Summary: The first in a series of an expanded look at the 7 Deadly Sins, a current societal manifestation and our call to the opposite virtue.
Of Vice and Virtue - “The Shedding of Innocent Blood” - Abortion: Prov.6:16-19
Today I am starting a once-a-month series of sermons entitled, “Of Vice and Virtue”. It is an expanded look at the traditional “seven deadly sins”. The series will include a look at (11) eleven “sins” which God hates, a modern manifestation of that sin and the opposite virtue to which we are called. This is not a series for the faint-of-heart or those whose Christianity is above getting soiled or only views life “through rose colored glasses”. It will necessitate a journey down the dark back alleyways of the worst sort of sinful behavior imaginable. We will glimpse the pain and horror of “man’s inhumanity to man” and stare into the naked face of evil. This is why I can only address these sins once a month, for they are heart-breaking and can easily lead us to despair. But as The Pulpit Commentary notes;
“(The rose colored) view of human nature that comes of a fastidious objection to look at the darker shades of character is not only false, but dangerous, since it tempts us to ignore our own failings and to neglect the duty of rebuking sin and of laboring to better the world. The physician must study pathology. The patient must allow his disease to be examined. We must therefore sometimes set ourselves to the unwelcome task of considering hateful things.” (Proverbs, pg. 142)
But, we will also balance the darkness by looking to the opposite virtues, the good and beneficent behavior to which we are called as followers of Christ. We will be encouraged to take the light of hope, which is “The Good News” and apply it, as a healing balm, to these sins and seek to deter their manifestations. I hope that each one of you will not only be informed but motivated to take action, whether it be prayer, letter writing, financial support or volunteering, but that each of us would do something.
The original “7 Deadly Sins” has their root in the Scriptures and chiefly came from this passage in Prov. 6: 16-19. Down through Church History other Scriptures such as Gal. 5: 19-21 were considered. A 4th Century monk, Ev-a-grius Pont-i-cus, may have been the first to draw up a list. The list was reworked a number of times and the final list included, “pride, greed, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony and sloth”. But I want to adhere to the Scriptures and look at these sins which God hates or considers an abomination.
Before looking at the specific sin, lets look at the context of the list. In context we need to go back to v.1. The chapter contains three warnings about three unwise and harmful types. Verses 1-5 speak of being ensnared in an unwise pledge, a promise you cannot keep. A modern twist would be being in excessive credit card debt. The advice, “Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter...”. Then, in v.6-11 we encounter an admonishment against being lazy. Then in v.12-15 we are introduced to “A scoundrel and villain”. The KJV translates these words as “naughty and wicked”. “Naughty” is far too mild, as we often apply this to a misbehaving child. Both Hebrew terms carry the idea of “worthless, nothingness and evil”. The verses then describe how this scoundrel uses his body, his mouth or speech, his eye, his feet and fingers, his heart, to cause harm and trouble. Then, in v. 16-19, we are told of how the LORD views such behavior, as abominations.
It is of interest to note that the first six sins are also related to body parts. And what this indicates is the complete depravity, the totality of this scoundrel whole person being involved in sin and evil.
The first deadly sin I wish to consider is found in Prov. 6: 17,
The Shedding of Innocent Blood.
The first thing we should note is in verse 16. “There are six things the LORD hates; seven that are detestable (abomination) to him.”
In one verse we have two words to describe the LORD’s reaction to such sins. He hates them and they are detestable or an abomination to Him. The Hebrew word translated detestable is the Bible’s strongest expression of hatred against wickedness.
“The shedding of innocent blood” means MURDER. It means a premeditated attack that results in death, in this case, of one who is innocent or innocent of a capital crime, not worthy of death.
In Scripture we find the shedding of innocent blood both among the heathen nations as well, at times, among the rebellious Jewish people. From the murder of Abel by Cain, to Zechariah, who was murdered between the altar and the sanctuary, to the death of Christ, to the martyrdom of Stephan and James, there is this shedding of innocent blood.