Sin  |  Mortal Sin

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994) deals seriously with mortal sin or grave sin.  According to the Catechism all those who commit mortal sin and die without confessing it to a priest are doomed to hell.  To insure this does not happen, the Catholic must divulge in detail all known mortal sin to a Catholic priest, who will then decide what penance is required.  This confession is to be done at least once each year to insure his participation in the sacrament of the Eucharist (see Confession).  Participation in the Eucharist and all sacraments, according to the Catechism, are necessary for salvation.  Catechism paragraph #1129, “The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation…”

A student of Scripture as well as the Catechism will soon come to understand the seriousness of sin.  However, these two documents deal very differently with the eternal consequences of sin.  The Bible defines our sin in order to lead us to Jesus Christ.  On the other hand, the Roman Catholic Church defines sin so as to perpetuate its sacramental system.  The Scripture leads us to see our need for a Savior to obtain eternal life, whereas the Catechism leads us to a priest and the sacraments he dispenses in order to gain any hope of eternal life.

The question that needs to arise in your heart is not what your mortal sins are, but rather what are you to do with all your sin?

The Catechism Says:

#1855 “Mortal sin destroys charity in the heart of man by a grave violation of God’s law; …”

#1861 “…results in the loss of charity and the privation of sanctifying grace, that is, of the state of grace.  If it is not redeemed by repentance and God’s forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ’s kingdom and the eternal death of hell…”

The Bible Says:

I John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. 

James 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord

The Catechism Says:

#1033 “…To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God’s merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice.  This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called ‘hell’.”

#1874 “…This destroys in us the charity without which eternal beatitude is impossible.  Unrepented, it brings eternal death.”

#1035 “…Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell.…”

The Bible Says:

Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Romans 5:21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

The Catechism Says:

#1033 “We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him.  But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves.…”

The Bible Says:

I John 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.

I John 4:10   Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.



The concept of mortal sin and its consequences as defined by the Roman Catholic Church has the powerful ability to enslave the repentant sinner to the dictates of the Church.  When the Catholic Church presents no clear-cut definition of mortal sin, a person is totally in the hands of the priest in order to define the severity of his sin and his penance, as well as his pardon.

The Bible simply says, “The wages of sin is death’”(Romans 6:23).  In this verse Paul was not speaking of any particular kind of sin, but of all sin.  Ezekiel says, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” (18:4).  When James said, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (2:10), he did not mean that the person who commits only one sin is guilty of all other kinds of sin, but that even one sin shuts a person out of heaven.  The gates of heaven have been shut to us because of our sin.  The Bible says, “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  Since the fall of Adam humanity has been alienated from God and is in desperate need of a Savior.

We are all guilty of mortal sin.  It has separated us from God and we are hopeless in our condition.  There is no human means for removing the guilt of our sins.  No institution of man or individual can grant us eternal life.  This is why Jesus Christ came into this world, lived a sinless life and then gave His life willingly as a ransomfor all the sins of those whotrust on Him alone.  “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (II Corinthians 5:21).

The very fact that you recognize that you are a mortal sinner is a sign that the Holy Spirit of God is convicting you.  Your salvation does not rest upon your confession of your sins.  Your salvation rests solely upon Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross of Calvary.  Call out to Him to save you in the name of Jesus Christ, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).  Salvation is given directly and graciously, that no one may glory in God’s presence.  “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit:  a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” (Psalm 51:17).