The nature of sin. Understanding Catholicism as a Baptist

I’m not Catholic wow crazy. If you’re going to try and convert me good luck. But anyway I’m interested in what you see as the nature of sin, and how it affects humans.
If you’d like a little starting place to begin to think here’s what I believe.
I believe man is of a sinful nature, and wicked. Are desires are wicked , are actions are evil and, we are helplessly against God. It takes The LORD revealing himself to produce any good in man. When Christ died on the cross he took the punishment of all sin(of the elect) in his death. That does not mean the believers do not sin but their sin has already been forgiven and they can do nothing to tear themselves away from Christ.

That’s my little shpeal so let me know what Catholics believe.

I’m pretty sure you already have some idea, since in another thread you mentioned you had been reading several major apologists. I know you said you read CS Lewis and he is frequently recommended by catholics (despite not being catholic himself) because he was very frequently on the same page.

Can you let us know what you’ve read so far so we have a better place to start from?

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We were created “very good.” Our natures are good, but wounded. Our free will broken such that we cannot choose to do good on our own. It is only at God’s prompting, at his enabling, that we are free to choose the good again.

Human beings are all like fine pieces of china, but with cracks and chips, and through and by God we can be made whole again.

Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is what makes redemption possible, but God calls on us to cooperate through our own agency, though the ability to do so is entirely dependent upon God. Christ made the forgiveness of sin’s possible, but we are called to conform ourselves to Christ, to offer up our little offerings with Christ’s infinite one. Stumbling on that way isn’t an issue so long as we remain focused on Christ. But rejecting the way and our crosses leads to darkness.

Christ didn’t say he’d carry the one and only cross and we were burdenless. He said that his followers should pick up their crosses and follow him.


The big difference is here, I think. Who are the elect?

May i begin with this question - when you chose Jesus as your Lord and savior, was it of your own free will and do you consider this choice a good act that God had no influence in?


Here’s how I see it.

Just as Satan ployed upon Man w/a lie… which in turn allowed sin to enter man
and which when followed - brings Death, comma,

Sin is as an evil spirit - dwelling within - suggesting…


Well, a Catholic would disagree that we are of a sinful “nature”, or inherently “wicked” because our “nature” is created by God…in His image and likeness…which is good. (cf. Gn 1:26-27). What we have is a “wounded nature” in that, because of the fall of man, we are born without sanctifying grace.
This should raise the questions about what our “nature” is, and what it means to be “made in His image and likeness”. Our nature is body+soul*, yet our soul is not just any soul…it is spirit.


Keep in mind that the OP is looking for the Catholic understanding, not our personal opinions.

You might be describing temptation (though temptation is not a spirit either), but not sin. Sin is a free act of the will to do wrong…to choose evil. (This is the Catholic view, anyway.)

The problem with this statement is that it implies ‘once saved, always saved’. And no real free will.
Catholics believe that we are prone to sin, yes, and that Christ died for our redemption, yes, and that grace is available, yes. But we also believe that we have the free will to accept or reject God’s grace. So salvation is never guaranteed. Like St Paul, we work out our salvation to the end.


It is not our job to convert anyone. That is a private matter between the individual and the Holy Spirit. Our job is to be faithful and present the truth as God revealed it both to and through the Church which Christ founded.

Sin is the only thing which separates us from God. Yet, there is a temporal punishment due to sin, as it affects the entire Body of Christ in some fashion. You break a window and are forgiven. Great! That does not fix the window. Penance is what fixes the window.

Sin is forgiven, yes, by making an act of perfect contrition to God. But you then assume that you are forgiven, and the bible states that we are to confess ours sins to each other - not just to God. What did our Lord teach: In each and every case in scripture where He forgave sins, He told the sinner in plain Aramaic that their sins were forgiven - there was no doubt. No? Read Mark 2:5, and Luke 5:20 and 7:48.

Paul urged Christians to be reconciled to God 2 Corinthians 5. Baptized Christians. How could they be separated from God if, as you believe, Christ took it all and we are off Scott free? The answer is that we are not off Scott free. Saint Paul forgave sins in the person of Christ (2 Corinthians 2:10), being an ambassador for Christ with a ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:20>) and with Christ’s authority over sin - as did all the Apostles.

