Ligon Duncan on the Non-Negotiables of the Gospel

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  • Monday, March 10, 2008

    Deadly Sin

    The Catholic Church divides sins into venial, or less serious, sins and mortal sins, which threaten the soul with eternal damnation unless absolved before death through confession and penitence.

    The above quote is taken from the FoxNews Article entitled "Vatican Adds Seven New Deadly Sins Including Abortion, Contraception and Drug-Dealing".

    It raises the question "How Deadly is Sin?"?

    The Bible states "the wages of sin is death". It does suggest that there are only "some" sins which threaten the soul with damnation (unless forgiven) while others are "less serious" and do not affect the soul, it's relation with God, one's spiritual state and condition, or one's eternal destiny. While it's true there are some sins more grievious than others, some sins with greater consequences than others, and some sins with greater guilt and deserving of greater punishment than others; that does not negate the fact that all sin causes one to be a law breaker and to fall short of the glory and righteous requirements of God. A holy God can look upon and turn his head to "any" sin.

    Can you imagine one suggesting they have committed only venial sins and therefore believe it fine to reject Christ (because they don't need him) and think they will not only avoid eternal damnation but experience eternal life? Far be it from the truth, for the word says "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." The Scripture teaches that all sin (large or small) is an affront to God and violation of his law and results in falling short of God's righteous standard.

    The article states "it holds mortal sins to be grave violations of the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes.” What is the determination of "grave", who decides it, and upon what authority? Sin is any want, transgression or lack of conformity to the law of God. No matter how some seek to excuse it or reclassify it, it misses the mark and results in death, unless atoned for and forgiven through the atonement that comes by God's own Son, Jesus Christ.

    Note for example:
    "Venial sin weakens charity; it manifests a disordered affection for created goods; ... However venial sin does not set us in direct opposition to the will and friendship of God; it does not break the covenant with God... (C.C.C. # 1863)

    Would "coveting" be considered a venial sin. It would be by the second phrase; however an inconsistency would be found when compared with the third phrase, for coveting does set us in direct oppostion to the will of God.

    Additionally, while it's true that God's Word needs to be applied in all generations, and while it's true man continues to seek new ways to express and participate in sin, that is different from saying there is "new sin". The root nature and foundation of sin is the same in every generation as described by God's Word and addressed in the Ten Commandments. In other words, the Bible is sufficient and has defined sin, all sin (even though new forms or expressions of those sins arise), so that it is not necessary for the church to assume that role. While it's true the role of the church is to apply the truths of God's word to specific areas and practices in their day, that's different from suggesting there is "new" sin.

    Interesting isn't it... the article states "...there is no definitive list of mortal sins..." Seems something as significant as this, if one could define them they should be defined. The truth is they don't define them because they don't exist on one level, but on another level all sins are "mortal" in the sense they violate God's law and deserve punishment if not atoned for.

    As far as the reference to "environmental polluters", one must be humored to think that abuse of creation must not have been a significant sin until the Catholic church declared it to be so. It's as though they think they must make the Bible relevant to the present age (by putting something on a "list of deadly sins" ... as if the Bible itself were not always relevant.

    Don't confuse whether or not I'm grateful for the Catholic church taking a stand against sinful practices in today's world, for I am; I only wish they would do so based on the right authority and characterize it as it really is.

    Type rest of the post here

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