Seven Deadly Sins

Psalm 106

“Surely never but in Israel has patriotism chosen a nation’s sins for the themes of song, or, in celebrating its victories, written but one name, the name of Jehovah, on its trophies. But in the Psalter we have several instances of such hymns of national confession.” Alexander McLaren

RC church has doctrine of mortal sin:

“To choose deliberately – that is, both knowing it and willing it – something gravely contrary to the divine law and to the ultimate end of man is to commit a mortal sin. This destroys in us the charity without which eternal beatitude is impossible. Unrepented, it brings eternal death.” CCC, 1874

“Mortal sin, by attacking the vital principle within us – that is, charity – necessitates a new initiative of God’s mercy and a conversion of heart which is normally accomplished within the setting of the sacrament of reconciliation.” CCC, 1856

The (RC) deadly seven: pride, greed, lust, gluttony, envy, anger, and sloth (laziness). Now, Bible doesn’t teach that you lose your salvation if you commit one of those. But, Bible does teach people of God have struggled repeatedly with those…and others. Also teaches that sin is deadly to fellowship with God; for sin to have no effect on fellowship – would mean God doesn’t take sin seriously. Wrong!

One more thing: sounds like same old, same old – cover to cover in God’s word, same wrong behaviors come up over and over. Bible and history and experience all make it clear: bad behavior is systemic, not environmental. In other words, people sin because they are sinful, not because of their circumstances or environment.

Psalm begins and ends with: Hallelujah! Obviously intended as hymn of praise. But vast bulk of psalm has something else in focus – absence of faithfulness on part of God’s people to covenant. Hymn of praise and confession! How can those two go together?? By God’s grace and help of his Spirit, we will understand that by end of psalm.

A. give thanks v.1-6

have the inclusio, the bookends – Hallelujah: Praise the Lord; God doesn’t command his people to do something for no reason or purpose: if we are to praise him, there is good reason, maybe several

cause for praise (1-2)

goodness – Stephen Charnock, 146 pages! “His goodness is his glory and Godhead, as much as is delightfully visible to his creatures, and whereby he doth benefit man. ‘I will cause my goodness to pass before you:’ What is this but the train of all his lovely perfections springing from his goodness?”

mercy – steadfast or loyal love; enduring nature of God’s love one of most repeated themes, 35x in Psalms, every verse of Ps. 136

power – Job 26:14 “Who can understand the thunder of his power?”; power evident in his mighty works but, praise God, moderated by his goodness and steadfast love

glory – if his full glory exceeds his goodness, what can we say but Hallelujah! Wow! God is awesome!

immensity – “WSC Q4: What is God? A4: God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.” Who is up to describing all that?

need for help (3-6)

in contrast to good and faithful God: those who do right are blessed – will enjoy God’s favor regardless of circumstances

but….we’ve done wrong – first hint something might be wrong (4-5): request for favor, deliverance, implication that present circumstances involve some sort of corrective discipline

sin – miss the mark; fail to live up to expectations; principal word used for sin in OT, 580x

iniquity – takes it up a notch: bend, twist, distort; adds concept of intent, purposefully doing what is perverse

wickedness/evil – another notch: behave in a way contrary to God’s character and injurious to others Ex. 34

what follows: confession of the nation’s sinfulness; doesn’t make sin collective, only a problem for the group; just means majority were involved much of the time

individual still needs to deal with individual sin in appropriate way: repentance, confession, forgiveness

B. man’s sinfulness displayed…repeatedly v.7-39

7-12 disbelief (Exod. 14:11–31) failed to believe the same God who delivered them from Egypt through Red Sea could / would continue to provide for their basic needs; did believe when they saw (remember Thomas!)

