Author Topic: John 3:9: Those who are reborn cannot sin.  (Read 1032 times)

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Offline Raoul76

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John 3:9: Those who are reborn cannot sin.
« on: August 30, 2009, 03:01:11 AM »
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  • "Whosoever is born of God, committeth not sin: for his seed abideth in him, and he can not sin, because he is born of God."  

    For some reason this quote leapt out at me today.  This would seem to be saying that there is no need for the confessional, because no good Catholic can sin AT ALL.  I need some help.

    I'm thinking about a man I know who was Catholic all his life but cheated on his wife.  It caused him to reflect on himself for years.  Now he says that he was never really Catholic before this cheating incident.  He grew up in the religion, he liked the power it gave him as head of the household, he seemed to use its laws in a self-righteous way.  But it was his fall that woke him up to the fact that he had never really KNOWN Jesus, and that is why the mortal sin was possible.  

    What he said fits right into this quote.  It is also worth mentioning that this man left the Novus Ordo and found sedevacantism AFTER his terrible deed, meaning that it was AFTER the cheating that God really began to speak to him and poured out graces on him, which I believe are very evident.

    So in this case, he was a nominal Catholic, born of water, who after suffering a fall into adultery, and realizing what Jesus had done on the Cross to redeem him, became a full Catholic, born of the Holy Spirit.  Now he says "I love Jesus.  I'm in LOVE with the guy."  He says with heartbreaking contrition, "Michael, I put God on the cross, no one else."  And it is at this point, I would assume, that he became incapable of sin in the sense of the above quote.

    I understand very well that Jesus is saying no man who TRULY knows God would commit a mortal sin, mortal sins being deliberate acts of the will.  But what about venial sins?  What about things like little white lies, or getting angry with your parents, or cursing?  What about letting impure images flit across your head, even if they don't arouse you, simply because you get tired of blocking them all the time?  Do these human imperfections, mistakes, venial sins keep you from being of the seed of God?  They certainly show a bit of rebelliousness, and an imperfect conformity to God's will.  Do we have to be PERFECT?

    And if you manage to overcome even your venial sins through Confession, is that when you are truly born of the Holy Spirit?  It seems much less dramatic than my friend's conversion.  He fell into adultery but I have to give up white lies, embellishing stories for no reason, things like that, which sometimes has lead me nearly to slander, although I almost do these things unconsciously, the way sinful thoughts sometimes attack me unconsciously.

    I kind of feel that I am incapable of deliberate mortal sin, but I'm certainly capable of venial sin -- not to mention mistakes.  Am I a son of God or not?  This quote scares me.
    As I was a new convert when posting here, my posts are often full of error, even unwitting heresy and rash judgment, all of which I renounce, and all my writings are best avoided -- MDLS

    Offline Raoul76

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    John 3:9: Those who are reborn cannot sin.
    « Reply #1 on: August 30, 2009, 03:02:15 AM »
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  • Oh, by the way, I guess I answered my own question about the Confessional.  The Confessional is what we must make use of on the way to our perfectly sinless state.
    As I was a new convert when posting here, my posts are often full of error, even unwitting heresy and rash judgment, all of which I renounce, and all my writings are best avoided -- MDLS


    Offline gladius_veritatis

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    John 3:9: Those who are reborn cannot sin.
    « Reply #2 on: August 30, 2009, 03:44:26 AM »
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  • Quote from: Raoul76
    I kind of feel that I am incapable of deliberate mortal sin...


    While the quote you used may scare you, a statement like this, taken at face value, scares me.
    + Vincit veritas +

    Offline Alex

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    John 3:9: Those who are reborn cannot sin.
    « Reply #3 on: August 30, 2009, 04:21:30 AM »
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  • Quote from: Raoul76
    I kind of feel that I am incapable of deliberate mortal sin...


    Even a saint is capable of mortal sin if he slackens in the spiritual battle.

    I was told a story about a woman who lived a while back who was known for her holiness. One day, she came across a wounded man and took him to her house to nurse him back to health. After a couple of months of his living in her house, she developed feelings for him and, soonafter, fell into the sin of fornication with him.

    Saint Peter himself committed the mortal sin of denying Christ 3 times.

