What is the sin of gluttony?
Gluttony is generally defined as "excessive eating." In the Bible, the word glutton and its variants are often mentioned alongside drunkenness. Therefore, it is clear that a glutton is someone who eats more than is healthy or eats excessively and that such behavior is considered sinful. Furthermore, gluttony is presented as an ongoing practice, not typically as a one-time activity.
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While many would wish to ignore the Bible's teaching regarding overeating, we assume that, since you're reading this article, you want to be informed. There are seven direct references to gluttony made in Scripture, including the following:
"And they shall say to the elders of his city, 'This our son is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard'" (Deuteronomy 21:20).
"Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat, for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags." (Proverbs 23:20-21).
"The one who keeps the law is a son with understanding, but a companion of gluttons shames his father" (Proverbs 28:7).
"The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds" (Matthew 11:19; parallel in Luke 7:34).
"One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, 'Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons'" (Titus 1:12).
Based on these passages, we make the following general observations: First, overeating is an unhealthy practice. Second, overeating is a wasteful use of resources. Third, overeating is incompatible with following God's law; therefore, gluttony is sinful. Also, the fact that "glutton" was one of the false accusations aimed at Jesus shows that gluttony was considered a sin by the Jews. Fourth, gluttony is associated with laziness, which is not pleasing to God (2 Thessalonians 3:10).
In contrast to living a gluttonous lifestyle, God calls us to honor Him with our bodies. In reference to sexual sin, Paul writes, "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body" (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
God has created us in His image and calls us to use the body He has given us for His glory. Any act that does not honor the body He has given us, including regular overeating, is sinful. Though indulging in overeating may be more socially acceptable than other sinful practices, we are called to pursue God's standard, practicing self-control in all areas of life, including our food choices (Galatians 5:22-23).
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