The Most Wonderful Sin of the Year

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Dick Dayton's picture

One passage that would be appropriate is I Corinthians 6:19,20. We have been "bought with a price," so emphasize the great cost of our salvation. "Glorify God in your body and in your spirit." We do a lot of challenging about glorifying God in our spirit, with a focus on our attitudes and our intimacy with Christ. Glorifying God in our bodies speaks to good stewardship of the piece of equipment He has given us for serving Him on this side of eternity. We have no problem preaching about substance abuse for believers, and we have good reason to do so. I beleive this passage supports us advocating a balanced, healthy lifestyle. We can become obsessed with physical fitness, but we have a tendency to ingore this aspect of our Christian life. Since God purchased my soul for eternity, and my body for this life, my responsibility is to treat His property with respect, and to maintain it to the best of my ability. I know that this body will eventually quit working and I will enter eternity. My responsiblity is to treat it with proper care, so that I am able to serve God as long as He intends me to be down here.

Dick Dayton

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Where is gluttony in the Bible? The best the linked article could do is 1Cor.10:31

So... I'm not denying it exists and is sin, but on the scale of "bad stuff that needs preaching against," it doesn't rank high.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

If the arguments against certain habits is 1) they are unhealthy 2) they are addictive, then we should treat gluttony the same way we treat smoking cigarettes. You gotta say, it's a bit disconcerting to watch a 350 lb preacher rant about 'cancer sticks'.

ADThompson's picture

There are other Bible passages that reference gluttony. The Pentateuch, Psalms, Proverbs and the Gospels consistently pair gluttony with drunkenness. The Apostle Paul (Phil 3. 18) associates it with idolatry.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Not all 'gluttons' are overweight- my dh has the metabolism of a hummingbird, and he has to remind himself (and I help him with that, you know, as his 'help meet') that just because he is skinny, he doesn't get to indulge.

Also, a 'large' person can be fit and healthy overall, due to musculature and bone structure. However, obesity is by definition carrying too much body fat, and is linked to overeating, excess alcohol, and a lack of exercise. There are a few health issues that contribute to obesity, but they are treatable. In any case, obesity should be the exception, not 75% of the church and most evangelists and special speakers. If a preacher waddles up to the pulpit and is red-faced and out of breath by the time he manages to turn on his microphone, most of the congregation has tuned the guy out already.

wkessel1's picture

Looking at Philippians 3:18 it doesn't mention food at all, so I presume you mean 3:19. Actually Paul isn't talking about overeating in that pasage either. He is referring to them being more concerned with koshser food diets and spent more time focusing on that then on focusing on God.

ADThompson's picture

wkessel1 wrote:
Looking at Philippians 3:18 it doesn't mention food at all, so I presume you mean 3:19. Actually Paul isn't talking about overeating in that pasage either. He is referring to them being more concerned with koshser food diets and spent more time focusing on that then on focusing on God.

Sorry, I WAS referring to Philippians 3:19. I can't say I've examined the passage thoroughly, but the BKC states regarding the phrase "their god is their belly":

They had in mind only their own physical desires and unrestrained gluttony.

MacArthur states that "it is used metaphorically to refer to all unrestrained sensual, fleshly, bodily desires." You were quoting from the NAC. As the author of that commentary states, it probably comes done to the identity of the false teachers.

Shaynus's picture

I'd be interested in how feasting in the Bible is normally considered good (and even commanded) and how that's different from gluttony.

Quote:
On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.
(Isaiah 25:6 ESV)

Jesus seemed to feast enough to the point where he was accused of gluttony and drunkenness. I wonder if those accusing him had a faulty definition of what gluttony is.

Dick Dayton's picture

The Lord brings to my minid a passage where we are to share our food with others as a feast and sacrifice to Him. Remember I John 2, that we must be cautious about "the lust of the flesh," when fleshly desires take control of us instead of us, by the Spirit, controlling them. In the garden, Eve saw that the tree was "good for food," and let her desires control her. When we sit to eat and enjoy the great bounty the Lord has given us, especially in this country, let us remember that we may enjoy the delicious taste of the food, and may rejoice in God Who supplies it for us. We are to keep our appetities under control. I Corinthians 6 says that "All things are lawful, but I will not be brought under the power of any." Within the broad parameters of what God has made appropriately available to me, I must be sure that I am controlling my appetites, and that they are not controlling me. Having had open heart surgery 3 years ago, I rejoice in and enjoy the great bounty God has supplied, but am much more cautious about what is on my plate than I used to be.

Dick Dayton

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Ditto Bro. Dayton- I don't think Biblical feasting was ever intended as an excuse to eat so much that one has to loosen one's girdle, or in our times release the top button of their pants. Excess is never encouraged, but moderation is. You can feast in moderation.

Shaynus's picture

Susan,

It seems like the whole concept of feasting contains the idea of eating more than you need. I don't know how a feast could be moderate when compared to normal eating. But we should feast moderately when compared to other feasts. Does that make sense?

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Yes and no- I think we should consider what constituted a normal meal in Bible times. Did they eat bread/salad/entree/sides/dessert on a regular basis? Was feasting indulging in an enormous amount of food, or enjoying an unusual variety of food at one sitting for a specific purpose?

If we remember that feasting had two connotations- blessing and judgment- then our modern definition of feasting (All You Can Eat at the Golden Corral) doesn't seem to fit. Does that make sense?

JobK's picture

There is no reason to being opposed to the consumption of alcohol even in moderation (when the NT specifically tells us to drink wine for health reasons, and the healthy benefits of small amounts of low alcohol wine has long been documented by the medical community) and similarly being opposed to smoking in moderation (i.e. cigars and pipes as opposed to cigarettes, which ironically reduces the desire/impulse to snack and other unnecessary indulgent eating) which the Bible does not mention or forbid at all while soft-pedaling gluttony.

Don't get me wrong ... I am neither a drinker or smoker. But this is yet another example of how our view of the gospel can be influenced by culture. Another example: how Christians have long accepted depictions of fornication and adultery in movies and TV, but promoting homosexuality in those mediums somehow "cross the line." Smoking and drinking are less acceptable to the mainstream culture than overeating, and as a matter of fact is illegal for those under 18 and 21. So that makes it "more sinful" in the eyes of Christians despite what the Bible actually says.

Look, Christians began to become more accepting of divorce when the mainstream culture did as well. And none other than James Dobson acknowledged that he wasn't going to make an issue of Bristol Palin's pregnancy because "let's face it: teen pregnancy/illegitimacy are part of the cultural landscape now so the church has to adapt." So the real issue is not gluttony per se, but the reality that more pastors would preach against it - and perhaps a number of other sins - if the mainstream secular culture regarded it as "bad" or "immoral." It makes you wonder how the church is going to treat homosexuality 25 years from now.

Solo Christo, Soli Deo Gloria, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Sola Scriptura
http://healtheland.wordpress.com

Brenda T's picture

Quote:
I am neither a drinker. . . .

Then, according to your statement that "the NT specifically tells us to drink wine for health reasons" if someone is not a drinker he/she is in violation of a specific command of Scripture.

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Quote:
Smoking and drinking are less acceptable to the mainstream culture than overeating, and as a matter of fact is illegal for those under 18 and 21. So that makes it "more sinful" in the eyes of Christians despite what the Bible actually says.

Some sort of qualifier for that statement would be appreciated, because it simply cannot be said that Christians in general view those things as more sinful. Some probably do, some probably don't. Would rather it not sound like you were speaking for all Christians there.

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As far as the gluttony issue, when I hear that word in the 1st century Roman world context I think of the men who were members of different guilds. Even though these guilds were based on occupation or perhaps interests such as music, they were known for having "meetings" that lent themselves to indulgences of sexual activity, drinking, and eating. With the eating, they would eat until they vomited or would do something to induce emesis so that more food could be consumed. Gluttony seems to imply simply consuming more than your body needs. That sounds like something probably a lot of us did a month ago and might do again this upcoming weekend.

Shaynus's picture

Quote:
[22 ] “You shall tithe all the yield of your seed that comes from the field year by year. [23 ] And before the LORD your God, in the place that he will choose, to make his name dwell there, you shall eat the tithe of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and flock, that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always. [24 ] And if the way is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, when the LORD your God blesses you, because the place is too far from you, which the LORD your God chooses, to set his name there, [25 ] then you shall turn it into money and bind up the money in your hand and go to the place that the LORD your God chooses [26 ] and spend the money for whatever you desire—oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves. And you shall eat there before the LORD your God and rejoice, you and your household.
(Deuteronomy 14:22-26 ESV)

Quote:
Gluttony seems to imply simply consuming more than your body needs.

I don't think that's it at all, Susan. God could have said to the children "feast before the Lord your God on whatever you want, as long as it's not over what you need." That's totally not the picture we're given. I think God intended feasting in the Bible as a shadow of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb to come.

Quote:
[10 ] And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land he has given you.
(Deuteronomy 8:10 ESV)

To eat and be full is to eat more than your body needs in that moment. The examples you gave of gluttony in the Roman world point not to the fact that they ate more than their body needed, but that it was past the point of fullness. Gluttony is over-fullness. Which is not the same as over what you need. I think God intended times of normal moderation, fasting, and excess at various times in the calendar year to communicate various truths to Israel. We shouldn't lose the biblical ability to piously pig out once in a while.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Shaynus- you need to direct your previous comment to Brenda T. But I will insert here that eating until one is satisfied can be 1) more than one 'needs' 2) less than pigging out. An unhealthy appetite goes beyond satisfaction and into excess. What is excess if it is not consumption of whatever beyond being satiated? I don't think the possibility of "piously pigging out" exists.

But- we tend to eat a meal in a short time span at one sitting. Along with the idea of feasting as eating a greater variety of foods in praise and gratitude to God, feasting is an ongoing activity. One is not scarfing down an uncomfortable and unhealthy amount of food in 20 minutes.

Shaynus's picture

Sorry for the misattribution Susan.

According to the Deut text above, God seemed to be saying to the children of Israel to feast on whatever their hearts desired. To define the meal necessarily as a variety of foods exclusively doesn't really fit the text. I've seen plenty of food shows on TV where bedouins kill a camel or goat, and that's pretty much the feast. Maybe there's a little couscous or barley stuffed in the cavity, but not much else.

I also think you're importing a little too much negativity into my "pigging out" lingo. There is a good kind of pigging out and a bad kind.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

but if you can find a flattering description of a pig in Scripture, let me know. Smile

I'm simply trying to separate what we think of as 'feasting' and what is described in Scripture as feasting. Feasting had specific purposes and a spiritual meaning attached. I do not find that in our modern 'feasting' methods and attitudes. And I don't find it to be consistent with other Scripture that feasting entails eating beyond being satisfied. God may have told them to eat whatever their heart desired, but 'whatever' is 'whatever' without distinction, not 'whatever' without exception.

Brenda T's picture

Shaynus,

You quoted from Deuteronomy 14 and followed that up with my quote as if I had been providing a commentary on that passage. My comment that you lifted was within the context of feasting at guild meetings in the first century Roman empire.

However, I'll provide a brief commentary on the Deut. passage. This is a tithe passage. Those who were traveling from too far away to haul their entire tithe could instead sell it for money, bring that money, then purchase whatever they desired as an offering/tithe to the Lord. Yes, they partook of some of that tithe, but not all. These types of things were probably eaten communally. As far as the "whatever you desire" it could possibly refer to them having a choice as to what to offer for the tithe. If they were bringing the actual products of their labors, they had to give what they had grown or raised. But, let's say they sold their wheat and goats for money, brought the money, then purchased whatever they desired -- meaning they didn't have to purchase "in kind" they could purchase something different than what they had sold in the first place. The people who brought their tithe with them in the form of grain or livestock did not have a choice as to whatever they desired, they were stuck with what they had brought.

Shaynus's picture

Brenda, I agree with you I think. The point is that there are all kinds of feasts: Sin and not sin. What makes one kind of feasting sin, and another not? I can't see how the line is more than your body needs. I just can't. I would think the line is closer to eating to the point of vomiting, or eating consistently out of control. But an occasional big time feast in thanks to God foreshadows the Great Feast God has prepared for us. There is nothing wrong with eating way more than you need. We don't NEED much. I think the Puritans had it about right, and behold, Thanksgiving.

Brenda T's picture

Quote:
Brenda, I agree with you I think.

Not sure what it is I wrote that you're agreeing with. You stated from the Deut. passage that "whatever you desire" is somehow giving permission to "piously pig out" [your words ]. I was stating that "whatever you desire" in Deut. means if you sold a goat for money, you don't need to use that money to buy another goat once you've arrived at your destination for the tithe offering. One could use that money to buy a different animal. My statements regarding that passage had nothing to do with how stuffed a person is permitted to become while eating. My statements were attempting to show that the passage has nothing to do with "pigging out." And, for the record, we know there weren't any pigs being offered and eaten, right? :O