Friday, March 7, 2014

Misconception: 7 Deadly Sins. No Such Thing, BUT...

Proverbs 6:16-19

16 These six things the Lord hates,
Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:
17 A proud look,
A lying tongue,
Hands that shed innocent blood,
18 A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that are swift in running to evil,
19 A false witness who speaks lies,
And one who sows discord among brethren.

"According to Pope Gregory the Great in the 6th century, the seven deadly sins are as follows: pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed, and sloth. Although these are undeniably sins, they are never given the description of "the seven deadly sins" in the Bible."GotQuestions
There is a misconception that all sins are equal in severity. ALL sins are equally sinful in that they each merit eternal judgment in hell for the person who commits them. But that does not mean that there is not a relative sense in which some sins can be "worse" than others. Does not Jesus say, 
Jesus answered [Pilate], “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.” John 19:11
? Indeed, if there is a "greater sin" then some sins are worse than others. Going back to the original verses in Proverbs, we can, without fear of blaspheming, determine that the "things the Lord hates, which are an abomination" are worse sins than others. So what does the list become, if we condense it?

1. Pride 

2. Lies
3. Murder
4. Premeditating Evil (of some form or other. The original Hebrew would be well worth a study)
5. Stubbornly Willful, Persistent Sinfulness (one could phrase this as "Rebelliousness")
6. Deceiving--more than just telling a lie, you present lies as truth in public.
7. Instigating mistrust or infighting among people who are saved.

Lying, in some form or other, is on there twice. I find this fascinating, and perhaps informed by my own experience, I am suspicious that the greatest sin there is is lying, especially if it deceives somebody, especially if it is a lie about God that misleads people and steers them away from Him, or denies Him His due glory.

This would at least be consistent with the Biblical witness. What's fascinating is that sexual sin, gluttony, greed, anger, drunkenness, etc are not listed here. They can of course be premeditated and factor into deceiving people, driving a wedge between believers, and be part of an ongoing lifestyle of rebelliousness, but though they are sinful, in and of themselves they are not the most offensive, it would seem, to the almighty. Perhaps this is why Jesus got along better with prostitutes and tax collectors than prideful religious leaders.

What sin most angers you?

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