What are the sins that are unforgivable, even with repentance?


#1

What are the sins that are unforgivable, even with repentance?

We are told anecdotally that sins are forgiven with repentance but nothing is defined as to what is a step too far, what sin is too grave or too mortal that it can't be forgiven because maybe the person knew what they were doing when they did it (taking advantage of God's Grace) eg. repeated sexual immorality and lusting? or perhaps, it was just too diabolical like murder, somebody might be taken by the devil spirit for a moment in anger and killed somebody in hate? If this evil person repented, would this be forgivable? Is there anything in scripture to support your view, sorry these examples are extreme but I suppose they would be extreme ones arguably.

To contextualize the protestants like the Calvinists believe that people are designated as the elect or the reprobates, just 2 groups. They believe that the elect have secured salvation and it can't be lost. And I suppose this question bears on Calvinism too but I'm just appealing to the catholic side.

Thanks.


#2

[quote="123Strontium, post:1, topic:319404"]
What are the sins that are unforgivable, even with repentance?

[/quote]

Perhaps I do not understand the question.

There are no unforgiveable sins.

[quote="123Strontium, post:1, topic:319404"]
We are told anecdotally that sins are forgiven with repentance but nothing is defined as to what is a step too far, what sin is too grave or too mortal that it can't be forgiven because maybe the person knew what they were doing when they did it (taking advantage of God's Grace) eg. repeated sexual immorality and lusting? or perhaps, it was just too diabolical like murder, somebody might be taken by the devil spirit for a moment in anger and killed somebody in hate?

[/quote]

We are told by whom? Not the Church.

This is not Church teaching.

[quote="123Strontium, post:1, topic:319404"]

If this evil person repented, would this be forgivable?

[/quote]

Of course.

[quote="123Strontium, post:1, topic:319404"]
Is there anything in scripture to support your view, sorry these examples are extreme but I suppose they would be extreme ones arguably.

[/quote]

Is there anything in scripture supporting your position that sins canno be forgiven?

[quote="123Strontium, post:1, topic:319404"]

To contextualize the protestants like the Calvinists believe that people are designated as the elect or the reprobates, just 2 groups. They believe that the elect have secured salvation and it can't be lost. And I suppose this question bears on Calvinism too but I'm just appealing to the catholic side.

[/quote]

There is no "Catholic side" to that proposition. It is false.


#3

There is only one thing that is mentioned in the Bible as an "unforgivable sin" and that is the Sin Against the Holy Spirit. However, the understanding of it's unforgiveableness is very nuanced and needs explanation.

However, do not worry; all your sins can be forgiven in Confessions. :)

Here is an article by James Akin from EWTN (who, I think is our Catholic Answers Jimmy Akin) talking about the Sin Against the Holy Spirit.
ewtn.com/library/ANSWERS/UNFORGIV.HTM


#4

[quote="Domnall, post:3, topic:319404"]
There is only one thing that is mentioned in the Bible as an "unforgivable sin" and that is the Sin Against the Holy Spirit. However, the understanding of it's unforgiveableness is very nuanced and needs explanation.

However, do not worry; all your sins can be forgiven in Confessions. :)

Here is an article by James Akin from EWTN (who, I think is our Catholic Answers Jimmy Akin) talking about the Sin Against the Holy Spirit.
ewtn.com/library/ANSWERS/UNFORGIV.HTM

[/quote]

The OP specifically is talking about sins for which one has contrition/repentance. The unforgiveable sin is final impenitence-- NOT repenting.


#5

[quote="123Strontium, post:1, topic:319404"]
What are the sins that are unforgivable, even with repentance?

We are told anecdotally that sins are forgiven with repentance but nothing is defined as to what is a step too far, what sin is too grave or too mortal that it can't be forgiven because maybe the person knew what they were doing when they did it (taking advantage of God's Grace) eg. repeated sexual immorality and lusting? or perhaps, it was just too diabolical like murder, somebody might be taken by the devil spirit for a moment in anger and killed somebody in hate? If this evil person repented, would this be forgivable? Is there anything in scripture to support your view, sorry these examples are extreme but I suppose they would be extreme ones arguably.

To contextualize the protestants like the Calvinists believe that people are designated as the elect or the reprobates, just 2 groups. They believe that the elect have secured salvation and it can't be lost. And I suppose this question bears on Calvinism too but I'm just appealing to the catholic side.

