The Seven Deadly Sins
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Question: What are the seven deadly sins? Where are they in the Bible?
Answer: The Bible does not have a list called the seven deadly sins. A Catholic Church monk around the 4th century A.D. likely started this list. It is not so much a collection of the worst sins man can commit, as it is a list of what Roman Catholics consider are the seven deadly, sinful attitudes that are the basis for all OTHER sin. The most common list of sins (attitudes) considered "deadly" are: Wrath, Greed, Lust, Pride, Envy, Sloth and Gluttony.
The nearest thing in the Old Testament to a list of seven transgressions considered “deadly” is in the sixth chapter of the book of Proverbs. Solomon writes that "God hates:"
"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"
"One who sows discord among brethren"
The only thing clearly in common, however, between the list of what God hates and what Catholic's believe are the seven worst sins is the attitude of Pride.
The New Testament
has at least two lists that delineate bad behavior. These lists, once again, are very different from that of the seven deadly sins:
"Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God." (1Corinthians 6:9-10)
'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)
The Seven Sins - Vanity
Oil on panel by H. Bosch
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What the Bible does teach is that ANY sin brings the death penalty. We might grade sin but God does not. ANY sin is deadly! The Bible defines sin as the transgression of ANY of the laws of God, which includes the ten commandments:
"Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." (1John 3:4, KJV)
"Now by this we know that we know Him (God), if we KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS. He who says, 'I know Him,' and DOES NOT keep His commandments, is a LIAR . . ." (1John 2:3-4)
All mankind, from the greatest to the least, sins:
"But the Scripture has confined ALL under sin . . . " (Galatians 3:22)
And the penalty for sinning is:
"For the wages (what it ultimately produces) of sin is DEATH . . ." (Romans 6:23)
Thankfully, God has provided a way to be forgiven of all our sins:
"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)
God does not stop at only forgiving us. He promises there will come a time when He will decide NOT to remember them FOREVER!
"No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for they ALL shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, AND THEIR SIN I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE.” (Jeremiah 31:34)
Thank you for your question regarding the seven deadly sins.