We often hear people talk about “The Seven Deadly Sins” like there is a list in the Bible. Well guess what there is no list of seven deadly sins in the Bible. The movie Se7en, released in 1995, about a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as metaphors in his murders, shed light on what are thought of as the seven deadly sins. They are:
There is a scripture that lists seven sins in Proverbs that God hates, but they are not called deadly sins.
Proverbs 6:16-19 (NKJV)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.
The seven deadly sins were first compiled by Pope Gregory I around the year 600.
Gregory also compiled a list of the seven virtues:
It is probably true that they were used extensively to teach principles from God's Word, particularly in the centuries before the invention of the printing press when the Bible was not available for the common man to read and study.
The Bible does validate all of these concepts, but nowhere are they recorded in a list like this and nowhere in the Bible are they specifically referred to as the seven deadly sins or seven virtues.
There are several more sins listed in Galatians, but they are not identified as deadly sins either.
Galatians 5:19-21 (NKJV)19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,21 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.
These and the sins listed in Proverbs are clearly all sins and God despises sin.
Psalm 5:4 (NKJV) For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, Nor shall evil dwell with You.
Isaiah 59:1-2 (NKJV)1 Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear.2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.
However the Bible tells us that the only sin that cannot be forgiven is complete rejection of God’s grace which is outright rebellion against God, also known as blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 12:31 (NKJV)31 "Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. (Bold mine).
1 John 1:5-10 (NKJV)5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. (Bold mine)
What Cures These “Deadly Sins”?
Salvation cures these deadly sins because with salvation comes the gift of a new heart.
Ezekiel 36:26-27 (NKJV)26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.
God puts His Spirit in us along with this new heart.
Acts 2:38 (NKJV)38 Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 1:13-14 (NKJV)13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
It is the Holy Spirit in you that enables you to develop the fruit of the Spirit.
Galatians 5:16-23 (NKJV)16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,21 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.22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
As the fruit of the Spirit becomes real in your life the seven deadly sins of gluttony, envy, sloth, wrath, pride, lust, and greed will lose their power in your life.
Editor's Note: This post has been modified to include the following section from the Beliefnet.com article "How to fight the 7 Deadly Sins With Confidence by Lesli White
How to Fight the 7 Deadly Sins With Confidence
Give your weakness to God and trust in Him.
By Lesli White
Most of us are familiar with the seven deadly sins. They are a list originally used in early Christian teachings to educate and instruct followers concerning fallen man’s tendency to sin. These sins include lust, gluttony, greed, laziness, wrath, envy and pride. Despite popular culture making light of these sins, they should be taken very seriously. Pride has broken families apart, greed has torn humanity into shreds and envy keeps people from feeling the joy God has for each of us. It takes heroic virtue in most cases to overcome these. Most of us are afflicted greatly with a number of these on the list. Once you give into one of these sins, it’s so easy for the spirit of the others to come into your heart as well. Thankfully, we have the power to fight the seven deadly sins and live for God. Here are five ways to fight the seven deadly sins with confidence.
Accept You Can’t Have Everything
You can work hard, save your money, and even buy many things you desire, but the truth is someone else will always have more to their name. We all know the Joneses. They’re the ones who just got back from a two-week trip to Europe dragging suitcases stuffed with souvenirs. They drive their kids to private school in their new car, and every weekend, they head out of town – fashionably dressed – to eat at their favorite restaurants. They always seem to have money to do everything they want to do whenever they want to do it. No budget. No worries. They’ve got it all. Or so it seems. The truth is, they don’t have everything and keeping up with Joneses isn’t going to bring joy. God tells us in 1 Corinthians 13:5 that “love is never jealous,” and loving our neighbors is something we are called by God to do. The next time you begin feeling envious of what others have, take a close look at what God has blessed you with and say a short prayer of thanks. Ask God to change your heart and allow you to be grateful for the blessings He has bestowed upon you. Also, pray that God will help you along your journey in life.
Remember, Life isn’t All About You
Your actions and priorities do affect those around you. With that in mind, know that every time you choose to be lazy instead of meeting friends you made plans with weeks in advance, you are hurting your relationship with them. When you choose to stay in your pajamas, eating playing games or watching movies all day, your relationships suffer, as does your waistline. Being lazy doesn’t necessarily limit itself to refusing to attend social functions. Being lazy includes the refusal to listen when God tells you to take a few hours each week to help feed the hungry or go to the bank to get some cash to donate to a good cause. It’s important that you keep yourself mentally and physically active by participating in outreach events. Pray for people in your spare time. Do God’s work and keep yourself from allowing the sin of sloth to overcome you.
Make God the Most Important Part of Your Day
If you’re struggling with any of the deadly sins, it’s important that you pray. Communication with God is key and prayer should be a daily practice. It’s easy to cast this aside. Or to tell ourselves “I’ll spend time with God after I do this quick other thing.” Many things seem more urgent and while they may be at the top of your priority list, they are not more important than God. Spending time with God is the single-most important priority you’ll do each day. Your time in Scriptures and prayer should have as its goal a growing love for God.
Confess Your Sins Immediately
When you do commit one of the seven deadly sins (and you will), confess it immediately and then move on. The Bible tells us. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). In a very practical sense, God’s indignation over your daily sins demonstrates His love for you. Keep short accounts with God and with others. Don’t allow unconfessed sin to weigh down your life. Grace is there for that very reason (1 John 1:9). Grace allows you to move on. Keep confessing your sins; seek God’s forgiveness and cleansing daily. As the verse says, He is faithful to Himself to forgive your sins and He is just, having already made full atonement for your sins through the sacrifice of His beloved Son.
Feed Your Mind Truth
Your mind is the secret to your spiritual life. You can feed it truth to transform it. If you are trying to fight any of the seven deadly sins, meditate on these great truths:
Romans 6:13-14 (NKJV) 13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. (Editor's addition)
Romans 7:14-15 (NLT2) 14 So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin.15 I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. (Editor's addition)
Romans 8:5-16 (NLT2) 5 Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.7 For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will.8 That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.9 But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.)10 And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God.11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.12 Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do.13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live.14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”
16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. (Editor's addition)
A common misconception about the list of seven “deadly” sins is that they are sins that God will not forgive. The Bible is clear that the only sin God will not forgive is that of continued unbelief, because it rejects the only means to obtain forgiveness – Jesus Christ and His substitutionary death on the cross. Today, you are provided with the opportunity for self-examination and renewed repentance. Don’t let these sins control your heart.
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Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.