Life Notes—June 13, 2013
“When you were slaves to sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. So what advantage did you then get from the things of which you now are ashamed? The end of those things is death. But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death…” Romans 6:20-23a
The prevalence of sin is a central tenant in Christianity. It is seen as an act of defiance of God’s will and is described as that which separates us from God. The Bible lists many sins throughout its various books, but seldom formally categorizes one sin as worse than another. If sin separates us from God, then we are separated from God regardless of our specific sin. God’s forgiveness of our sins through repentance, regardless of the nature of our sin, also seems to lend credence to the thought that a sin is a sin is a sin. But that offends our understanding of justice, because surely one who sins by failing to tell his wife exactly how much the TV for his man-cave cost, an act of arguable deceit, cannot have separated himself nearly as far from God as a mass murderer. Even so, the Bible distinguishes the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17). There is also an unpardonable sin described in Matthew 12:32b: “…whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” This sin is considered unpardonable because it denies the very route (Holy Spirit) to God for forgiveness.
The Seven Deadly Sins are not found as a named group in the Bible. Proverbs 6:16-19 lists “…six things the LORD hates,” but that list is not the same. The Seven Deadly Sins track back to the 6th century and Pope Gregory I, but gained notoriety in Dante’s The Divine Comedy. They are considered deadly, not because they are unforgivable or because they cause physical death, but because they are considered to be the root of all other sins. They are also referred to as the capital vices. The term capital means head or primary, so a deadly sin in this context is one that is a root of other sins. What are the seven deadly sins? They are lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride. I will devote the next few Life Notes to exploring these sins in more detail, contemplating their manifestation in our lives. As Paul wrote to the Romans, “…the wages of sin is death.” That does not mean immediate, physical death; rather that sin separates us from God. And, apart from God, we cannot join in the eternal life promised those who believe. Although Jesus interceded on our behalf on the cross, an understanding of the presence and nature of sin, particularly these primary sins, may help draw us closer to God.
Rev. Sharon Howell will preach downtown where Life worship is at 10:00 in Brady Hall and traditional worship is at 8:30 and 11:00 in the sanctuary. Mitch preaches at the west campus where worship is at 9:00 and 11:00. His sermon title is “My Peace I Give.”
Come home to church this Sunday. Grow through fellowship with other children of God.
Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator