What does it take to be bad? We need to tune in to what Scripture says on the topic, or we may be surprised. Worse yet, we may be participating in sin ourselves. This is the second in a series on sin, a fairly unpopular topic.
We all sin, but if we’re not careful, we can turn aside to a sinful lifestyle
i. If we’re not bad, we’re good . . . Right?
So we all know what sin is, don’t we? Sin is doing bad. And if we’re not bad, we’re good . . . Right?
There’s a cartoon that has a similar theme, Wreck-It Ralph. “I’m bad, and that’s good! I will never be good, and that’s not bad!” Watch Wreck-It Ralph if you want a Theological Disney film (just joking). In some ways we try to simplify sin.
Not Bad . . . but Good?
The gavel has come down. I’ve been judged as good because I’m simply not bad. I’m not as bad as that publican over there in the corner (Luke 18.9-14). I’m good.
ii. Origins of the 7 Deadly Sins
Have you ever heard of the 7 Deadly Sins? Among others, John Cassian listed 8 Deadly Sins. It is said the Pope Gregory the Great narrowed the list to 7.
They’re based on scripture texts like these, that people have studied when putting these lists together.
Proverbs 6.16-19 (NRSV)
There are six things that the Lord hates,
seven that are an abomination to him:
haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked plans,
feet that hurry to run to evil,
a lying witness who testifies falsely,
and one who sows discord in a family.
Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, . . .
If you don’t know what fornication is, it means that a wedding ring is where it’s at. It’s really not supposed to be anywhere except for within the bonds that this ring symbolizes.
impurity, licentiousness, . . .
Licentiousness is something we don’t preach on very often
I believe that’s what our culture is saturated with today. Licentiousness is an eagerness for lustful pleasure.
I think that from about the time I was my youngest son’s age, I was first experiencing the world. It was the ’70’s. It was supposed to be the age of free love . . . but it was not even close to what today is.
Licentiousness is rampant in our society today. Families are being torn apart because of this. And it’s not just visual. It’s also in the ways we express ourselves. It’s in our conversations.
We are guilty as a society of licentiousness. And we must repent as a society!
Vote for that! Vote for Godly men. They’re the ones that can make the kinds of changes that we would like. They can place the type of restrictions where they need to be placed. They’re the type of people who can enact the law.
We as congregations and the church can do so as well, with our views and with our children, as we raise them up to serve the Lord.
idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Then Paul goes into the Fruit of the Spirit, but I think it’s important to understand this list first. Repent first! And then let’s get into what God can do in your life.
Run to the Cross!
Great Christian leaders have studied lists like this a lot more than I have, or will ever be able to. I’m not going to look at all of the 7 Deadly Sins (or 8). I’ll let you find them.
We’re going to look at 1. It’s the older one. It’s the 8th sin. It was eventually combined with another.
Before we consider that sin, I have to say something about sin.
iii. If we stop doing bad . . . we can still sin
Does anyone realize this?
Let’s look at James. I’m just going to snatch one verse out of James. The book of James is almost considered Wisdom Literature, like Proverbs. So there are times when I feel like it’s okay to pull one verse out and share it.
James 4.17: Anyone, then, who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, commits sin.
It’s a sin to keep from living and doing right.
Footnotes: Jared V. Ingle, “The Dilemma of the Sin of Omission” (sermon, Harbor Light Christian Center, Traverse City, MI, August 12, 2018).
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