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I. II. III. IV. V. - VI. VII. - VIII. IX.
VII. Sin and repentance
101. What do we call sin?
We call sin all those improper actions which are committed with consciousness, through which we violate the law of God.
102. What type of sin do we recognize?
We know two types of sin: sins of commission and sins of omission. Sins of commission are the result of someone's improper action, and sins of omission are those in which someone fails to avail him- or herself for good either through delay, lack of sympathy or negligence.
103. Can someone say of him- or herself that she or he has no sin?
No one can say about him- or herself that she or he has committed no sin, because in spite of the resistance of our spirits, we frequently break the laws of God and do evil instead of good.
1 John 1,8: If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
104. Why do we break the laws of God?
We break the laws of God because we are weak.
105. What do we mean when we say that we are weak?
When we say that we are weak, we mean that we are children of God in development. Besides our virtues we have failings as well, which are the constant danger of our humanity because they obscure our understanding, they destroy the quietude of our hearts and disturb the peace among us. These failings together we call weaknesses.
James 1,13-15: Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God", for God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one; but each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. The desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown brings forth death.
106. How do the other denominations explain the evilness of human beings?
The other denominations explain the evilness of human beings with the Biblical story of the first human couple who ate the fruit of the forbidden tree. As a result of their action, the fall of humanity into evil was further compounded because human beings became unable to will good on their own. They call this original sin.
107. Do Unitarians teach original sin?
Unitarians do not teach original sin. We do not believe that through the sin of the first human couple we all became corrupted. It would contradict the love and justice of God to attribute to us the sin of others, because sin is one's own personal action.
108. What is the result of sin?
The result of sin is the denial our son- and daughtership and the separation between God and humanity. These expressions are our punishment.
Galatians 6,7-8: Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
109. Is there forgiveness?
There is forgiveness. But if sin has taken place, it is impossible to erase as if it had never happened. However, God is a longsuffering, loving Father, who does not reject us because of our evil, but gives us time and the possibility to reform and improve ourselves. This is the forgiveness about which Jesus taught us in his parables. (See for example the parable of the Prodigal Son. Luke 15,11-30)
110. From whom do we expect forgiveness of our sins?
We expect forgiveness of our sins only from God.
111. How can we expect forgiveness of our sins?
We can expect forgiveness of our sins by God only if we sincerely repent, turn away from our sins and daily strengthen ourselves in love and goodness.
VIII. Eternal Life
112. What do we mean by: I believe in eternal life?
When we say: "I believe in eternal life" we express our conviction that life is eternal and that the soul is immortal.
113. How do we understand death?
We understand death as a change which is according to the law of God. After death our body falls to dust as it was before, but our soul lives on in God, from whom it was never detached.
Ecclesiastes 12,7: ... and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
114. What awaits us in eternal life?
In eternal life, God examines everyone's lives and actions, and grants reward or punishment in accordance with those lives.
I. II. III. IV. V. - VI. VII. - VIII. IX.