What Are The Seven Deadly Sins?

Have you ever heard mention of the seven deadly sins? Most people have and many associate them with being biblical, but in reality, they are not mentioned anywhere in the bible.

Evagrius Ponticus who was known as a “desert father” or a Christian monk, was the first to mention the sins during the fourth century. When translated from Greek to English, they included: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, pride, and vainglory. Vainglory was eventually amalgamated into the sin of pride, leaving us with the seven deadly sins.

Although the bible does not explicitly say anything about the seven deadly sins as a whole, it does go over each one individually at different points, making all seven very relative to the Christian journey. This is why today we’ll be going over what they mean to us as Christians living in a modern society where they seem to be increasingly glorified.

1. Lust

But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Matthew 5:28 New International Version (NIV)

Well, that’s a pretty tall order to follow, especially in today’s highly sexualized society.

The media constantly bombards us with women who are barely covered. Our current culture encourages sexual “freedom” and promiscuity. Pornography has become more easily accessible than ever and we are supposed to somehow not let our thoughts run rampant?

Luckily for us, God does not give us anything we cannot handle. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says that God will not give us anything we cannot handle, nor will he tempt us beyond our ability to resist.

If we remember that our strength comes from Him, then no matter the temptation, we shall be able to resist because His strength is unlimited.

   2. Gluttony

Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.

Proverbs 23:20-21 New International Version (NIV)

Too much of a good thing is never a good idea and though we are blessed enough to live in a quite prosperous society, having prosperity can make it that much easier to over-indulge.

This can relate to more than eating food in excess or drinking too much. It can also relate to a general way of living in excess. We can lose appreciation for anything when we have too much of it.

There is nothing wrong with having your fill to a satisfactory, healthy, and reasonable level, but if we choose to live in excess, it becomes a testament to our lack of ability to control ourselves.

3. Greed

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Matthew 6:21 New International Version (NIV)

Will Smith once said, “The things we own end up owning us.” While he may not be the best role model to look too when seeking a demonstration of altruism, he makes a good point.

If we are constantly in the pursuit of money or possessions, we can easily become consumed by our desire to acquire more as there is no finite number to what will make us happy.

There are many noble reasons to acquire wealth, but it is also a doorway to many, if not all, of the seven deadly sins.

4. Sloth

Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.

Proverbs 10:4 New International Version (NIV)

Almost a direct contrast to greed, sloth refers to a slack, uninspired, unmotivated hand.

God would never wish for us to be poor and loves diligence and hard work. God has a plan for us and when that plan is clear, our hands should be anything but idle (Idle hands being the devils workshop – Proverbs 16: 27-29).

In today’s society, with everything becoming more easily accessible and convenient, it’s normal for us to want to take the easiest way of doing things over the more difficult way. The easy way may not always be the right way, which is something we should keep in mind as we go about each day.

5. Wrath

“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry…

Ephesians 4:26 New International Version (NIV)

The bible has several takes on wrath. On the one hand, it encourages us to act in righteous anger, perhaps in a similar fashion to how Jesus did in the temple of the Pharisees. On the other, it discourages us from acting in sin, using anger as an excuse for violence or for hateful words.

Again, it appears to be one of those things that can be a good thing, but easily dragged out or carried into excess. If we demonstrate control over our use of it however, God shows us that it can be used for good.

6. Envy

A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.

Proverbs 14:30 New International Version (NIV)

Envy is another word for being jealous; a sin that ties closely to greed, wrath, and lust.

When we are envious, it shows that we are not satisfied or grateful for what we have. Being possessive over something that we do not possess can lead us to feel anger at the person who possesses it, greed for wanting more than we already possess, and lust for the object we wish to possess.

We can feel envy over inanimate objects or over people. Either way, it is wrong. If we were/are meant to have it, God will give it to us at the right time. If not, it is another opportunity for us to demonstrate temperance and control our desires.

7. Pride

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

Proverbs 11:2 New International Version (NIV)

Easy for anyone to fall into, pride is thought of as one of the worst of the deadly sins. Why? Possibly because Lucifer, one of God’s most beloved angels, let pride consume him and make him believe that he knew better than God how to rule, which led to him and his followers being cast out of heaven.

Our occurrences of pride may not be as condemning as that, but they do have a similar effect of stunting our ability to learn. We cannot learn anything or improve ourselves if we refuse to recognize that we are imperfect and in need of improvements.

In Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics, he talks about how often positive virtues can become negative virtues if done in excess: passionate love felt excessively or for the wrong reasons may become lust, righteous wrath could become self-serving wrath using misplaced righteousness to justify it, enjoyment and celebration in excess can lead to gluttony; every deadly sin at it’s core may start as a positive virtue.

The media and modern society often showcase many of the seven deadly sins as a normal, unchangeable part of human nature; leading us to accept them as they are and even embrace them. However, if we hold steadfast to our temperance, resolve, and most importantly, the word of God, we will be able to balance all of these things to a positive effect.

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