Thanks.

[/quote]

There is no sin that is not forgivable. God's grace and mercy are infinite and if one truly repents of their sins, and confesses them, they are forgiven! Glory be to God!


#6

I remember being told once (I forget who the speaker was) that the only unforgivable sin was Despair, because it denied the power of God to forgive, and denied the desire and ability of the sinner to repent.


#7

To say that any sin is not forgiveable even if repented is to put limits not only on God's mercy but also His power to save those who repent and wish to be saved.

Besides - He told us to forgive those who sin against us 70 times 7 times (meaning an infinite number of times) if they keep repenting.

It would be inconsistent of Him to say that if He does not likewise forgive the truly repentant as many times as they truly repent and no matter what the sin.


#8

[quote="1ke, post:2, topic:319404"]
Perhaps I do not understand the question.

There are no unforgiveable sins.

We are told by whom? Not the Church.

This is not Church teaching.

Of course.

Is there anything in scripture supporting your position that sins canno be forgiven?

There is no "Catholic side" to that proposition. It is false.

[/quote]

There is a catholic side to this, because the protestants believe that salvation is secured, but catholics believe that salvation can be lost from repeated sinning, hence 'fallen from grace'. and how sin separates us from God, I imagine it could be possible that the gulf between the person and God become great if sin is embraced in their lifestyle.

Plus I suppose a relevant question is how does my question bear on the

Mtthew 7:13

"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.

So how do we know what constitutes a life on the wider road v's the narrow road.? What does this wide road mean?


#9

[quote="1ke, post:4, topic:319404"]
The OP specifically is talking about sins for which one has contrition/repentance. The unforgiveable sin is final impenitence-- NOT repenting.

[/quote]

Right - all sins are forgiveable by God, and can be absolved by a priest or bishop through the ministry of the Church.

The Church teaches that the one "unforgivable sin" mentioned by Christ ("against the Holy Spirit") is final impenitence - the refusal to be sorry for one's sins. Repentance and sorrow for sins are always necessary for forgiveness, so this makes much sense. It also reflects the fact that God respects the free will of human beings - that is, we all have the free will to reject God's offer of mercy. If sins were forgiven "automatically," that would not be in keeping with the mystery of God's gift of free will to humankind.

But you could be the most horrible serial killer in the world and as long as you repent of what you did, confess your sins properly in the sacrament, and intend never to do it again, you are forgiven by God (though you will probably suffer the legal consequences, naturally). God's greatest attribute, as many theologians often say, is his mercy.


#10

If upon repentance, all sins are forgivable, what's the point of being good ? I personally think that I'd rather play it safe in life by living morally, I know what displeases God from scripture so I'd rather not go counter to this *if I can help it. *

I feel morally obligated to encourage others to do what is right, even though they know that sins can be forgiven. Because how do we really know?, when you read scripture, God's character has two sides, anger and mercy? But i appreciate that God is merciful. However, you get most of this merciful stuff from the epistles of St Paul. The Gospels Jesus speaks of obeying the Law. St Paul seems to contradict Jesus ?

Jesus says we do need to obey the law. St Paul says we don't need to obey the Law, ....

I imagine the protestants would be saying that I am rejecting grace but I don't feel that I am, since in catholicism, sacramental grace bestows us with the power to overcome sin and temptation. I would encourage playing it safe.


#11

[quote="123Strontium, post:10, topic:319404"]
If upon repentance, all sins are forgivable, what's the point of being good ? I personally think that I'd rather play it safe in life by living morally, I know what displeases God from scripture so I'd rather not go counter to this *if I can help it. *

I feel morally obligated to encourage others to do what is right, even though they know that sins can be forgiven. Because how do we really know?, when you read scripture, God's character has two sides, anger and mercy? But i appreciate that God is merciful. However, you get most of this merciful stuff from the epistles of St Paul. The Gospels Jesus speaks of obeying the Law. St Paul seems to contradict Jesus ?

Jesus says we do need to obey the law. St Paul says we don't need to obey the Law, ....

I imagine the protestants would be saying that I am rejecting grace but I don't feel that I am, since in catholicism, sacramental grace bestows us with the power to overcome sin and temptation. I would encourage playing it safe.