13-15 discontent (Exod. 15:22–24; 16:2–4; 17:2–4; Num. 11:4) soon forgot God’s demonstration of power, preferred present physical comforts to future promised blessing

16-18 envy (Num. 16:3–7, 32) again, another lack of spiritual discernment: saw external privileges afforded to Moses and Aaron, had little or no grasp of great weight of responsibility they carried; the ones God condescended to speak to and receive sacrifice from

19-23 idolatry (Exod. 32; Deut. 9:8–19) weeks earlier, had seen God thoroughly humiliate Egyptian gods; yet, had more confidence in what they could see than sovereign God they could not see

perhaps some rebellion there also – the unseen God makes his own rules, the little “g” god I make follows my rules

24-27 fear and cowardice (Num. 13, 14) piled up one sin on another: fear of the giants prompted rejection of God’s provision, disbelief in his promise, grumbling at God’s expectations, disobedience of his commands

28-31 sinful alliances (Num. 25) particular sins in view: sexual immorality between Israelites and pagans that led to rank idolatry; the kind of behaviors that would have destroyed Jewish society if left unaddressed

similar happening today: intense pressure for “anything goes” sexual practices that leads to worship of self; the individual is the supreme law giver – I decide what is right for me, no one else can interfere

32-33 quarreling (Num. 20:1–13) the waters of Meribah, the second rock, quarrel was with the Lord and his provision; but…their bad attitude incited Moses to lose his temper (struck instead of spoke) and brought consequences on all

Moses responsible for own behavior but is important to recognize sinful behavior can drag in otherwise innocent bystanders

34-39 summary: thorough worldliness = living by sight, not by faith

regardless of specific circumstances, Jewish people sinned against God in same ways, repeatedly

in today’s language: the majority weren’t Christians; didn’t believe God would keep his promises, trusted their own sight and solutions over God’s provision

reality is, “Christians” then and now get sucked into that mind-set – drifting away from proper focus on God

C. rinse and repeat!! God’s faithfulness displayed….repeatedly v.40-46

discipline not desertion – even in anger didn’t abandon his people (40-43)

delivered to enemies for discipline and correction – here specific time in history parallels that of cycles recorded in Judges: rebellion > retribution > repentance > restoration

God didn’t write his people off when they sinned; their hardship wasn’t because he took his hand away, was hand of correction and discipline intended to teach his people to turn from their sin

restored to fellowship when they repented (44)

are guaranteed God’s listening ear when sincerely repentant – when they cried to him as their only help, he answered

prelude to answer for Peter’s question: Matt. 18:21-22Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how many times could my brother sin against me and I forgive him? As many as seven times?”“I tell you, not as many as seven,” Jesus said to him, “but 70 times seven.”

remained faithful to his covenant even when people didn’t (45)

Heb. 6:13when God made his promise to Abraham, since he could swear by no one greater, he swore by himself” – God’s character would not allow him to abandon his covenant under any circumstances; btw, true and important for us under New Covenant

kept enemies on a leash (46)

just like Job, God set boundaries for Satan; God set boundaries for Israel’s enemies – they were to be disciplined, not destroyed – even pagans required to submit to God’s purpose

D. praise for God’s longsuffering mercy and forgiveness v.47-48

sin is universal problem: if anyone should have made it on their own –

Adam and Eve – perfect people, perfect environment; Israelites – imperfect people, perfect Helper

God himself was present then in ways that you’d think could guarantee success – walked in the Garden with Adam and Eve; guided people by pillars of fire and cloud, engraved the rules in stone, but….

Gal. 3:24Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”

universal failure to keep the law shows problem is within us; its purpose, then, to demonstrate man’s total inability to satisfy requirements for salvation

without outside help we have no hope; in Paul’s view, primary function of the law to pound it into our heads that we need the only one who actually kept the law, who did what Adam and Moses and everyone else failed to do

may be deadly sins but God gives life

these sins or any others in the unconverted carry the death penalty – eternal death, irreversible alienation from God and subjection to his eternal punishment

these sins or others in the converted will hinder or kill fellowship with God and other believers

when the unconverted turn to Christ in faith, they receive the gift of life; when the converted turns from sin in repentance, they receive the gift of restored fellowship

save us to praise

sincere cry for deliverance not a waste of time; praise always the right response to God and his deliverance

The wonder of it all, another cause for praise, is that God even listens. Since God’s track record over thousands of years of history is the same, can have genuine hope he will continue to hear our cry and will certainly respond.

“Let all within us cry, Save us, good Lord, and we will bless Your name. Dangers are always near. Sacred records warn us. Our experience confirms the truth. It is madness to hope for safety from our own vigilance or strength. They fall who trust in such unstable ground. Let our eyes be ever on the Lord, so shall we triumph in His praise.” Henry Law


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