People in mortal sin

Hello Bros. and Sis. in Christ,

My question in this topic is quite straightforward (though I am not sure whether the answer will be easy or not). Anyways, my questions relates to the people who live in a state of mortal sin. I know people in mortal sin who supposedly commit various acts of love and mercy throughout various times in their lives. But does that mean that God won’t accept these acts of mercy/love when a person is in a state of mortal sin?

G-D Bless!

God loves the love and mercy that all of us offer to others.

God desires us to be in a state of grace. Maybe as the person in a state of mortal sin, continues to offer love and mercy to other - they will draw their self back to God and back to a state of grace.

You are quite right in that this is not an easy answer…too many variables and, frankly, some difficulty in discerning if a given individual is actually in a state of mortal sin - or a state of ignorance…

In a strict sense, since the catechism tells us that mortal sin kills charity, the person in mortal sin cannot do true acts of love and mercy and the acts that seem good really are not. Sort of like the things Jesus alluded to where people would do things in order to be praised or for some other self serving reason.

On the other hand, if the acts of mercy ARE true (based in agape love) then it would appear that the Holy Spirit is trying to work in their lives and one must question whether they are truly in a state of mortal sin - or simply ignorant or misguided.


Ah, so you are saying if the sinner keeps feeding the poor, trying to commit selfless acts, etc… eventually over time the person will become a faithful servant of god?

Ok, but the issue is this, if the person in mortal sin is cut away from god’s friendship completely, then how come he is still able from time to time commit acts which are selfless. I mean if mortal sin draws you away from god (since god is all-good), how come the person is still able to do such things? Is it the holy spirit guiding that person still?

Of course, as you know, ignorance is NOT bliss - to be “off the hook” for mortal sin the ignorance must be invincible. Further, as the CCC states (paragraph 1860), no one is ignorant of the natural law. So a man living a homosexual lifestyle would not be ignorant of the sinful nature of those acts. God bless.

God measure people by what they do. If you do a good deed it is a good thing in God’s eyes. Salvation comes only thru The Church, as you well know, but we can rely on the everlasting truth and love God have for us that also those who are not part of His Church have more then a fair possibilty to go to Heaven because of what they have done, not what they are. I am a Catholic, but if I do nothing good I am Hell bound. My neighbour is most likely a Muslim, and if he live his life doing what is pure and right in the eyes of God, he will go to Heaven. The thru meaning of “Salvation only thru The Church” is only because The RCC teach what is right and what God want us to do. It is a “safer way” to Heaven. But doing good no matter what you believe, is the “other” way. It might take a bit longer, but for sure it ends with the person entering the Pearl Gate. If you love your neighbour as you love your self, you do what God want and what The Son did teach, and you can not sin if you can say “Jesus is our Lord”.

I hope you soon join The Church again, and take comfort in the Sacraments. I will think about you in my prayers. May God bless you and lead you home again.

This is a confusing topic. So, say I were in a state of mortal sin, does that mean that I’m not doing good deeds because its the right thing to do, or that I’m doing them for my own selfish reasons?

No. I am saying maybe as a person continues to offer love and mercy to others - they may begin to have a desire to want to be in a state of grace so as to no longer be saying “no” to God. That desire to want to be in a state of grace may actually lead to the person entering once more into a State of Grace.

As love and mercy are being offered to others - it is also being offered to God even if the person is not actively focused on God.

A person can be in a state of mortal sin and at the same time - still desire to serve God. For whatever reason, they have not confessed the mortal sin, yet still long to serve God.

Being in a state of mortal sin does not mean the person has no desire to love God.

Only you and God know what is in your heart and why you do good deeds.

I was married and divorced. I am now remarried. I cannot claim ignorance, because I was aware of Catholic teachings on marriage and divorce. I just didn’t follow them because I was not Catholic and did not think those teachings applied to me. Because I am remarried and have not yet received a Declaration of Nullity, both my husband and myself are in a state of mortal sin.

We have for many years tried our best to be good, kind, caring people because we know that is the right thing to do, even when we weren’t any religion at all. While we wait to fully rectify the situation we continue to do the best we can. God knows whats in our hearts. Just because we are in a state of mortal sin doesn’t mean God has abandoned us. He is with us, helping us, guiding us. God loves us all, saint and sinner alike, and He is always with us even when we don’t recognize His presence.

