing and believing to mean obedience. If men lose their free will to disobey God, why are there so many exhortations in scripture to “continue, remain, be steadfast” etc.?

How can one’s name be blotted out of the book of life if it was not written there in the first place?

Rev 3:5
5 He who conquers shall be clad thus in white garments, and I will not blot his name out of the book of life;

Rom.8:36-39. Your reading the King James version. I like the NIV myself. :slight_smile:
Rom.8:28-39 tells us we are more than Conquerors in Jesus Christ. He went before us to Calvary’s Cross. No one can separate us form the love of God in Jesus Christ.

God bless,

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