11 November 2010

The Seven Deadly Sins and Spiritual Transformation

I just finished reading an excellent, little devotional book, The Seven Deadly Sins and Spiritual Transformation by Pastor John T. Mabray. In this essentially practical book, Pastor Mabray works through each of the classic seven deadlies with an eye to application. If you feel you’ve never been guilty of Pride, Envy, Anger, Sloth, Greed, Gluttony, or Lust, think again. Mabray shows how these sinful attitudes creep into the lives of all Christians and disrupt their relationships with others and with God. He also focuses on how Jesus embodies the opposite of each of these attitudes. Not only are we all prone to these sins, but Mabray makes it clear, good Presbyterian that he is, that we are wholly unable of our own power to straighten ourselves out and live a good life. Again and again, the reader is called to faith in Christ, the only one who can transform our hearts and minds, and sanctify us unto good works.

One thing I particularly liked about this book is that each chapter ends with a short liturgy of confession: a Call to Confession, a Prayer of Confession, a Prayer of Repentance and Transformation, and the Assurance of the Gospel. The prayers of confession are particularly convicting, as Pastor Mabray is not content to write, “I confess that I am prideful.” Rather he gives the readers confessions such as, “…The pride of my defensiveness, which will not let me admit that I am wrong; The pride of my self-centeredness, which insists on having things my way; The pride of my self-glory, which seeks to call attention to myself…” The specificity of the prayers will cause the reader to think long and hard about his own life to see how these sins affect him particularly.

The writing style of the book is a bit rough-hewn, a result of having been adapted from a series of sermons. However, this fact makes the book more conversational and direct, and gives it a sense of immediacy. This is a practical and convicting book for Christians of all types to reexamine their lives in light of Scripture and Christian wisdom, and continue in the path of sanctification.

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