Protestant needs help understanding


#1

So I have been reading tons of Threads within these pages. I really enjoy the forums. I have been told my whole Baptist life that after I was saved and Baptized all my sins were forgiven. Now I have been questioning my faith and see that the CC does not see it that way. Why must I confess my sins to man instead of directly to Jesus? You mean to tell me the “ask and you shall receive, knock and the door shall be opened” thing doesn’t work? All this time praying to Jesus for forgiveness has been for naught? Please explain. I have been struggling with this for some time.

jr


#2

Jesus chose to make the ordinary forgiveness of sins come from Him, through appointed persons. See John 20:23 : ).


#3

When you were baptized all previous sins were forgiven. If you haven’t already obtained one get a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. As far as confession goes it is awesome. I was raised baptist and often felt unforgiven. I would keep repenting the same past sins. The sacrament of reconciliation has given me much peace. It is not so scary. Jesus is still doing the forgiving but the priest is his representative. Jesus gave the apostles the power to forgive sins. I hope this helps but maybe someone else can do better.


#4

Well, first off, Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit into the Apostles and told them that whatever sins they retain are retained and whatever sins they forgive are forgiven (I think this is the only time besides when God breathes life into Adam that God breathes on someone. I think that’s significant somehow :hmmm: ).

But why would Jesus want us to do it this way instead of just praying for forgiveness? There’s a good book about the sacraments by Scott Hahn called “Swear to God” which explains this well. Let’s see if I can do it justice: during Jesus’ ministry people would come to Him and touch His body or His clothes and His power would come out of Him and heal them. This power has been spread through the Church, Christ’s mystical body. We physically come to the Church and the power of Christ heals our souls when we go to confession.

I think confession also helps us put our pride down. I mean, let’s be honest, it is much tougher to go to confession.:o

As for your forgiveness, I don’t think it has been in vain. You didn’t know better. Your Baptism was most likely valid as well. That being said, if the Spirit is moving you to the fullness of the Truth, you better follow!:thumbsup:


#5

And all this is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting their trespasses against them and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. (2 Cor 5:18-20).

In the Didache (circa 90AD), “In the congregation thou shalt confess thy transgressions, and thou shalt not betake thyself to prayer with an evil conscience. This is the Way of Life” (4:14).

Pope St. Clement (circa 90AD) "Ye therefore, who laid the foundation of this sedition, submit yourselves ot the presbyters (priests), and receive correction so as to repent, bending the knees of your hearts.

This sure seems pretty clear to me.

Junior, I would suggest going to talk to one of your Catholic friends, someone who is really devout in their faith. Ask them what they think of Confession. Is it a gift from God, or is it another rule we Catholics “have to abide by”.

If they truly revel in their faith, if they Love God with all their heart and soul, if they “preach the Gospel every day, sometime even using words”, if they are a “Light of the World”, and if they are truly striving to lead a Christ-like life, I would be willing to bet you that they consider the Sacrament of Penance one of Jesus’ greatest gifts to His Body, the Church!

God Bless,

NotWorthy


#6

I’m a former protestant, drawing closer to the RCC. I have a variation of junior’s question. would i have to go to reconciliation for every sin or just the major ones? i do alot of cursing during the morning drive to work and other things i guess would be considered small. I really don’t know a whole lot about the church because i don’t have any relatives who are catholic, and i was raised in the church of christ.


#7

[quote=speedy5]I’m a former protestant, drawing closer to the RCC. I have a variation of junior’s question. would i have to go to reconciliation for every sin or just the major ones? i do alot of cursing during the morning drive to work and other things i guess would be considered small. I really don’t know a whole lot about the church because i don’t have any relatives who are catholic, and i was raised in the church of christ.
[/quote]

You are only obligated to confess mortal sins (grave matter, full knowledge and consent), although it’s a good idea to confess venial ones too. I like to think of it this way: Say we are tied to God with a rope. A mortal sin would be a clean cut of the rope. Confession reconnects us to God. A venial sin would just fray the rope. However, the more venial sins you let build up, the weaker your connection to God and it becomes that much easier to fall into mortal sin. Frequent confession of venial sins can help keep that rope strong!:thumbsup:


#8

thanks. i never thought of things that way.


#9

[quote=Junior]So I have been reading tons of Threads within these pages. I really enjoy the forums. I have been told my whole Baptist life that after I was saved and Baptized all my sins were forgiven. Now I have been questioning my faith and see that the CC does not see it that way. Why must I confess my sins to man instead of directly to Jesus? You mean to tell me the “ask and you shall receive, knock and the door shall be opened” thing doesn’t work? All this time praying to Jesus for forgiveness has been for naught? Please explain. I have been struggling with this for some time.

jr
[/quote]

Rest assured, junior, that it is God who imparts the Grace of forgiveness, and praying for that forgiveness in repentance is a good thing to do (your previous prayer was not in vain :wink: ). In fact, every week near the beginning of Mass, Catholics as a community pray to God for forgiveness of sins. We say aloud:

“I confess to the Almighty God, and to you my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault. In my thoughts and in my words; in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do, and I ask the Blessed Mary ever virgin, all the angels and saints, and you my brothers and sisters to pray for me to the Lord our God. Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.”

I think this is a truly beautiful prayer.

One of the things that seems to be regarded differently between Catholic and Protestant denominations is the idea of how private sin truly is. Catholic doctrine recognizes that sin is not “just between me and God”. That position is very evident in the prayer above, where we confess that we are sinners publicly and ask everyone to pray for God’s mercy for us. In this way we lift each other up in our efforts to lead Godly lives. The general protestant position seems to be that sin is very personal, and mostly between the individual and God. Certianly they mostly will support the idea that one should ask one’s neighbor’s forgiveness as well as God’s, but that seems the extent of it.

From the Catholic perspective, there is much more to it than that. Sin has many effects. Not only does it act counter to our relationship with God and our ability to receive the Grace He offers, but it also affects all those close to us. You see, we are all a part of the Body of Christ, and when one part of that body allows sin into his/her life, that sin affects the whole body. Not only does my sin affect me and the person I sinned against, but it affects anyone who may know of what transpired in addition to spiritual effects we may not ever know of. Sin is how Satan weakens, divides, and attempts to separate us from Christ’s Body, which is our source of true life.

And so, since sin affects the whole body, repentence and forgiveness of the sin of one member is part of the mission of the whole body. If the person is disposed to repentence, public confession not only strengthens humility, but allows the body to pray with and for that person, as well as help that person remain accountable to his or her pledge to “go and sin no more”, as Christ commands. (You might ask about what happens if that person is not disposed to repentence. What does Christ say is for the good of the Body in that case? Pick up your Bible and see…)

At one time, I believe, all confessions were done in front of the entire church membership. Imagine that! Over the years, however, much from a practical standpoint, confessions for grave matters were heard privately by the representative of the congregation, the priest.

And just as previous posters have said, the priest also has a spiritual gift by virtue of his ordination (Christ commissioned His Apostles to spread the gospel in His name, giving them the power to act in His name in a miraculous way – the forgivenes of sins!), through the Grace of the Sacrament of reconciliation. The Church teaches that with grave sin – mortal sin – this sacramental Grace is the pre-emminent way God removes that sin and restores us to the state of Grace necessary for our salvation.

The bottom line is that God works through the sacrament, fulfilling His promise to never turn us away if we come back to Him, to impart to us His saving Grace. It is there waiting for anyone who seeks it. So, the only question is, what are people waiting for?

I wish you wisdom and blessings in your search.

Peace,
javelin


#10

[quote=javelin]Rest assured, junior, that it is God who imparts the Grace of forgiveness, and praying for that forgiveness in repentance is a good thing to do (your previous prayer was not in vain :wink: ). In fact, every week near the beginning of Mass, Catholics as a community pray to God for forgiveness of sins. We say aloud:

“I confess to the Almighty God, and to you my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault. In my thoughts and in my words; in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do, and I ask the Blessed Mary ever virgin, all the angels and saints, and you my brothers and sisters to pray for me to the Lord our God. Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.”

I think this is a truly beautiful prayer.

One of the things that seems to be regarded differently between Catholic and Protestant denominations is the idea of how private sin truly is. Catholic doctrine recognizes that sin is not “just between me and God”. That position is very evident in the prayer above, where we confess that we are sinners publicly and ask everyone to pray for God’s mercy for us. In this way we lift each other up in our efforts to lead Godly lives. The general protestant position seems to be that sin is very personal, and mostly between the individual and God. Certianly they mostly will support the idea that one should ask one’s neighbor’s forgiveness as well as God’s, but that seems the extent of it.

From the Catholic perspective, there is much more to it than that. Sin has many effects. Not only does it act counter to our relationship with God and our ability to receive the Grace He offers, but it also affects all those close to us. You see, we are all a part of the Body of Christ, and when one part of that body allows sin into his/her life, that sin affects the whole body. Not only does my sin affect me and the person I sinned against, but it affects anyone who may know of what transpired in addition to spiritual effects we may not ever know of. Sin is how Satan weakens, divides, and attempts to separate us from Christ’s Body, which is our source of true life.

And so, since sin affects the whole body, repentence and forgiveness of the sin of one member is part of the mission of the whole body. If the person is disposed to repentence, public confession not only strengthens humility, but allows the body to pray with and for that person, as well as help that person remain accountable to his or her pledge to “go and sin no more”, as Christ commands. (You might ask about what happens if that person is not disposed to repentence. What does Christ say is for the good of the Body in that case? Pick up your Bible and see…)

At one time, I believe, all confessions were done in front of the entire church membership. Imagine that! Over the years, however, much from a practical standpoint, confessions for grave matters were heard privately by the representative of the congregation, the priest.

And just as previous posters have said, the priest also has a spiritual gift by virtue of his ordination (Christ commissioned His Apostles to spread the gospel in His name, giving them the power to act in His name in a miraculous way – the forgivenes of sins!), through the Grace of the Sacrament of reconciliation. The Church teaches that with grave sin – mortal sin – this sacramental Grace is the pre-emminent way God removes that sin and restores us to the state of Grace necessary for our salvation.

The bottom line is that God works through the sacrament, fulfilling His promise to never turn us away if we come back to Him, to impart to us His saving Grace. It is there waiting for anyone who seeks it. So, the only question is, what are people waiting for?

I wish you wisdom and blessings in your search.

Peace,
javelin
[/quote]

This has got to be one of the best explanations I have ever read. Thanks javelin!


#11

Thanks to all who have responded. I think you guys have it pretty well hemmed up. I will continue to pray on the matter and may post follow ups later.
May God Bless You and Keep You ALL!
Jr


#12

Great post, WBB.

If I may add, there are powerful graces that are obtained through the Sacrament that are unobtainable by any other means.

Junior, I heartily recommend a book called “Frequent Confession: It’s Place in the Spiritual Life”, by Benedict Baur.
*

[font=Verdana]The merits of the death of Christ are applied to those who have sinned after Baptism; this action falls upon our aversion from sin, and elevates us.

This grace is the strengthening and deepening of the supernatural life that already exists in our souls, and an increase in our love for God. It stimulates our will to acts of love of God and of contrition for our sins.

This grace not only blots out sin, but also undoes its evil effects on our souls more fully than when venial sins are forgiven outside of confession. It cures the soul from the weakness that follows venial sin, from the weariness and coldness toward the things of God, and from the inclination toward worldliness. It delivers the soul from its reawakened inordinate inclinations and instincts. [/font]*


#13

Christ gave the power to bind and loose to the Apostles in Matthew (2X). To me, it’s that simple. Clearly, the authority and forgiveness comes from God Alone but through the Apostles.

I have read historical essays regarding the terms “to bind” and “to loose”. Evidently, these were rabbinical terms whose meaning was clear and unambiguous to the Jews at that time. Matthew’s statements from Christ seem more on point regarding the issue sin forgiveness than the quotes you stated above.