Newer bibles are not clear on this. Look it up in the KJV or Douay-Rheims.

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Let us consider these manners in which sin is also presented

" For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.” "

" …we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. "

" sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin "

The Seven Capital Sins…

Pride, Greed, Envy, Wrath, Lust, Gluttony, Sloth

Right, I get all that, “EndTimes”, and what I am doing is stating what the Catholic Church teaches, because the OP asked for the Catholic understanding, not our personal opinions.

I know. I’m often amazed that not all Christians are Catholics. Crazy…! :wink:

Man is of a nature created by God. He called it “very good” in the creation epic in Genesis. However, due to sin, it’s a fallen nature. Jesus redeems our fallen nature so that now, with His grace, we can be perfect, as our Father in heaven is perfect.

No, not precisely. You’re attempting to assert that all sins – past, present, and future – are wiped clean. That’s not true, and it’s an unScriptural perspective. Why would the risen Jesus, appearing to His apostles for the first time, tell them to forgive sins, if they’d already been forgiven? That would be simply nonsensical!

Yes… “sin boldly”. We’ve heard that one before. It’s wholly contrary to Scripture. We’re told, time and again – especially in Paul’s letters – that we must not backslide! Why are we being warned, if those sins are already forgiven? It just doesn’t make sense.

No – you’re reading it backwards. We’re told that nothing can tear Christ from uswe, on the other hand, are still able to walk away, and Scripture warns us time and again not to do so!


The Seven Capital Sins are a solid part of Catholicism’s Understanding.

The OP asks for the Nature of Sin -

The Seven Capital Sins…

Pride, Greed, Envy, Wrath, Lust, Gluttony, Sloth … .

These flow from Satan.

They’re not the human action of assenting to any of them aka Sinning…

The problem with these threads is the non-Catholic makes a post followed by a hundred Catholics jumping on the thread. The discussion is not fruitful if the OP doesn’t have an opportunity to respond. I’m posting simply to suggest that everyone else cool it until the OP responds. There’s already a lot of material to work through above.


The problem w/that notion - is that this IS a Catholic Forum… Yes?

This concept isn’t really born out by observation if we’re willing take an honest look at people around us, whether believers or not. We cannot turn to God without His grace and yet people still possess the basic goodness in themselves that is part of our created natures. It’s compromised more in some, less in others.

The consequence of the Fall is not that we gained some new “sin nature” but rather that we lost something, the life of God in us that would result from communion with Him, an option that Adam spurned in his disobedience and rebellion. Humankind lost the “knowledge of God” at that point and became lost themselves in the process.

Lost, wounded, dimmed in conscience, ignorant, in darkness, spiritually dead, severely disadvantaged now by forfeiting their vital communion with God. We’re here to learn just how wrong Adam was


Christ died for all-but we’re still the wildcard in it; no one is forced to accept His offer of forgiveness and love. And of course, as Scripture attests, we can tear ourselves away from Him, and turn back to sin and the world that fosters it. We cannot predict our own perseverance; God, alone, knows with 100% certainty whose names are written in the Book of Life and whose are not, who are numbered among the elect and who are not.

Sin will indeed kill us all over again, especially “sin that leads to death”, deadly because, when constituting a kind that’s gravely disordered and opposed to love of God and neighbor, it destroys love in us. Scripture continuously exhorts and warns believers to refrain from sin, with loss of eternal life at stake. Faith is not a license to remain how we are, or freedom from man’s obligation to be righteous. Rather it’s the means to this righteousness or justice because it establishes communion with the only One who can accomplish that in us. This is what it means to be “under grace”. “Apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

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Yes, but it doesn’t make for much of a fruitful discussion when a hundred Catholics post different iterations of the exact same thing within 5 minutes. How can anyone respond to all of those posts if not given some breathing room?

The true nature of sin is only found in personal mortal sin. It is a voluntary act which in itself is a defect or privation - an aversion from God - by preference of some mutable good. It is contempt of the Divine will.

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