The Seven Modern Deadly Sins
The modern world has been turned upside down by the forces of progressivism and revolution. The virtues of the past are now the vices of the present. A return to Christian teachings can reverse this terrible state.
God’s Word teaches that there are seven things God hates. According to Proverbs 6:16-19:
These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren.
In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul warned:
Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21).
In times past, the church sought to sum up the works of the flesh and man’s sinful tendencies that God hates in what we know today as The Seven Deadly Sins. Historically, certain sins that made the list were interchangeable, while other sins were added or subtracted from the list depending on the church era and leadership. For most of history, the list of the seven deadly sins included pride, greed, envy, anger, lust, gluttony, and sloth.
Notice, sins like murder were not included. Most would think murder should have made the list of abominable practices that violate God’s holy commandments. The point of these seven sins is that they engender other transgressions. They are the ungodly root system that produces all manner of evil which plague the sons of men.
C.S. Lewis had this to say about the first sin on the list, pride. He stated:
The essential vice, the utmost evil, is PRIDE. Unchasity, anger, greed, drunkeness, and all that are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil…it is Pride which has been the chief cause of misery in every nation and every family since the world began. Other vices may sometimes bring people together: you may find good fellowship and jokes and friendliness among drunken and unchaste people. But Pride always means emnity―it is emnity. And not only emnity between man and man, but emnity to God.
Greed is next. The Apostle Paul wrote, “The love of money is the root of all evil” (1 Timothy 6:10). Obviously, he was not speaking of true love, but avarice. Greed is an uncontrollable covetousness that can never find contentment with one's lot in life or with the increased material possessions one accumulates. Greed goes beyond a healthy ambition to better oneself; it is a driving spirit that produces a Midas touch mentality, which has enslaved many.
The Myth of Midas demonstrates how avarice can lead to ruin. You may recall how Midas obsessed over the acquisition of wealth. This pursuit led him to wish everything he touched would turn to gold. The wish was granted and he found, to his horror, he could not live with his burning desire. In fact, it proved disastrous. Not only could he not eat, his magic touch proved fatal to his daughter whom he touched without thinking. The Apostle Paul warned, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
If mankind is not careful to guard our hearts, envy can grow like a toxic weed. Envy is a condition where the human heart becomes resentful of other people’s possessions or advantages in life. Unchecked, it can lead to lying, slander, stealing, and murder. Today, the politics of envy has poisoned the governance of our nation. Deceiving politicians wield envy, class warfare, and the subsequent ideologies of Socialism and Communism to empower the state, punish lawful achievement in order to redistribute wealth, and create a dependent class.
Though there is such a thing as “righteous anger” as exercised by our Lord, most people are just plain mad. Outbursts of anger are not only unhealthy for our body and mind, but it is included in the Apostle Paul’s lists of sins in the epistle to Galatians. He warned “those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
The book of Proverbs warns extensively of the foolishness that is associated with the sin of anger. Proverbs 19:11 states, “The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression.” On the other hand, those who are short of temper pose a danger to themselves and others. They explode with rage and leave a wake of destruction. Remorse and regret are the fruits that come from eruptions of anger. Men and nations desperately need the Gospel chain to bind the wild beast of anger that lurks within the human heart.
America is a nation consumed with lust. It is big business. Most of our culture has bought into the “Don Juan” mentality that celebrates sexual conquests. Thus, our nation’s new slogan seems to be, “He who dies with the most affairs wins.” The following is a succinct critique of Mr. Juan, as a man who only cares about his lustful escapades, by author E. T. A. Hoffmann:
Feverishly the Don rushes from one beautiful woman to another, avidly drinking his fill of their charms until satiated and intoxicated. Perpetually disillusioned, yet ever longing to attain the ideal that will satisfy his longings, he finds life dull and tedious, comes to despise the whole of mankind and revels against the creature who, once the embodiment of his ideal vision has so bitterly disappointed him. When he takes a woman, it is no longer an act of sexual gratification but a wanton affront to God and Nature.”
We must remember that love gives at the expense of self to benefit others, while lust consumes others to benefit self. Proverbs 27:20 warns, “Hell and Destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.” What makes lust so destructive is it can never say, “Enough.” Like fire, it will consume until it has nothing left to consume. And even then, it will demand more. Lust, unrestrained, can reduce mankind to a beastly impulse where no amount of perversity can appease its hellish appetites.
