ARE WE CATHOLICS SINLESS?
ARE WE CATHOLICS SINLESS?
Mostof us are familiar with the famous Bible story about the woman who was to be stoned for adultery. To the scribes and Pharisees who congregated there to test Jesus and see justice done His words to the gathering were Let he who is without sin cast the first stone (John 8:7). Okay, we all understand that. We accept that. The question is Are There Any of Us Without Sin?
The answer is an emphatic no for the truth is, we all have sin. Every one of us. John 1:8 tells us If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. John 1:10 also states, If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. For we are born into sin handed down from Adam and Eve. This is called Original Sin and is inherited from the beginning of time. Catholic parents, aware of this, bring their infants to be baptized to cancel Original Sin and introduce them into the family of Christ. As babies grow to older ages however, they begin to acquire new sins. Humanity is sinful by nature. It is only through Gods Grace that we have the means to rectify this. With the Sacrament of Confession we redeem ourselves in Gods eyes. This is always made available to us.
What happens to us when we sin? Do we lose our salvation forever? No, we do not if we use Gods gift of confession. St. John 1:9 says If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. For those who truly mean it God will always forgive. Once forgiven, we regain the fellowship we lost with God. All of us know that wonderful feeling of release we feel upon leaving the confessional. We feel renewed. We are re-instated in the family of God. If we sin again that sense of purity disappears.
There are those who willingly go into sin with the idea of seeking confession afterwards. God is not amused with such strategy. This is reminiscent of a parable in Acts 1:5-10 in which a married couple tried to cheat God and the terrible price they paid for that action. Although God does not immediately take these drastic measures today, He who knows all things will ask for an accounting of such behavior when we stand before Him in judgment. The more we fall into sin, however small, the farther and farther away from our Heavenly Father we become.
Since we can never be completely without sin what can we do?
Most important to remember is that when we sin, we do not forfeit our relationship with God although the relationship is no longer pure. It becomes tainted. We will need to make restitution, show our sorrow, and promise to avoid that particular offense in the future. We should not wait but immediately present ourselves in sadness and regret for what we have done. To wait is dangerous because we do not know when we will be called to stand in judgment before Almighty God. Realizing our human limitations, we must stay as close to the Father as we can, for it is only through Him that we can achieve the strength to avoid temptations in the future. As long as we are within shouting distance of Him, we are called back when we get close to sin. It is like a mother who goes shopping in a department store with her small child. The most important thing she tells that child is, Stay close to Mommy. Dont run off where I cannot see or hear you. You will get lost and it will be hard to find you. There are people who are bad and will take you from me. Stay close.
God also tells us Stay close. If we wander too far away we will no longer be able to hear Him tell us to be careful. We become lost without our Fathers guidance and His tender care. Alone, we become immersed in the ways of the world and the ties to our faith become tangled, muddled and sometimes lost forever. With each small sin, we move farther and farther away.
Romans3:9 reads There are none righteous, no not one. If this is so, one might think there is no hope. But there is great hope for each of us. Jesus, the Son of the Living God, died to give us that hope. This life is just a training ground for Eternal Life. Not one of us by ourselves is good enough to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. It is only through Gods Mercy and Grace that we can look forward to our heavenly home. And through that Grace He sent His only Son to pay for our sins. Because of our Lord we can hope to inherit eternal life.
There are great privileges as well as responsibilities to being a Catholic Christian. We know all attractions here on earth are temporary pleasures and like a traveler passing through, we keep in mind that our final destination is being with the Father. Daily we can strive to ask Him to strengthen and forgive us for any sins we might have committed. Through prayer we renew ourselves and know that we are in full fellowship. We will become strong and begin to recognize and avoid the things that cause us to sin.
Are we sinless Christians? No. We are not sinless but through our blessed Savior Jesus Christ who intercedes for us, we can get to the Father and implore Him to pardon our transgressions. He will positively give absolution for every single sin as if we had never committed it. With loving compassion He will erase all sins out of the Book of Life forever.