God does not force anyone to love him. There’s such a thing as natural virtue, but so long as the sinner chooses himself above God, his good actions do not spring from supernatural charity, and therefore do not merit a supernatural reward. God is very merciful, and the sinner can, and should, appeal to that mercy; but he cannot presume upon it.

It boils down to what a person loves most.

Mortal sin by definition is a grave sin against God. For one to continue to live in mortal sin, is their choice. They choose to love grave sin over choosing to love God and obey His will for them. That’s the point. As Jesus put it, “if you love me you will obey my commandments”

That’s why if one continues to live in these sins, they won’t as scripture says, inherit heaven

*]Titus 3: 10 Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, 11knowing that such a man is )perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.
*]Ephesians 5: 3-5 fornication, covetousness……5 Be sure of this, that no fornicator or impure man, or one who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
*]Hebrews 10:25-26 missing mass deliberately, no sacrifice for sin for THEM but a fiery judgement that consumes the adversaries of God.
*]Hebrews 12: 16 - 17 immoraliy, is selling your inheritance
*]Galatians 5: 19 - 21 sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, will not inherit heaven
*]Romans 16:17… dividers don’t serve our Lord but themselves. Stay away from them. Satan will soon be crushed under your feet
*]Colossians 3: 5-6 immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry, …rath of God is coming
*]1 Corinthians 6: 9 - 10 no sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes, nor homosexual offenders ,ἀρσενοκοίτης [FONT=Trebuchet MS]arsenokoitēs] [/FONT]10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.
*]Matthew 15: 19 - 20 murder, adultery, false witness, slander…defile a man

I would not say that the Holy Spirit is guiding them but the Holy Spirit can certainly be at work, prompting the person in the direction of Love - and consequently in the direction of God.


The answer to this will vary from individual to individual.

However - It needs to be recognized that in order to be in a state of mortal sin…one must know they are in said state…Knowledge and free will choice is part of the definition of mortal sin.

So - if a person knows that something is a sin and freely chooses to do it anyway…thus rejecting God as sovereign in their life…have they not departed from God’s Love for some selfish reason already?

In the end - it IS a confusing topic.


Mortal sin cuts us off from God’s sanctifying grace, the grace needed to save. People in mortal sin can still receive graces, hence why sanctifying grace can be restored through the Sacrament of Confession, but just not the grace to be saved.

If someone is actually living in mortal sin (and not just living in ignorance), they are rejecting God’s grace. They are the one’s ruining the friendship, but God still offers us His graces, we just need to accept them from Him.

Remember that for something to be a mortal sin it involves:

  1. Grave matter
  2. Willful commitment to the sin
  3. Knowledge that it is in-fact sinful

So, given these qualifications, someone who sins mortally is saying “No, I know better than you do” to God. So finally, if one is living in a constant state of mortal sin, and they are fully aware of it and will not seek repentance, then they are willfully rejecting God and cannot be saved, no matter how much good they do. But they do need to be fully aware that they are sinning, which is the main difference between living in mortal sin, and living in ignorance.

I’m not sure what you mean by “accept”. God is not obligated to look at those deeds and send the person to heaven for doing them. We cannot so oblige God.

However, God might give you some grace, and you cooperate and do something correct/good, and then God may follow that up with more grace for you to cooperate with and do more correct things, and thus he may lead you back to him. He is interested in us and loving us all the time. Think of the shepherd who left 99 sheep there and went to find the 1 sheep who was lost.

This is quite correct.

However, even though no one is ignorant of natural law…one can have a distorted understanding of it and such distorted understanding can certainly be a form of ignorance.
Thus - a person living a homosexual lifestyle might know that the acts are outside the “norm” but their understanding of natural law might still allow allow for it.

God will hold them accountable…but to what degree… we cannot know.


Well said, well said.


Thank you all you guys for your insights into this! :slight_smile: These answers really did help in me. I read all of them. :thumbsup:

Nobody can do a good deed for selfish reasons. God know that, and such deed is not good in His eyes. A good deed is to do God’s will, and that can never be selfish.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit