Overcoming Sin through Christ: Gluttony

  Overcoming Sin through Christ

A Comprehensive List of Sins

(Alphabetically Arranged)

Richard Hollerman

The plan of this study is simple.  We will look at a large number of sins, one by one, alphabetically.  We will define the sin, describe it, and comment on it, along with noticing Scripture references on the particular entry.  Some illustrations will be offered along with the description.

Gluttony

The terms glutton and gluttony are seldom used in our day, as they may have been in previous years—but the sin is still the same.  Some may joke about a person being a “glutton” at Thanksgiving time, but it is possible to commit this sin at any time of the year and in many different ways.

The glutton or gluttonous person is condemned in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.  In the English, the term glutton means “a person who eats or consumes immoderately.”[1]  In the Hebrew, the term means “light, worthless.”[2]  In Israel, parents were to bring their rebellious son to the elders of the city and say, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey us, he is a glutton and a drunkard” (Deuteronomy 21:20).  This describes an irresponsible and carnal son, one who was to be put to death so that “all Israel will hear of it and fear” (v. 21). 

In the Proverbs, Solomon says, “the heavy drinker and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe one with rags” (23:21).  We are to keep away from those guilty of gluttony: “Do not be with heavy drinkers or wine, or with gluttonous eaters of meat” (v. 20).  “He who is a companion of gluttons humiliates his father” (28:7).

The Greek phagos comes from phago, meaning “to eat,” “a form used for the aorist or past tense of esthio,” which means “a glutton.”[3]  Another source says that the term means “one who eats,” implying “one who eats too much.”[4]  Some falsely accused Jesus, “Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners” (Matthew 11:19; cf. Luke 7:34).  Although this charge was unfounded, and we know that Jesus was totally sinless all of His life, still the people knew that gluttony was sinful (Hebrews 4:15; 7:26). 

Another term is gaster, meaning “a belly.”[5]  Paul quotes a Cretan poet with these words, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons” (Titus 1:12).  We must see that gluttony is just as wrong as being a liar or an evil beast.

If we are bound to food, we should become accustomed to eating with discipline and to praying while eating.  “You have set me free from this bondage.” We should look on our palate as our enemy and not let it have any especially tasty thing until it does not matter what we eat.  Then we can enjoy good food with thanksgiving for the gift of God’s great goodness—but we can also be satisfied with less at other times.[6]

In other words, we need to become master of our appetites and what and when we eat—in contrast to the usual undisciplined practice of eating anything we want whenever we want it.  We must avoid gluttony.

We know that there is another aspect to gluttony that has become well-known in the last century.  As a person becomes overweight and obese, medical authorities point out that the person suffers more and more physical disease—including diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other ailments.  As the weight increases, the life expectancy decreases. 

Thus, gluttony—or eating too much (especially too much of the wrong, harmful, detrimental foods)—not only has moral implications but vast physical complications.  We must heed Paul’s command, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).[7]

 



[1] The American Heritage College Dictionary.

[2] The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible.

[3] W. E. Vine, Expository Dictionary.

[4] The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of theBible.

[5] W. E. Vine, Expository Dictionary.

[6] Schlink, You Will Never be the Same, p. 86.

[7] See also “Bodily Harm” in this listing of sins.

 

 

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