In modern Christian circles, I doubt gluttony would make the list of the seven deadly sins. It seems to be the one sin we wink at today, as overweight preachers and Christians labor under the excess. According to Wikipedia, however, gluttony is:
Derived from the Latin gluttire, meaning to gulp down or swallow, gluttony (Latin, gula) is the over-indulgence and over-consumption of anything to the point of waste. In Christian religions, it is considered a sin because of the excessive desire for food, and its withholding from the needy. Because of these scripts, gluttony can be interpreted as selfishness; essentially placing concern with one's own interests above the well-being or interests of others.
Medieval church leaders (e.g., Thomas Aquinas) took a more expansive view of gluttony, arguing that it could also include an obsessive anticipation of meals, and the constant eating of delicacies and excessively costly foods. Aquinas went so far as to prepare a list of six ways to commit gluttony, comprising:
- Praepropere - eating too soon.
- Laute - eating too expensively.
- Nimis - eating too much.
- Ardenter - eating too eagerly.
- Studiose - eating too daintily.
- Forente - eating wildly.
Many talk today of “comfort foods” or “reward foods.” In times past, however, it was known as gluttony. One of the lessons I have sought to teach my children is to have a proper relationship with food. We eat to live, not live to eat. This understanding can help folks satisfy a healthy appetite without abusing the God-given blessing of food.
Sloth can easily be defined as an aversion to exertion or work. Another word for sloth is laziness. It is a sinful condition which the book of Proverbs addresses at length. It is a state of extreme procrastination and apathy in which the slothful excuses his behavior by stating, “There is a lion outside! I shall be slain in the streets” (Proverbs 22:13).
There is a physical sloth that seeks sustenance by little or no effort. Proverbs presents this deplorable condition by observing, “The lazy man buries his hand in the bowl; It wearies him to bring it back to his mouth” (Proverbs 26:15). There is also spiritual slothfulness that keeps us captivated by the Spirit of the Age. Spiritual sloth hinders Christians from pursuing their God-ordained destinies in Christ.
This spiritual malaise was addressed in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. If you remember, Vanity Fair became a stumbling block that hindered the journey of Christian and Faithful as they sought to arrive safely at the Celestial City. They became sidetracked by Vanity Fair’s distractions. This led to spiritual sloth for Christian and Faithful, as they became increasingly enticed by the devil’s schemes.
Sin and Salvation
Modern man does not completely reject the notions of sin and salvation; they merely reject God’s versions of them. Many Americans have lost their fear of God; this has emboldened them to redefine these critical concepts. Thus, salvation is no longer Christ rescuing the souls of men from temporal and eternal destruction through his interposition on the cross. No, salvation is now obtained through civil law and public policies. The political left gravitates towards seats of governmental authority to become social engineers of a Brave New World—a world where their regulations perfect man on this earth.
Whereas God pinpoints the source of sin and evil as coming from within man, humanism believes the source of evil is the environment, something outside of man (Matthew 15:16-20). God’s solution to sin is to save man by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, which starts on the inside and works its way out. Humanistic salvation seeks to manipulate the environment to perfect man from the outside in. Our nation is trillions of dollars in debt as Washington, DC goes broke promoting “god as government” programs to “save” the lives of American citizens.
Not only has the notion of salvation changed, but the view of sin has been distorted. Gone are the days when the thoughts, deeds, and acts of men that violate God’s holy commandments are considered sin. Sin still exists, but the meaning of sin has been radically altered. Thus, the seven deadly sins of yesteryear must evolve to justify the current mores of modern man.
The Seven Modern Deadly Sins
In no particular order of importance, here is a compilation of what might be considered the primary seven deadly sins as redefined by our contemporary American culture.
Yesterday, good judgment was prized as people looked to Biblical principles to guide their decisions. In today’s culture, discerning judgment is a vice to be shunned. Whenever you witness the call “not to judge,” however, you should recognize this mentality does not stem from honoring God or his Word. For the most part, it comes from a compromised church and licentious society that wants to sin in peace. In response, I choose to judge the non-judgmentalism of the age that judges Christians for exercising righteous judgment.
Many Christians and non-Christians alike take Matthew 7:1 (Do not judge) out of context, in order to make it a pretext. This is one of the ways judgment has become a cardinal sin in the minds of most Americans.
Lest we forget, one of the functions of God’s Word is to judge the thoughts and intents of the human heart (Hebrews 4:12). The judgment that God condemns is hypocritical judgment. The Apostle Paul addressed this duplicitous judgment in Romans 2:1-4. He stated:
Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God?
Jesus, the righteous judge, not only taught “Do not judge” after this manner, he clarified, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24). Notice three truths about this statement. We are not allowed to judge by outward appearance. Jesus excoriated the Pharisees by exposing their inward sinful reality masked by outward religiosity. He thundered:
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness (Matthew 23:25-28).
Secondly, Jesus called for judgment. He stated, “But judge with righteous judgment.” The Apostle Paul concurred, “But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one” (1 Corinthians 2:15). If people would continue to read Matthew 7, where the famous, “Do not judge” passage is found, they will find this further illumination:
And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye (Matthew 7:2-5).
Notice, Jesus calls for an evaluation before judgment is passed. We must first remove a plank from our own eye before we can remove (judge) the speck in our brother’s eye. Once we have done this, however, Jesus still called for the removal of the speck. Judgment is still rendered. Later on in Matthew 7, Jesus stated, “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces” (Matthew 7:6). Our Lord compared people to “dogs” and “swine.” It seems to me that our Lord made an outlandish judgment. Is our Lord a hypocrite that contradicts himself? Not likely! Perhaps, his understanding of “Do not judge” is much different than the modern interpretation.
Thirdly, our judgment must be based upon a standard of righteousness. Where can man find this standard? It is discovered in the sixty-six books that comprise the Holy Bible. Jesus is the Word of God made flesh (John 1:1-14). Therefore, he can honestly state, “And yet if I do judge, my judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent me” (John 8:16).
Though our nation has learned true tolerance throughout our history, our pursuit of tolerance today has become intolerable. Intolerance is the new idol to which Americans must bow in order to be considered orthodox. To be a true American, we must tolerate every conceivable worldview, lifestyle, and act, no matter how perverse or immoral. Tolerance of evil is now a virtue; intolerance of evil is the new unpardonable sin. Standard-bearers of moral judgment, those who expose evil, are considered “hate groups” who need to be defeated by the paragons of tolerance. Why? Because the promotion of sin in all its “diverse” forms is the new civil rights struggle, which defines much of this crooked generation. These paragons of tolerance wrap up their perversions in the American flag to help sanitize their evil. It is now considered un-American to confuse them with the truth. The great irony, of course, is those who shout tolerance the most are the most intolerant of all.
Pastor Adrian Rogers once stated:
It is better to be divided by truth than to be united in error. It is better to speak the truth that hurts and then heals, then falsehood that comforts and then kills. It is not love and it is not friendship if we fail to declare the whole counsel of God. It is better to be hated for telling the truth than to be loved for telling a lie.
This understanding of truth and lies, love and hate, has “fallen in the streets” in America today. Yet, this is what the prophet Isaiah observed in his day (Isaiah 59:14). In America, not only has truth “fallen in the streets,” our post-modern world rejects the notion that truth even exists. Thus, to make any truth claims in our society is a major transgression. Because there is no such thing as truth, there really is no need for moral absolutes that express righteous judgment. Are we recognizing a pattern here?
What has replaced truth (as the truth is in Jesus)? It is the philosophy of relativism. Relativism is a belief system that has pervaded much of our culture—the government, the schools, and sadly some of the churches. Its premise is based on the fallacy that all ideas, philosophies, and religions are of equal value. According to relativism, there is nothing that is superior in knowledge, wisdom, and understanding and nothing inferior. All ideas are of equal value and all cultures have merit. If some cultures teach “love thy neighbor as thyself” and some cultures practice eating their neighbors, who are we to judge the values and practices of others?
Fueled by relativism, the modern world tries to convince men and nations that Christianity is merely one of the world’s “major” religions. Popular bumper stickers suggest that “God is too big to fit in anyone’s religion.” Some mistakenly believe that God is like the top of a mountain and there are different paths (religions) that lead to the same summit. Is this the truth? God forbid!
Jesus taught, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). Jesus not only stated that he was the only way, truth, and life, but he actually had the nerve to decree that all other religions and religious leaders were “thieves and robbers” (John 10:1). No wonder our world can tolerate everything under the sun, except for him!
Postmodernism leaves man to their own devices to try and make sense of the human condition. It promotes the idea that each individual can construct their own truth system, which is no better or worse than any other (regardless of whether or not it agrees with corresponding reality). Whatever floats your boat, gets you through life, and works for the individual will suffice. The mantra of the day is “I’m okay, you’re okay, and everybody is okay. Okay?” If this is true, where is the long awaited nirvana? How do we account for all the suffering, misery, death, and decay that still stalk men and drive them into the abyss of despondency, despair, and destruction? And of upmost importance, why is that Man hanging on a cross two thousand years ago crying out, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34).
What man sincerely believes does not determine truth. God’s truth must determine what man believes. Truth is truth no matter how many reject it and a lie is a lie no matter how many believe it. Truth carries the seed of its own survival, while a lie carries the seed of its own destruction.
Sexual purity until marriage is yet another “abomination” that must be avoided in our society saturated with pornography. In fact, with the advent of the homosexual agenda the very fundamental nature of marriage instituted by God must change to accommodate the new version of the seven deadly sins. No longer are fornication, adultery, homosexuality, incest, and bestiality considered sins. They are mere orientations. Who in his right mind can condemn orientations? The answer is no one. America has proven we will destroy marriage for sex, (adultery and homosexuality). We will kill for sex (abortion) and we will die for sex (HIV AIDS).
As America moves from a nation conceived in liberty and slouches towards Socialism and Communism, the concept of the individual has become suspect. This is why it made the list of the Seven Modern Deadly Sins. America has, for years, revised and rewritten our history to distance modern Americans from our Christian heritage. One of the casualties in this mad pursuit is the loss of understanding that the individual conscience is sacred property. Today, however, the individual must bow before the collective. The individual exists for the pleasure of the state. If the individual rebels from aggrandizing the state, the individual has sinned and fallen short of the glory of the state.
There are many names given to define this current generation. If I had the chance to grant them a designation, it would be the “Peter Pan” generation. This is a generation that refuses to grow up. Perpetual adolescence, that enables the entitlement mentality, has captured much of this generation’s existence. As a result, maturity has become a major offense.
The flight from maturity is the new virtue. This generation wants all the benefits of the adult community, but none of its responsibilities. They crave rewards with the least amount of effort. This has created a spoiled generation. The more they receive without earning it, the more demanding and ungrateful they become. Achievement is punished, while laziness is rewarded. If the welfare checks, food stamps, and other government programs stopped making their way to this “Peter Pan” generation, all hell would be unleashed to castigate our nation.
America has become a feminized nation that is filled with passive, irresponsible males and controlling, dominating females. This has led to a gender blender society proud of the sexual confusion plaguing this generation. The spirit of Jezebel crushes underfoot the historic Christian notion of chivalry. Biblical manhood that lays down its life to protect, defend, and provide for women and children is an antiquated concept that is now considered a gross sin to be rejected at all costs. Just a cursory view of television sitcoms presents the father (family ruler) as a moronic imbecile, the wife as having it all together, and the children ruling the roost. This is the complete opposite of God’s design for the family.
According to Isaiah 3:12, the rule of women was a disgrace and a curse. It came upon nations whose sayings and doings are against the Lord. Today, it has been magically transformed into a sign of our national progress and enlightenment. Little do we realize it is a harbinger of greater woes to come, as patriarchy makes the list of the Seven Modern Deadly Sins.
Obviously, our nation needs a major dose of the authentic Christianity that once turned the world upside down. Acts 17:6, 7 records, “But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, ‘These who have turned the world upside down have come here too. Jason has harbored them, and these are all acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king—Jesus.’” The world is upside down and the church needs to rise up once again to turn it right side up. We did it before and we can do it again, if we would just cross the line of obedience to stand up and speak out in Jesus’ mighty name!