[/quote]

I would say what is the point of repentance then, if sins are unforgivable? Why not wallow in my sins and sin more since I am damned regardless?

Further - do you think that Prodigal Son who was indeed merely forgiven for repenting, or the woman in adultery who was let off lightly, went straight back to their lives of sin? That the fact of forgiveness in and of itself did not inspire them to lead better loves afterward?


#12

[quote="LilyM, post:11, topic:319404"]
I would say what is the point of repentance then, if sins are unforgivable? Why not wallow in my sins and sin more since I am damned regardless?

Further - do you think that Prodigal Son who was indeed merely forgiven for repenting, or the woman in adultery who was let off lightly, went straight back to their lives of sin? That the fact of forgiveness in and of itself did not inspire them to lead better loves afterward?

[/quote]

No, that doesn't make sense, sins have to be acknowledged first as sins, then you feel repentant, then you're forgiven upon confession, You have to do it in that order. Sins aren't forgiven without repentance. Wallowing in sin needn't happen if you've repented and are determined not to do it again. That's the whole point.

Yes, I do acknowledge the power of forgiveness, but being comfortable with sin is a dodgy state of mind too, encouraging a comfort with sin is also ill-advised as it imperils other souls. It's that equilibrium of feeling hate towards sin, but then feeling repentant when you 'do' do it, if you know it displeases God and you love God, why would you do it? It's only when you know you can help it, then you avoid it. But not to be comfortable and defeatist about one's relationship to sin.

Our overarching aim in life is to become like Christ, that's what my nun/chaplain taught me and that's what the bible says, to be 'Christlike'. And not to come up with evasive reasoning to excuse our indulgent tendencies, we can't play legalistic games with God's Law.

Matthew 5:48

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.


#13

Apologies - I was using ‘repentance’ as shorthand for the whole process of recognising sin, seeking forgiveness and trying to sin no more.

Now why on earth would I seek forgiveness for a sin that was unforgivable? And why would I try to live a better life if I, because of that past unforgiveable sin, I was damned regardless of whether I lived better or continued sinning? Why would I try to please God if I knew I had earned His eternal displeasure by my past unforgivable sin? That’s what I mean when I say that if sins are unforgivable then there is no point repenting.

You seem to think that forgiveness makes sin easier. That is a possibility, true. one can become complacent and take it for granted. Such is a sin in itself, called presumption.

And I think the Catholic practice of confession to a priest makes one more aware of this. I certainly, even at my ripe old age and having confessed more times than I care to remember, do not find it by any means a comfortable process or one that I care to repeat too often. And the only way to avoid that is to do my best never to sin. I doubt many people would say that they like or enjoy the process of confession or that they find such makes it easier for them to sin. In fact many avoid confession precisely because it is NOT comfortable or easy.

Besides which, UNforgiveness also makes sin easier, just for different reasons, as I explained above. It leads to the sin of despair of God’s mercy.

You haven’t answered my question as to why Jesus would require us to forgive our repentant brethren as often as they repent if He does not do likewise. Why too would He say ‘all the sins of men will be forgiven them’ if such were not true?


#14

=123Strontium;10510735]What are the sins that are unforgivable, even with repentance?

We are told anecdotally that sins are forgiven with repentance but nothing is defined as to what is a step too far, what sin is too grave or too mortal that it can't be forgiven because maybe the person knew what they were doing when they did it (taking advantage of God's Grace) eg. repeated sexual immorality and lusting? or perhaps, it was just too diabolical like murder, somebody might be taken by the devil spirit for a moment in anger and killed somebody in hate? If this evil person repented, would this be forgivable? Is there anything in scripture to support your view, sorry these examples are extreme but I suppose they would be extreme ones arguably.

To contextualize the protestants like the Calvinists believe that people are designated as the elect or the reprobates, just 2 groups. They believe that the elect have secured salvation and it can't be lost. And I suppose this question bears on Calvinism too but I'm just appealing to the catholic side.

Thanks.

Their is according to Christ Himself ONLY ONE unforgivable sin:

Denial of God HIMSELF

EVEN taht will be forgiven to those who sincerily repent and CONVERT! Amen

**A better, perhaps question is to ask:

What does it actually mean to actually be a "follower of Christ"?

It means WHO He is

What He is

And Obedience to ALL that He wants; commands and mandates**.:thumbsup:


#15

[quote="LilyM, post:13, topic:319404"]
Apologies - I was using 'repentance' as shorthand for the whole process of recognising sin, seeking forgiveness and trying to sin no more.

Now why on earth would I seek forgiveness for a sin that was unforgivable? And why would I try to live a better life if I, because of that past unforgiveable sin, I was damned regardless of whether I lived better or continued sinning? Why would I try to please God if I knew I had earned His eternal displeasure by my past unforgivable sin? That's what I mean when I say that if sins are unforgivable then there is no point repenting.

You seem to think that forgiveness makes sin easier. That is a possibility, true. one can become complacent and take it for granted. Such is a sin in itself, called presumption.

And I think the Catholic practice of confession to a priest makes one more aware of this. I certainly, even at my ripe old age and having confessed more times than I care to remember, do not find it by any means a comfortable process or one that I care to repeat too often. And the only way to avoid that is to do my best never to sin. I doubt many people would say that they like or enjoy the process of confession or that they find such makes it easier for them to sin. In fact many avoid confession precisely because it is NOT comfortable or easy.

Besides which, UNforgiveness also makes sin easier, just for different reasons, as I explained above. It leads to the sin of despair of God's mercy.

You haven't answered my question as to why Jesus would require us to forgive our repentant brethren as often as they repent if He does not do likewise. Why too would He say 'all the sins of men will be forgiven them' if such were not true?

[/quote]

I don't have an answer to that question because I'm not sure I know the answer. My indeterminate view of this comes from this: In catholicism sin separates us from God, also as Catholics we believe that salvation can be lost if we succumb repeatedly to sin as sin separates us from God, (whether that's with repenting or not I don't know, because how do we know sincere repenting from lip service repenting?, since if a person is knowingly repeating a sin and saying they won't do it again, is that not abusing Grace?), the power of the sacramental flesh of Christ is what empowers us to overcome sin, does this not make the whole point of our life to try and perfect ourselves as Christians through the course of our life span? I'm not saying that people will be sinless by their late stage in life, but there should be wisdom with age where repeating the same sins would be less, surely? Because otherwise why would there be sacramental grace through the eucharist where we take every week or day?


#16

[quote="LilyM, post:13, topic:319404"]
Apologies - I was using 'repentance' as shorthand for the whole process of recognising sin, seeking forgiveness and trying to sin no more.

Now why on earth would I seek forgiveness for a sin that was unforgivable? And why would I try to live a better life if I, because of that past unforgiveable sin, I was damned regardless of whether I lived better or continued sinning? Why would I try to please God if I knew I had earned His eternal displeasure by my past unforgivable sin? That's what I mean when I say that if sins are unforgivable then there is no point repenting.

You seem to think that forgiveness makes sin easier. That is a possibility, true. one can become complacent and take it for granted. Such is a sin in itself, called presumption.

And I think the Catholic practice of confession to a priest makes one more aware of this. I certainly, even at my ripe old age and having confessed more times than I care to remember, do not find it by any means a comfortable process or one that I care to repeat too often. And the only way to avoid that is to do my best never to sin. I doubt many people would say that they like or enjoy the process of confession or that they find such makes it easier for them to sin. In fact many avoid confession precisely because it is NOT comfortable or easy.

Besides which, UNforgiveness also makes sin easier, just for different reasons, as I explained above. It leads to the sin of despair of God's mercy.

You haven't answered my question as to why Jesus would require us to forgive our repentant brethren as often as they repent if He does not do likewise. Why too would He say 'all the sins of men will be forgiven them' if such were not true?

[/quote]

Sorry if this is a prying question but have you had protestant influence in your religion at all?


#17

An odd question. That’s like someone wondering if they truly love their spouse or are just saying they love their spouse - surely a person knows their own mind and motives sufficiently to be aware of whether they are genuine or not in their professions of love. And the same with their professions of repentance.

Yes, we are to try to keep perfecting ourselves, and yes one should improve over the course of one’s life. Which has nothing to do with sins being unforgivable or not. Salvation is not lost through repeated sin on its own, but through mortal sin only, and more specifically failure to repent when we do mortally sin. We have to sincerely wish to amend our lives when we confess. If we INTEND to go out and sin again, that is presumption and we are not absolved. If we sincerely INTEND to avoid sin, then we are forgiven. Unless and until we fall into mortal sin again.

