Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions About Christianity, Answered Honestly!

What are the Seven Deadly Sins,
and is this Biblical?

-by Tony Warren

    What are the Seven Deadly Sins? Actually, there is no Biblical list of seven deadly sins because God has made it abundantly clear throughout scripture that all and any sins (transgressions of God's Law) are deadly. That is to say, will result in our ultimate death.

Romans 6:23
  • "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
James 2:10
  • "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all."

Every sin or transgression of God's law is deadly because the penalty for any one of these sins is death. And so to call only seven sins deadly is really a misnomer. That is precisely why no one could become saved by his own righteousness, or without Christ's payment for each and every one of their transgressions. Because any little (in man's eyes) sin that was left unpaid for, would result in the judgment of death (Ezekiel 18:4).

But the question persists, What are the Seven Deadly Sins? Well, the phrase 'Seven Deadly Sins' is a part of Roman Catholic folklore and Church tradition where some sins that they personally deemed as ruin to spiritual progress, was labeled capital or deadly. But this teaching has absolutely no foundation within the scriptures. The list consisted of the following:

1. Pride
2. Avarice (Greed)
3. Envy
4. Wrath
5. Lust
6. Gluttony
7. Sloth (Laziness)

These particular seven sins are nowhere listed in the Bible as a group, for they are as every other sin, and are warned against throughout the scripture. God does not single these out as deadly above all others. In other words, the sin of pride is no more deadly than the sin of not loving God with all your heart and soul. The sin of wrath or anger is no more deadly than the sin of disobedience to any of God's commands. They are all deadly transgressions, and so to list seven as deadly 'as if' the other sins are not, does a terrible disservice to the holiness and perfect justice of God. It is written that the wages of sin is death, not that the wages of these seven sins is.

Nevertheless, these sins are some of the more popular sins that man seems to have much difficulty in overcoming, and so we will take a brief look at them in order to understand how they war against the Spirit, and how we may overcome them in Christ.

1. PRIDE: This is the unwillingness to look at one's faults honestly, or of greatly esteeming oneself based on an excessive consciousness of abilities or worth. This is haughtiness, and is often euphemistically called, 'self respect.'

Proverbs 16:18
  • "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall."

Pride is often the root cause of many other sins. The Godly virtue that this transgression wars against is Christian humility and a contrite spirit (Matthew. 5:5, Proverbs 16:19), where man has a spiritual aversion to being subject to God or His laws. It is a hindrance to the Christian's recognition of the sovereignty and grace of God, as without a contrite spirit there is impenitence. To combat this sin, we should strive to look at ourselves honestly, see ourselves as the sinners in need of help that we really are. We must earnestly strive not to compare compare ourselves to others, that we might appear to ourselves as better.

2. AVARICE: This is simply Greed. This sin is the inordinate love of possessions and desire for either material wealth, or the insatiable need to gain more than one needs.

Proverbs 15:27
  • "He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live."

The Godly virtue that this sin wars against is Christian charity (Matthew 10:21, Acts 20:35), and usually ignores the eternal spiritual in favor of the temporal physical. To combat this sin we should pray that we come to understand that generosity is the virtue of sacrifice. Sharing and allowing others to receive some credit or praise is as soothing oil to the soul. To give, wanting nothing in return, is the true charity or love that combats greed.

3. ENVY: This sin is that of jealousy or perverted love, as in essence it is the love and desire to own what belongs to someone else (exodus 20:17). The root of this transgression is discontentment over another's superiority over us in possessions or good fortune. Envy is the resentment of the good that others will receive or have received.

Matthew 27:17
  • "Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?
  • For he knew that for envy they had delivered him."
Proverbs 23:17
  • "Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long."

The Godly virtue that this sin wars against is Christian contentment (Hebrews 13:5, Philippians 4:11) and genuine loving our neighbor even as we love ourselves. We combat this sin by seeking to be noble, wherein we honestly joy over our neighbor's good fortune as if it were our own. That is the true nature of loving our neighbor as ourselves (James 2:8), where there is no resentment or spite over their success.

4. WRATH: This is the transgression of anger or strong exasperation in rage at something or someone. It is often an emotional outburst, the result of our impatience, intolerance, or of having our pride hurt.

James 1:20
  • "For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God."
Colossians 3:8
  • "But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth."

The Godly virtue that this sin wars against is Christian love in long suffering or patience (Hosea 14:4, Luke 6:36) in dealing with the faults of others. We combat this sin by governing the passion of the flesh that we not neglect benevolence or love. We pray for perseverance and resoluteness, where we endeavor to show true kindness and compassion to others, forgiving their transgressions seven times seventy (Matthew 18:21-22).

5. LUST: This is the sin of having an inordinate and intense longing or appetite for something, such as sex, money or material things. It is often manifested in a self-destructive drive for some pleasure regardless of its consequences, value, merit, or legality.

Matthew 5:28
  • "But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."
1st John 2:16
  • "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world."

The Godly virtue that this sin wars against is Christian self control. The Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (Galatians 6:7-8, 1st Corinthians 9:27), therefore to combat this sin we should seek to remove from our realm or sight all temptations, inducements, attractions or snares that we might succumb to because of such weaknesses.

6. GLUTTONY: This sin manifested in the voraciousness of someone who indulges himself excessively in eating or drinking.

Proverbs 23:21
  • Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh:
  • For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags."

The Godly virtue that this sin wars against is Christian moderation (Philippians 4:5) and sound judgment. We can combat the sin of gluttony by temperance in accepting the boundaries and natural limits of pleasures, and by praying for strength to reduce our desire to eat. We should realize that we must quit eating before we are feeling stuffed or full.

7. SLOTH: This sin is the inclination to being lazy or to abhor the work ethic. Man is to provide for himself and his household, and being idle is a contradiction to this command of God.

Proverbs 19:15
  • "Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger."
Ecclesiastes 10:18
  • "By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through."

The Godly virtue that this sin wars against is the Christian zeal and Work (1st Corinthians 15:58, 2nd Timothy 4:5) model or ethic. We can combat this sin by repentance and in praying to God for an ardent and energetic interest or desire to respond to God's commands against our disdain for physical labor or exertion.

What are the Seven Deadly Sins? We see from the scriptures that these so called 'seven deadly sins' are simply a small part of an extensive collection of sins or transgressions of God's law, the breaking of any of which will bring death.

1st Corinthians 15:56-57
  • "The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
  • But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

The true Christian who has been born from above need, not fear any of the myriad of sins that will bring the wage of death. For we have the victory over them through our Lord Jesus Christ. God gave the ten commandments as a model encapsulating the 'whole law,' not seven deadly sins. And the true believer should understand that unless Christ has been the propitiation for all of our sins, from the least of them to the greatest, then we will see death as the wages of such sins. But if Christ has washed all of our sins away, then there is no sin that is deadly to us.
Romans 8:1
  • "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."

No condemnation to death, because there are now no sins. For we have obtained through His precious faith, the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. May the Lord who is gracious above all, grant us the robe of His righteousness, that takes away all sin.


Copyright 2000 Tony Warren
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Created 8/12/00 / Last Modified 4/1/02
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