Video by The School of Life

It was a sunny afternoon when John stumbled upon a strange book in his grandfather’s attic. 

As he flipped through the dusty pages, he read about seven sinister ‘sisters’ that have haunted humans since the beginning of time.

These ‘sisters’ were not actual people but personifications of humanity’s deepest vices – pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth.

John was intrigued. As a young boy raised in the church, he had heard warnings against such cardinal sins.

But why were these seven sins called deadly? Where did the concept originate? And what exactly does the Bible say about them?

His curiosity was piqued and John set out to uncover the mystery of the seven deadly sins.

The Origin Story of Sin’s Wicked Seven

Seven Deadly Sins

The phrase “seven deadly sins” was first used in the 6th century AD by Pope Gregory I in a series of sermons. But their roots run deeper into 4th-century Christian monasticism and moral theology.

To early Christian leaders, these seven – pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth – were cardinal, or fundamental sins as they gave birth to other vices.

Indulging in them could pervert one’s soul and invite spiritual death.

Over the centuries, popular culture has romanticized these deadly sins. But the Bible clearly warns against falling into these traps.

1. Pride – The Chief of Sins

Sin Of Pride

According to the Bible:

“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”

Proverbs 16:18 (NIV)

Of the seven, pride is considered the original and the “worst” sin. It played a huge part in the devil’s downfall who was once a beautiful angel serving God in heaven.

The Bible says:

“Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor.”

Ezekiel 28:17 (NIV)

Pride is an exaggerated sense of one’s abilities and achievements. It is claiming glory for oneself that belongs rightfully to God.

God hates pride and considers it an abomination.

“The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.”

Proverbs 16:5 (NIV)

Scripture gives us examples of many proud people, like Pharaoh in the Book of Exodus, who eventually faced ruin and destruction.

On the other hand, God blesses the humble.

“Those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Matthew 23:12 (NIV)

The antidote to deadly pride is humility – acknowledging your abilities and blessings come from God alone.

2. Greed – The Trouble with Wanting More

The Sin Of Greed

John D. Rockefeller, once the world’s wealthiest man, was asked, “How much money is enough?” His famous reply was, “Just a little bit more.”

This desire for just a bit more money defines the deadly sin of greed. The Bible tells us that loving money leads to all sorts of evil:

“But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction.”

1 Timothy 6:9 (NLT)

Greed makes us stingy, materialistic, and insensitive to others’ sufferings. Scripture asks us to seek contentment instead:

6 Godliness with contentment is great gain… 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.”

1 Timothy 6: 6,9 (ESV)

Instead of comparing yourself with richer people, be grateful for whatever God has provided you. That weakens greed’s deadly grip over you.

3. Lust – The Burning Craving for Forbidden Fruit

The Sin Of Lust

Lust is an intense craving for sexual pleasures that God has forbidden. Pornography and adultery are prime examples.

But lust also refers to your wants that override your needs, like coveting other’s relationships, positions, and possessions.

“For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.”

James 3:16 (NIV)

Left unchecked, lust burns into a deadly obsession, destroying marriages, careers, health, and one’s walk with God.

The Bible prescribes fleeing from all lust and sexual sin:

“Flee from sexual immorality.”

1 Corinthians 6:18 (NIV)

“Flee also youthful lusts.”

2 Timothy 2:22 (NKJV)

Immerse yourself in God’s Word instead to purify your desires and find true satisfaction in a genuine relationship with Jesus alone.

4. Envy – Wanting What’s Not Yours

The Sin Of Envy

The sin of envy rears its ugly head when you desire what belongs to others – whether it is their talents, relationships, possessions, or social standing.

Envy creeps in when you compare yourself with others instead of being grateful for your own journey.

In Cain and Abel’s story, Cain killed his brother Abel out of envy because God preferred Abel’s sacrifice over his.

Envy contains a seed of murder as it resents others receiving blessings.

“Envy rots the bones.”

Proverbs 14:30 (NIV)

Rather than begrudging others, Scripture instructs us to rejoice when our brothers and sisters prosper. That cuts out envy at its roots.

“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”

Romans 12:15 (NIV)

5. Gluttony – When Appetites Rule You

The Sin Of Gluttony

Gluttony refers to over-indulging in food, drink, or even entertainment.

The refusal to practice self-control over appetites makes one a slave to cravings. Obesity is often a symptom of this deadly sin.

The Bible treats drunkards and gluttons alike – worthy of condemnation for their lack of restraint.

“For drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.”

Proverbs 23:21 (NIV)

As God’s temple (1 Corinthians 6:19), you should care for your body with discipline.

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

1 Corinthians 10:31 (NIV)

Mastering self-control is key to defeating this deadly sin.

6. Wrath – When Anger Rules You

The Sin Of Wrath

From shouting matches to violence, uncontrolled anger destroys relationships and ruins lives.

The Bible refers to fury and rage as wrath – an intense emotional outburst seeking to punish offenders.

Left unchecked, wrath often escalates into violence, lawsuits, and lasting resentments. It’s a deadly sin that spawns more sins.

Instead, you should model yourself after God who is patient, slow to anger, and full of mercy.

“The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.”

Psalm 145:8 (NIV)

Learning to control your temper, hear others out, and let go of offenses defangs wrath of its deadly poison. Forgiveness heals wrath’s wounds.

7. Sloth – When Laziness Overtakes Your Soul

The Sin Of Sloth

Contrary to popular belief, sloth refers to more than just laziness or lack of activity.

Its original Greek meaning conveys a sense of heaviness or indifference – a feeling of apathy and sluggishness.

Simply put, it is spiritual boredom and lethargy that slows one down from pursuing God and meaningful service to others.

You once burned with passion for the Lord and His work but now find yourself spiritually cold and indifferent.

“The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns, but the path of the upright is a highway.”

Proverbs 15:19 (NIV)

You must nourish your soul through prayer, fellowship, and acts of service to conquer sloth’s spiritual paralysis. Zeal overcomes this deadly sin.

Key Takeaways: How to Conquer Sin’s Deadly Seven

  • Be mindful of pride and nurture humility.
  • Be content and curb greed’s grasping tendencies.
  • Flee from lust; feast on God’s Word instead.
  • Celebrate others’ joys; complain less.
  • Develop self-control over appetites.
  • Simmer anger down with patience and forgiveness.
  • Battle boredom in faith; fan spiritual fervor.

The holy life requires alertness against these seven sinister ‘sisters’ ever ready to ambush your soul.

Walking in the Spirit, saturated in Scripture and anchored in the community of Christians will fortify you against falling prey to their schemes.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q. Where does the list of seven deadly sins come from?

A. Though not mentioned verbatim in the Bible, the concept of seven chief vices developed in early Christian monastic traditions under Pope Gregory I in the late 6th century AD. But Scriptural wisdom warns clearly against such destructive behaviors.

Q. Aren’t we all guilty of these sins to some degree? How can anyone avoid them completely?

A. Yes, in our fallen state, we all struggle with these sins dwelling in our unredeemed flesh. Avoiding them completely is impossible.

The goal is to recognize these tendencies early and repent swiftly when you stumble. Then you can receive God’s grace to eventually weaken sin’s hold over you.

Q. Why does the Bible say these seven are deadly or capital sins?

A. Because indulging in these vices gives rise to a multitude of other secondary sins that can dominate and destroy one’s life.

If left unchecked, they also jeopardize your salvation leading to spiritual destruction. These tend to be gateway sins that open the floodgates to more dangerous transgressions.

They spark a self-perpetuating sin cycle dragging you further from God if you fail to repent. That’s why Scripture warns these can place one’s soul in eternal jeopardy.

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