The seven deadly sins have been depicted by writers, artists, and pop-culture throughout history, from Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy to the 1995 thriller movie Seven starring Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman. These works claim the following as the seven deadly sins: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride.
Though these sins are grievous to the Lord, are they the same as the ones mentioned in the Bible? No. While there are seven mentioned in the Bible, the list is considerably different. Proverbs 6:16-19 regards seven things that are detestable to the Lord. Notice that each of them are associated with a specific body part.
Before we discuss the specific sins in Proverbs, its important to know that the Bible says “all” of us have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3). Every sin that we commit leads to death, and none of us are righteous enough to go to heaven. That is why Jesus died in our place so that we could have the righteousness of God. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of all of our sins, and cleanse us from unrighteousness. Praise be to God for his glorious grace.
1. A proud Look – Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 6:23: “But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness.” If we are arrogant, boastful, and self-centered, our whole character will be corrupted. Instead, Paul informs us to boast in the Lord because He is perfect in wisdom, might, love, justice, and righteousness. As Christians, we are commanded to put off pride and put on humility (2 Cor. 5:17), always considering others better than ourselves (Philip. 2:3). What are some ways that you can produce humility in your own life?
2. A Lying Tongue – Lying is a false statement made with a deliberate intent to deceive. Why do you think we are tempted to practice deceit? Is it for popularity, exaggeration to make yourself look better, or bending the truth to avoid trouble? If you remember, Delilah deceived Samson because of her lust for wealth and David lied about his adultery with Bathsheba because He was more concerned about his reputation than his relationship with God. What idol of the heart tempts you to lie? The desire of a Christian should be to put off deceit and put on honesty. Let’s not follow the “father of lies” but Jesus, who is the way, the truth, and the life.
3. Hands that Shed Innocent Blood – Anger is the sin that leads to extreme aversion or hostility, resulting in shedding innocent blood. The first person of the human race to shed blood was Cain because of his jealousy toward his brother Abel. Jonah was tempted toward anger because of God’s compassion towards the Ninevites. Jezebel was hostile towards Elijah because his holiness proved that the deities she loved were worthless. King Herod despised the coming Messiah because He was jealous that others saw him more as a king than himself. To repent of anger, you need to first identify the heart issue: What motivates you toward anger? The cure to repenting of anger is to put on love. Jesus told us that the two greatest commands are to love God and love neighbor; these are the fulfillments of the law. What are some practical steps that you can take today to love more?
4. A heart that devises wicked plots – The Scripture tells us that every thought of the human heart is only evil continually. We know that the human heart is prone to carry out schemes to cheat, lie, or inflict harm on others. All we have to do is turn on the news and watch the horrific tragedies that take place on a daily basis. The gospel calls us to put off evil schemes and put on making plans with wisdom and humility. When we set our goals, it should lead to profit (Prov. 21:5) and the benefit of God and others. What are some practical steps that you can take to plan your future for the sake of God and others?
5. Feet that are swift to run to mischief – The phrase here suggests someone who has a disposition or bent, especially in the mind or will, to practice mischief. This evil inclination has been likened to a moth being drawn to a flame. It’s an attractive sin that compels us to it, but the end results in destruction. There are different temptations that lure us more than others. What specific sin do you struggle with and how are you going to overcome it’s power in your life? The prophet Jeremiah said: “His Word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot (Jer. 20:9). Therefore, instead of allowing sin to consume you, how will you replace it with the passion to see others saved?
6. A deceitful witness that pours out falsehood – This is one who is malicious, false, and makes defamatory statements or slanders their neighbors. God hates lying, but especially when someone gossips about others that isn’t even true. To let the blame fall on the innocent is not only a sin against the person, but against God because it defies his attribute of justice. Do you remember what happened to Joseph in Egypt, how he was falsely accused of a crime against Potiphar’s wife? As Christians, let’s put off slander and put on praise. Praise is edifying to the body and builds people up for the glory of God.
7. A person who sows discord among people – This example illustrates one who creates dissension or discord for the purpose of provoking argumentation. In the epistles, Paul warns Titus to avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, arguments, and quarrels about the law since they are unprofitable and useless (Tit. 3:9-11). Put off divisiveness and put on unity. Ephesians 4:3 says “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Are you making the effort to keep this unity with your church, brother, or sister in Christ?