Seven Capital Sins – Lust, pt.1

The capital sin we are looking at this week is Lust. Lust is the inordinate love of the pleasures of the flesh, usually, but not necessarily, of a sexual manner.  Like many of the capital sins that we are discussing, lust can be viewed as the primary sin from which all other sins derive, for Lust is that misdirection of all of our desires that rightly belong to God.

In Genesis 3:6, we see that Eve lusted after the fruit given to her by the serpent because it was “good for food and pleasing to the eye.” Echoing the Fall, the apostle James writes that “every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed.  Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death.” James 1:14-15. Likewise, in his “Confessions”, Augustine teaches that lust is the source of all of our sins. Our desire should be for God, and our wickedness is the perversion that arises from a bent will that no longer desires God but lusts after the lower earthly pleasures. Book 7, ch.16. Out of this perversion of will comes lust, the service of lust is ended in habit, habit becomes necessity, and out of necessity comes slavery. Book 8, ch 5. Thus, we develop two wills, the lust of the flesh which seeks happiness in earthly desires and the lust of the spirit which seeks happiness in spiritual desires, “for the flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.” Gal. 5:17. Or as Blaise Pascal wrote: “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every person . . . and this he tries in vain to fill with everything around him” It is this lust after sex, power, status, or wealth that arguably gives rise to the other sins.

For this week, please read Chapter 3 of ++Sheen’s book.  If you have time, please read how Lust almost destroyed the reign of King David. David’s lust for Bathsheba brings about the murder of her warrior husband Uriah in 2 Samuel 11. Annon’s lust for Tamar brings about his murder and the exile of Absalom in 2 Samuel 13. And it is Absalom who returns from exile to lead the rebellion against David with the aid of Uriah’s comrades in 2 Samuel 15-18.  Also, please take the time to think through the source and effect of your own lusts after earthly things.

Dinner is at 6. Discussion at 6:45. The menu for this week is Lentil soup with pasta. The soup is vegan for those of you on a Lenten fast, although we will have sausage available to add. 

Hear, O my people, and I will assure thee, O Israel :
if thou wilt hearken unto me,

There shall no strange god be in thee :
neither shalt thou worship any other god.

I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt :
open thy mouth wide, and I shall fill it.

But my people would not hear my voice :
and Israel would not obey me.

So I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lusts :
and let them follow their own imaginations.

O that my people would have hearkened unto me :
for if Israel had walked in my ways,

I should soon have put down their enemies :
and turned my hand against their adversaries.

The haters of the Lord should have been found liars :
but their time should have endured forever.

He should have fed them also with the finest wheat-flour :
and with honey out of the stony rock should I have satisfied thee. 

Psalm 81:9-17 (1662 BCP)


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