St Peter said even the just man falls seven times a day, so none of us will achieve perfection on earth, as hard as we try. That is why we need forgiveness. Of course our repentance and our efforts to not sin must be sincere, but even the best of us fall at least in small ways regardless of our sincere wish to be perfect and our best efforts to be so.

If we could all be perfect in this life then purgatory would not be necessary for some prior to entering Heaven.

No I am a cradle Catholic. Nothing of what I have said is unCatholic at all. In fact it is the idea of certain sins being unforgiveable even when repented that comes straight from Calvinist Protestant theology.


#18

I have found some scripture whether this helps or not: source: carm.org/bible-difficulties/matthew-mark/can-you-be-forgiven-all-sins-or-not

All sins not forgiven
(Matthew 12:31-32) - "Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. 32 And whoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age, or in the age to come."
(Mark 3:29) - "but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin.

All sins forgiven
(Acts 13:39) - "and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses."
(Titus 2:13-14) - "looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus; 14who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds."
(1 John 1:9) - "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

But this is a non catholic website, the catholic framework of interpretation may disagree literal lifting from scripture without scriptural context, I'm not sure, I'm still in the process of researching.


#19

[quote="LilyM, post:17, topic:319404"]
An odd question. That's like someone wondering if they truly love their spouse or are just saying they love their spouse - surely a person knows their own mind and motives sufficiently to be aware of whether they are genuine or not in their professions of love. And the same with their professions of repentance.

Yes, we are to try to keep perfecting ourselves, and yes one should improve over the course of one's life. Which has nothing to do with sins being unforgivable or not. Salvation is not lost through repeated sin on its own, but through mortal sin only, and more specifically failure to repent when we do mortally sin. We have to sincerely wish to amend our lives when we confess. If we INTEND to go out and sin again, that is presumption and we are not absolved. If we sincerely INTEND to avoid sin, then we are forgiven. Unless and until we fall into mortal sin again.

St Peter said even the just man falls seven times a day, so none of us will achieve perfection on earth, as hard as we try. That is why we need forgiveness. Of course our repentance and our efforts to not sin must be sincere, but even the best of us fall at least in small ways regardless of our sincere wish to be perfect and our best efforts to be so.

If we could all be perfect in this life then purgatory would not be necessary for some prior to entering Heaven.

No I am a cradle Catholic. Nothing of what I have said is unCatholic at all. In fact it is the idea of certain sins being unforgiveable even when repented that comes straight from Calvinist Protestant theology.

[/quote]

But if life is about perfecting oneself to a closer state of grace, how can a murderer who say murders his whole family, be justified, or say incest r*pe eg. Joseph Fritzl- even upon repentance? I know this is an extreme example, but if we take the most extreme sin as a case study with regards to forgivable and unforgivable sins.

Yes, I can kind of see how you're reasoning, however this is human reasoning that is homespun and it's what the protestants do, but the catholic church use objective standards from which to monitor progress, so personal reflections are not the exclusive source of determination because we are unreliable inherently.

I have a link: it's quite good - Catholicism v's Protestantism debate on justification.
There are 8 * 10 minute parts to this debate

youtube.com/watch?v=XpbihA1vGD8


#20

You’re getting your teaching from CARM now? Try going on their forums and defending Catholic teaching on the Eucharist, the Papacy etc and see how far you get. CARM is pathologically, frothing-at-the-mouth anti-Catholic.

Then go read the sections of the Cattchism of the Catholic Church pertaining to sin, salvation and Confession.

And tell me why the Good Thief was forgiven - and promised a place in Heaven - the instant he sought forgiveness - despite his heinous sins? And St Peter? and St Paul?

When according to you what Peter and Paul did was unforgiveable - at least as bad if not far worse than Joseph Fritzl and his like - being denials and persecution of Christ rather than harms done to mere men?

Why would a Joseph Fritzl not be perfectible if he repented? Going from being an unrepentant and active sexual criminal to being a repentant and former one is a huge step towards being perfect. Some of our greatest saints were heinous sinners - in JF’s league or worse - who did repent and lead better lives.


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