#14

[quote=Junior]So I have been reading tons of Threads within these pages. I really enjoy the forums. I have been told my whole Baptist life that after I was saved and Baptized all my sins were forgiven. Now I have been questioning my faith and see that the CC does not see it that way. Why must I confess my sins to man instead of directly to Jesus? You mean to tell me the “ask and you shall receive, knock and the door shall be opened” thing doesn’t work? All this time praying to Jesus for forgiveness has been for naught? Please explain. I have been struggling with this for some time.

jr
[/quote]

God ordained men that they would lead his people to Him. He gave them the authority to forgive sins[John20,Matt18]. Confession serves a couple purposes. First, by going to confession you show your repentance to Christ. The idea that you are willing to go and confess your sins to someone else and leave them behind, shows that you are willing to do what is necisary to serve Christ. Second, it is very therapuetic. By going to confession, I can be assured that I am forgiven for my sins.

If a person does not know about confession, is willing to forgive in other fasions. You may be forgiven for your sins because you did not know that confession was a necesity. But even though you may be forgiven, you should still confess them if you decide to become Catholic.

Cathoolicism does not teach once saved always saved. What the teaching is, is that salvation is a process that lasts our whole life. We were saved yesterday, we are being saved today, and we will be saved tommorrow. We are baptized into the faith and throughout our life, we are supposed to live and show our faith to our neighbors(not in a hypocritical or pharisaic style). This helps us to grow in the faith. Ultimately, we are to show our faith to God. As James said faith without works is dead.

As we live our life, we continue to sin. When we sin, we are supposed to show our faith to God by confessing our sins. THis shows God true repentance.


#15

To Junior and any others here strugglilng with the Sacrament of Reconcilation. First, let me say that this sacrament is not only for saying out loud what offenses we have commited against God - for pointing out the things we have done wrong - a negative thing perhaps but it is also for gain positive grace to be reinstated into our lives.

It is humiliating to confess to another person but it is also rewarding in the fact that God has given us an opportunity to reconnect with Him! He bestows a grace that is reparative. Just like when you have a fight with a close friend and you don’t talk for days or weeks. When you finally get to the place where can talk to that friend and “make up” - how do you feel after that? Like a huge weight has been taken off your shoulders, the weight of the world. Your relationship has been restored, what a wonderful feeling, right? Well, you get the same feeling when you come away from a good confession. You come away with having talked to the representative of Christ. He gave you advise on how not to make the same mistakes again and how to steer clear of sin. It’s not all just negative.

I am in the process of reading a phenominal book - *Lord Have Mercy, *by Scott Hahn. It goes into detail about how God has been giving us ways to confess since Adam and Eve, all through salvation history. Confessing to the appointed represenative of Christ is the ultimate way God gave us to confess our sin. It’s an amazing book. I highly recommend it for anyone wanting to understand more about this wonderful sacrament!


#16

All I can add to what’s been said is that you can never understand the sacraments until you experience them. In mind, this goes double for Reconciliation.


#17

Coming back to the Church confession was one of the hardest things to do, I kept putting it off until one day I realized I was just making excuses to myself and I needed to face my sins.

I can only say as others have said, that the value of confession is not realized usually until afterward.

The strongest arguement I have heard against confession, when a missionary came by was when he quoted the Bible saying that it says something similar to this.

“He commits blasphemy! Who can forgive sins except God alone?” Mark 2:1-12; Matt 9:1-8

Please read these verses in context, and compare it to Jesus saying
"As the Father has sent me, so I send you." Then he breathed on them and said: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive men’s sins, they are forgiven them; if you hold them bound, they are held bound.” John 20:21-23

This just frustrated the missionary and he changed the subject, which is a shame because we should search for the truth and not just try to ask questions to win the discussion.

Scylla


#18

[quote=Junior] You mean to tell me the “ask and you shall receive, knock and the door shall be opened” thing doesn’t work?
[/quote]

Of course it works. But you have to ask. The door will not open if you do not knock.

[quote=Junior] All this time praying to Jesus for forgiveness has been for naught? Please explain. I have been struggling with this for some time.

jr
[/quote]

And your prayers have been answered. He has sent His Apostles and their successors to you so that your sins may be forgiven.

John 20, 20-23:

21 (Jesus) said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the holy Spirit. 23 Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

In His mercy, He has appointed men to whom you can confess and receive absolution for your sins.

You might try this – go to confession, and afterwards ask yourself if you ever SINCERELY examined your sins as you did before and during confession? Did you ever feel relief so deeply as when you heard absolution pronounced?