    St. Paul warns against presumption such as yours: "The man who thinks he is safe must be careful that he does not fall" (1 Cor 10:12). St. Paul even admits that he himself has to make constant spiritual efforts: "for, having been an announcer myself, I should not want to be disqualified [from Heaven]" (l Cor 9:27).

    None of us can in this life be completely sure that he will eventually reach Heaven. There is a possibility that we will fall into mortal sin, and lose our soul forever. So we must remain "calm but vigilant, because your enemy the devil is prowling round like a roaring lion, looking for someone to eat" (1 Pt 5:8).


    Offline Caraffa

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    John 3:9: Those who are reborn cannot sin.
    « Reply #4 on: August 30, 2009, 03:55:24 PM »
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  • Quote from: Raoul76
    "Whosoever is born of God, committeth not sin: for his seed abideth in him, and he can not sin, because he is born of God."


    Commentators on this verse suggest that one cannot sin mortally or in some cases, cannot continually sin mortally. A person who does, yet is faithful to God will feel sorry for their sins and seek to amend their life and not repeat them. If however, one shows pride in their sins, then they are not of God.

    Quote
    For some reason this quote leapt out at me today.  This would seem to be saying that there is no need for the confessional, because no good Catholic can sin AT ALL.  I need some help.

    I'm thinking about a man I know who was Catholic all his life but cheated on his wife.  It caused him to reflect on himself for years.  Now he says that he was never really Catholic before this cheating incident.  He grew up in the religion, he liked the power it gave him as head of the household, he seemed to use its laws in a self-righteous way.  But it was his fall that woke him up to the fact that he had never really KNOWN Jesus, and that is why the mortal sin was possible.

    What he said fits right into this quote.  It is also worth mentioning that this man left the Novus Ordo and found sedevacantism AFTER his terrible deed, meaning that it was AFTER the cheating that God really began to speak to him and poured out graces on him, which I believe are very evident.

    So in this case, he was a nominal Catholic, born of water, who after suffering a fall into adultery, and realizing what Jesus had done on the Cross to redeem him, became a full Catholic, born of the Holy Spirit.  Now he says "I love Jesus.  I'm in LOVE with the guy."  He says with heartbreaking contrition, "Michael, I put God on the cross, no one else."  And it is at this point, I would assume, that he became incapable of sin in the sense of the above quote.


    I don't doubt that this happens, I just hope that this person is not using his faith now to justify his (past) sins. If so this is what is called a pious fraud.

    In many cases, those who lose faith never had it, but in some cases they did. If tomorrow, many NO Neo-Catholics and half of FE came onto this board and said, "I was never really Catholic," I would believe them, because I can see that in some of their lives, they are not. Their faith is a game, a house built on sand, a sand which is nothing more than cheap, easy grace.

    Quote
    I understand very well that Jesus is saying no man who TRULY knows God would commit a mortal sin, mortal sins being deliberate acts of the will.  But what about venial sins?  What about things like little white lies, or getting angry with your parents, or cursing?  What about letting impure images flit across your head, even if they don't arouse you, simply because you get tired of blocking them all the time?  Do these human imperfections, mistakes, venial sins keep you from being of the seed of God?  They certainly show a bit of rebelliousness, and an imperfect conformity to God's will.  Do we have to be PERFECT?


    What do you mean by "white lies"? As far as getting angry, one does not sin if they become justly angry.(St John Chrysostom). If error is what makes us angry, then we are not sinning. Cursing, most of the time is sinful at least in the sense of scandal and lack of charity. It is also kind of low class. Its one thing if you slip and say "damn", but its another if you curse someone with foul language. Temptations are not sins unless you give into them. Venial sins do not remove grace. The Quietist held the proposition that one could be so perfect as to avoid all venial sin, a proposition which was condemned. (The Quietists also has a strange view as to what actual sin was.) We do however, have to be perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect.

    Quote
    And if you manage to overcome even your venial sins through Confession, is that when you are truly born of the Holy Spirit?  It seems much less dramatic than my friend's conversion.  He fell into adultery but I have to give up white lies, embellishing stories for no reason, things like that, which sometimes has lead me nearly to slander, although I almost do these things unconsciously, the way sinful thoughts sometimes attack me unconsciously.

    I kind of feel that I am incapable of deliberate mortal sin, but I'm certainly capable of venial sin -- not to mention mistakes.  Am I a son of God or not?  This quote scares me.


    The question is, do you feel sorry for doing these things or any sin? Are you repentant? Do you seek to amend your life as you state in confession with the help of God?
    Pray for me, always.


    Offline Raoul76

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    John 3:9: Those who are reborn cannot sin.
    « Reply #5 on: August 30, 2009, 10:52:59 PM »
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  • Caraffa asked:

    "The question is, do you feel sorry for doing these things or any sin? Are you repentant? Do you seek to amend your life as you state in confession with the help of God?"

    I repent not only of my sins, but of ANYTHING I might say that this is displeasing to God, even if my intention was good.

    But this verse raises the bar very high.  Catholics CAN NOT sin.  Thanks for giving me the gloss and interpreting it in the light of the Holy Spirit.  

    I've been thinking a lot lately about whether it is possible to reach PERFECTION.  On the one hand, the Church condemned the Quietists, as you said.  Augustine and Aquinas both say you can remain in a state of grace despite venial sins and this is of course the Church teaching as well.  On the other Christ says, "Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect."  And he tells the young man to sell everything he has and come with Him if he would be perfect.  

    I have this theory, and please tell me whether this is Catholic or not, that in passages like the Sermon on the Mount, Christ deliberately raises the bar almost impossibly high, knowing that we will not get there, but also knowing that in the attempt we will become GOOD ENOUGH, and worthy of being His children.  The exact opposite of Vatican II where the bar is set so low that even if you clear it in a vaulting leap, it still probably won't be good enough.  Is it possible that John 3:9 is another instance where Christ is raising the bar high enough to instill a salutary fear into you?  If so, it worked.  

    You could also take it literally and say that for a true son of God no mortal or venial sin is possible.  But of course Catholics do not read the Bible literally.  I accept the conclusion of the Church as always even if Christ does not differentiate between mortal and venial sin here.

    ***

    But what about rebellion that doesn't quite cross over into sin?  What about actions or words that seem like they might be displeasing to God, but aren't technically sinful?

    Sometimes I will flirt with sin without falling in, the way someone might bungee jump to get that feeling of free-fall without actually cracking his skull open.  But why do anything that is displeasing to God, just because it's not technically a sin?

    To give some examples of these mistakes or rebellious actions that aren't necessarily sins:  I have gotten angry unjustly, but I will give it a just excuse.  Like if someone is eating noisily I'll tell them they're being impolite and need to learn Catholic manners, though really I'm just feeding off my own anger because I have a strange hypersensitivity to lip-smacking.  Meaning it drives me nearly insane with rage, like a bull seeing red, far beyond what is normal.  I know the fault is mine, yet I still keep lashing out, although I feel I'm making superhuman efforts to get over this phobia.

    More seriously, there have been times on the Internet where I will go back and take a second look at a picture that MIGHT be bad, but I'm not SURE if it is.  I tell myself, "If it is bad, then it's not my fault, I was just curious."  But most often in these cases I know it's not something I need to see.  Not to mention that, if you're on a worldly site, you are in danger of running across these images, but I always give myself an excuse:  "I'm studying the end times and the various delusions people fall into," "I'm studying witchcraft in the media."

    And by white lies, I mean that sometimes I will embellish a story or change some details.  For instance I will change the timeline of events that led to my Catholic conversion so that it sounds more dramatic and makes sense to the listener.  Keep in mind I was a wannabe novelist/screenwriter before my conversion.  Again, perhaps not easily-definable as sin, because I have the excuse that I'm trying to condense or compress the story and make it intelligible, not actually LYING.  But Catholics should be perfectly truthful.

    Essentially I use all kinds of clever excuses to rebel against God while pretending that I'm not rebelling against God.  That is disturbing, to think that I'm returning God's great sacrifice with rebellion, however slight it may be.  But thanks to the graces conferred by baptism I'm getting better at catching myself.    

    P.S.  To the other commentators, both of whom are probably returning the favor for my mildly passive-aggressive comments of recent days, I didn't say I was incapable of mortal sin.  I said "I kind of feel I am incapable of deliberate mortal sin."  I was saying that it FEELS unlikely -- considering that if I did, I would be the most ungrateful wretch of all time -- while at the same time I know it can happen.
    As I was a new convert when posting here, my posts are often full of error, even unwitting heresy and rash judgment, all of which I renounce, and all my writings are best avoided -- MDLS

    Offline CM

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    John 3:9: Those who are reborn cannot sin.
    « Reply #6 on: August 30, 2009, 11:17:21 PM »
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  • Heresy is a mortal sin.  Explaining away a dogma and ex cathedra decrees is a deliberate mortal sin.

