For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

Philippians 3:18-21 (NIV)

Eating is a necessary thing. We desire food for a reason! But as with any sin, a desire that turns to destruction rather than creation is no longer healthy for us spiritually. In the case of gluttony, there is a physical component as well as emotional, social and spiritual aspects.

Understand this clearly; as with all calls to repent, this is first and foremost a command for believers. Gluttony is a sin, but only those who already acknowledge the need for God’s salvation will be able to respond to that productively. To be clear, this is not a cudgel to wield against non-believers for their moral failings.

Listen, my son, and be wise,

And direct your heart in the way.

Do not be with heavy drinkers of wine,

Or with gluttonous eaters of meat;

For the heavy drinker and the glutton will come to poverty,

And drowsiness will clothe one with rags.

Proverbs 23:19-21 (NASB)

That being said, gluttony is a serious infraction for Christians. It is a perversion of God’s plan for us to enjoy our food and the comfort that can be brought by being sated. For the Gentile Christian, the Bible contains not a single prohibition against any particular food (including alcohol), but it is a clear and direct prohibition of overconsumption of anything (especially alcohol). This is not just a “because I said so” command from God, either, but comes because gluttony displaces our heavenward focus and relocates it to our earthly selves.

For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

Matthew 6:25 (NASB)

Here is a summary of the representation of food in the New Testament: a benefit granted to us by God, something that he has parameters set around so that we can enjoy it in a proper way. But we are allowed to enjoy food. It is the same as sex, in that regard (apologies to those sensitive to this topic, skip to the next paragraph if you like). The act of sex is not just condoned among married couples as a utility for the production of new baby Christians but is an expected and endorsed source of pleasure for married people (1 Corinthians 7:5). Lust is taking that Godly desire for your spouse and putting it somewhere improper.

Likewise, food is a gift from God and a happiness in this world, but to focus on the things of this world and seek the pleasures that come from them to the detriment of our own bodies, with a higher priority than a Godly character, that is when sin creeps in.

So is gluttony bad because fat people are evil? No! Gluttony is a sin because it represents a weakness in our ability to moderate our desires and impulses. It shows that our character is not built around Godly discipline and filling our time with the joy of helping others but instead is preoccupied with satisfying temporary whims. Grace covers this, but repentance is called for.

Ethan Kirl