Friday, June 4, 2010

Sins Before Baptism

Q & A with Fr Job:
Question: I was Baptized five years ago. I have never been to Confession. I want to confess during the Great Fast. Is it necessary to remember and tell about what I did before Baptism? I’ve heard that when a person is Baptized, then he is considered clean before God and doesn’t need to confess what was before Confession, even if it was something horrible: I had an abortion. Is this the case? After all, the soul of my killed child exists all the same. Could Baptism have taken this sin from me? Do I need to talk about it at Confession?

Answer: In the Mystery of Baptism, man is cleansed of all sins, regardless of age. “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death, that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him” (Rom. 6:3-8). This truth is consolidated in the Symbol of faith: “I confess on Baptism for the remission of sins.” St John of Damascus writes: “Therefore, the forgiveness of sins is give through Baptism to all equally, and the grace of the Spirit according to the measure of faith and pre-cleansing.”

If a sin (including mortal ones) were after Baptism, forgiveness is given to man through sincere repentance. St Dimitry of Rostov writes: “Are sins always forgiven if we repent of them according to the necessary correction? Always; at the same time, when the sinner calls out to the Lord with a contrite heart, he is heard by Him, like the publican, Zacchaeus, Manasseh, David, the sinful woman, etc.

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