In Dangerous Virtues, Koessler teaches readers how to identify the seven deadly sins as they are subtly disguised in the culture today. Though many are already familiar with the seven deadly sins, for those who need to be reminded, they are lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride. Each of these sins poses a danger to believers in the world today because each can be deceitful. These sins masquerade as other things, catching Christians off guard and luring them in. Lust masquerades as love, seducing people to compromise on biblical values and causing people to settle than less than true love. Gluttony masquerades as satisfaction, promising to satisfy all who indulge and deceiving people into thinking that satisfaction is attainable through consumption. Greed masquerades as prosperity, promising to fulfill the longings of and to make happy all who acquire material possessions. Sloth masquerades as leisure, deceiving people into believing that leisure, or free time, is the ideal state. Wrath masquerades as justice, convincing people that outrage about a particular issue stems from a desire for justice and never stems from one’s own sentimentality. Envy masquerades as entitlement, causing you to believe that you deserve what others have, that the blessings they enjoy should be yours, that you are entitled to them. Pride masquerades as confidence, deceiving people into believing that a focus on self is actually virtuous. Each of these sins, and the virtues they masquerade as, permeate our culture. Koessler not only helps readers identify these sins, and exposes their deceptions, but he also confronts these sins with biblical truths and equips readers to be able to apply those truths to their lives to combat the seven deadly sins.
Koessler offers insight and conviction in each chapter. Speaking about the dangers of twisted love, Koessler writes, “Sexual desire is pleasurable by nature, but it is also dangerous because it is pleasurable and therefore easily misdirected.” Confronting the sin of gluttony, Koessler informs that “gluttony isn’t really about one’s weight. Gluttony is essentially a sin of inordinate appetite.” In his convicting chapter on greed, Koessler insightfully reveals that “the adjective that best expresses the impulse of greed is not ‘most’ but ‘more.’” On sloth, Keossler cites from Os Guinness, saying that sloth is “the underlying condition of a secular era.” Koessler adds to Guinness’s quote, identifying sloth as leisure: “These days, we have abandoned the archaic language of sloth. We call it leisure. Leisure is the ideal state for most of us.” Koessler notes that though calls for justice are fairly common in today’s world, “if we are truly honest with ourselves, we are forced to admit that there is often more indignation than righteousness in our anger.” Though greed and envy seem synonymous, Koessler makes the following distinction: “Envy is a kind of greed, but it is a particular mode of greed. Greed wants. Envy wants, too. But envy wants what belongs to someone else. Envy desires what it wants because it belongs to someone else.” One of the most insightful and helpful chapters is the chapter on pride. In it, Kosssler writes, “It is not pride’s self-exaltation but its self-consciousness that makes this sin so deadly. Pride is more than a person whose gaze is turned in on himself. Pride is a person who has become absorbed with himself.”
Dangerous Virtues is sure to help readers begin to be able to identify masquerading sins. Such a skill is useful and needed in the world today. Koessler exposes the prominence of masquerading sins in our culture and world today and equips readers to begin to combat the seven deadly sins in their own lives. I gladly recommend this book for all Christians.
Moody Publishers provided me with a free review copy of this book as part of their blog review program.