    Offline CM

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    Offline Vladimir

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    John 3:9: Those who are reborn cannot sin.
    « Reply #8 on: August 31, 2009, 08:14:25 AM »
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  • I do not love God enough....  :cry:



    Offline Belloc

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    John 3:9: Those who are reborn cannot sin.
    « Reply #9 on: August 31, 2009, 08:19:28 AM »
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  • Quote from: Raoul76
    ".  This would seem to be saying that there is no need for the confessional, because no good Catholic can sin AT ALL.  I need some help.
    Quote


    Once saved, always saved? Nope,means if you are in God, than you are in state of Grace and not sinning....most of us stay out of grace through sin, ommisison,etc........though to varying degrees of sins (venial vs mortal)....
    Proud "European American" and prouder, still, Catholic

    Offline Belloc

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    John 3:9: Those who are reborn cannot sin.
    « Reply #10 on: August 31, 2009, 08:21:00 AM »
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  • Quote from: Alex
    Quote from: Raoul76
    I kind of feel that I am incapable of deliberate mortal sin...


    Even a saint is capable of mortal sin if he slackens in the spiritual battle.

    I was told a story about a woman who lived a while back who was known for her holiness. One day, she came across a wounded man and took him to her house to nurse him back to health. After a couple of months of his living in her house, she developed feelings for him and, soonafter, fell into the sin of fornication with him.

    Saint Peter himself committed the mortal sin of denying Christ 3 times.

    St. Paul warns against presumption such as yours: "The man who thinks he is safe must be careful that he does not fall" (1 Cor 10:12). St. Paul even admits that he himself has to make constant spiritual efforts: "for, having been an announcer myself, I should not want to be disqualified [from Heaven]" (l Cor 9:27).

    None of us can in this life be completely sure that he will eventually reach Heaven. There is a possibility that we will fall into mortal sin, and lose our soul forever. So we must remain "calm but vigilant, because your enemy the devil is prowling round like a roaring lion, looking for someone to eat" (1 Pt 5:8).



     :applause:
    Proud "European American" and prouder, still, Catholic


    Offline Maria-Bernada

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    John 3:9: Those who are reborn cannot sin.
    « Reply #11 on: August 31, 2009, 08:16:17 PM »
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  • Quote from: Raoul76
    I kind of feel that I am incapable of deliberate mortal sin...


    From the Council of Vienne:

    Quote
    We have therefore heard with great displeasure that an abominable sect of wicked men, commonly called Beghards, and of faithless women, commonly called Beguines, has sprung up in the realm of Germany. This sect, planted by the sower of evil deeds, holds and asserts in its sacrilegious and perverse doctrine the following errors:

    1. First, that a person in this present life can acquire a degree of perfection which renders him utterly impeccable and unable to make further progress in grace. For, as they say, if someone could always make further progress, he could become more perfect than Christ.

    ...we condemn and utterly reject, with the approval of the sacred council, the sect itself and the errors described above, and we strictly forbid anyone henceforth to hold, approve or defend the errors.
    "O Jesus, Jesus, I no longer feel my cross when I think of yours!"

    - St. Bernadette Soubirous

    Offline Maria-Bernada

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    John 3:9: Those who are reborn cannot sin.
    « Reply #12 on: August 31, 2009, 08:22:16 PM »
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  • From  Frank J. Tobin (whoever he is):

    Quote
    One of the religious currents of the age was something often referred to as the brothers and sisters of the Free Spirit. These people were most likely not an organized group or sect but rather loose associations of like-minded individuals, much like the "hippies" of recent times. However, they were perceived by church authorities as a unified group inimical to orthodoxy, and their supposed teachings were considered dangerous. Several of these teachings were condemned by the Council of Vienne (1311-12). Those of the Free Spirit were accused of maintaining that one can attain a state in life in which it was impossible to sin...
    "O Jesus, Jesus, I no longer feel my cross when I think of yours!"

    - St. Bernadette Soubirous

     

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