Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Extent of Christ's Propitiation

Hirsap asked the folllowing question in the Q&A Board at Phatmass (note that the purpose of this board is to make your answer "short and sweet"):
Since the sin against the Holy Spirit -final impenitence- can never be forgiven did Christ still suffer and die for this type of sin as well?
Yes, of course He did! However, the merits of Christ's work on the cross require appropriation to us. They must be applied somehow. This is done through the myriad of ways in which man receives God's grace: through love, through suffering, through penance, through the sacraments, etc. In order to benefit from His grace we must also chose it. The Lord does not impose Himself on anyone against his will. So, the grace is sufficient for all, and to cover any sin. However, we have the freedom to refuse it. In particular, the sin against the Holy Spirit is marked by obstinant refusal of His grace, or the belief that the Holy Spirit cannot truly work in one's life. If you don't believe in the Holy Spirit, or if you deny that he works in the avenues of grace previously mentioned, then you obviously aren't going to avail yourself of those avenues. As a result, grace would not take effect.

So, while Christ died for all men, and His grace is sufficient to cover all sin, it is not always efficacious (because it must be accepted). So, despite His work, and all He has done for us, some men do in fact go to hell. It is a somber truth, but a truth nonetheless.

I hope that helps

Pax Christi,

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