#19

[quote=javelin]Rest assured, junior, that it is God who imparts the Grace of forgiveness, and praying for that forgiveness in repentance is a good thing to do (your previous prayer was not in vain :wink: ). In fact, every week near the beginning of Mass, Catholics as a community pray to God for forgiveness of sins. We say aloud:

“I confess to the Almighty God, and to you my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault. In my thoughts and in my words; in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do, and I ask the Blessed Mary ever virgin, all the angels and saints, and you my brothers and sisters to pray for me to the Lord our God. Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.”

I think this is a truly beautiful prayer.

One of the things that seems to be regarded differently between Catholic and Protestant denominations is the idea of how private sin truly is. Catholic doctrine recognizes that sin is not “just between me and God”. That position is very evident in the prayer above, where we confess that we are sinners publicly and ask everyone to pray for God’s mercy for us. In this way we lift each other up in our efforts to lead Godly lives. The general protestant position seems to be that sin is very personal, and mostly between the individual and God. Certianly they mostly will support the idea that one should ask one’s neighbor’s forgiveness as well as God’s, but that seems the extent of it.

From the Catholic perspective, there is much more to it than that. Sin has many effects. Not only does it act counter to our relationship with God and our ability to receive the Grace He offers, but it also affects all those close to us. You see, we are all a part of the Body of Christ, and when one part of that body allows sin into his/her life, that sin affects the whole body. Not only does my sin affect me and the person I sinned against, but it affects anyone who may know of what transpired in addition to spiritual effects we may not ever know of. Sin is how Satan weakens, divides, and attempts to separate us from Christ’s Body, which is our source of true life.

And so, since sin affects the whole body, repentence and forgiveness of the sin of one member is part of the mission of the whole body. If the person is disposed to repentence, public confession not only strengthens humility, but allows the body to pray with and for that person, as well as help that person remain accountable to his or her pledge to “go and sin no more”, as Christ commands. (You might ask about what happens if that person is not disposed to repentence. What does Christ say is for the good of the Body in that case? Pick up your Bible and see…)

At one time, I believe, all confessions were done in front of the entire church membership. Imagine that! Over the years, however, much from a practical standpoint, confessions for grave matters were heard privately by the representative of the congregation, the priest.

And just as previous posters have said, the priest also has a spiritual gift by virtue of his ordination (Christ commissioned His Apostles to spread the gospel in His name, giving them the power to act in His name in a miraculous way – the forgivenes of sins!), through the Grace of the Sacrament of reconciliation. The Church teaches that with grave sin – mortal sin – this sacramental Grace is the pre-emminent way God removes that sin and restores us to the state of Grace necessary for our salvation.

The bottom line is that God works through the sacrament, fulfilling His promise to never turn us away if we come back to Him, to impart to us His saving Grace. It is there waiting for anyone who seeks it. So, the only question is, what are people waiting for?

I wish you wisdom and blessings in your search.

Peace,
javelin
[/quote]

Awesome, truly awesome… :bowdown2:


#20

Junior:

First let me say that I admire your honesty (not just with us) but with yourself. You have questions and willing to hear an answer.

I won’t use quotes but would just like to exercise some logic.

If heaven is pure anything impure will not be able to withstand it, the impure item will not have the structural integrity to hold pure truth with impure vessels. Therefore the soul and the body must be perfectly clean if it can stay in heaven.

Now, with regards to sin. Sins taints and weakens the integrity of our soul. That sin was committed on earth. Therefore it has to be left here on earth and not brought to the eternal (lest it be the cause of our demise). We have to leave it here. We should want to leave it here. That’s why confession is essential.

Of course God knows our sins and we should beg for forgiveness prior to confession…in fact we should during our daily Examination of Conscience. But the formal forgiveness has to come from the absolution of the preist acting in the person of Christ. To skip this is like saying one is married but no vows were ever taken.

GKChesterton said that the confessional is the church inside of the Church because of the power and the mystery of the act inside is where we meet Christ and his mercy.

God bless you and your journey into the Catholic Church…the more you learn about it…the more beautiful it becomes because it is the body of Christ.

A.


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