Is it a sin to think evil thoughts?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by evangelist6589, Apr 19, 2012.

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  1. evangelist6589

    evangelist6589
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    This seems like an obvious question but a author got me thinking about this one in his book on Spiritual Warfare. The author gave a example of a grandmother whom had thoughts of killing a child. The pastor said that these thoughts were not her own, but thoughts that a devil planted in her. This and several other examples and Biblical verses cited made me think that not all thoughts are our own. What do you say?

    Thanks,

    John
     
  2. annsni

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    I do believe that Satan can "whisper in our ear" and give us thoughts but it is the Spirit we are to listen to and shove those thoughts outside of our minds. So when I hear that some barbarian raped a baby, I will immediately think "Kill the SOB" but then I fight that thought and instead think of what God would instead want me to think. I don't believe the initial response is sin but had I entertained it, it would be.
     
  3. Aaron

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    For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.

    The heart is the evil part of a man. Has anyone since the Fall ever had a thought that did not fall short of God's glory?
     
  4. mont974x4

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    We cannot control what pops into our head. We can control what we do with that thought. It is also true that what we feed our minds is what our minds will naturally go towards. If we are reading or watching smut, we will have more smutty thoughts. If we are all about reading/watching stuff about food, then most of our thoughts will be about food. The same is true about sports or any other hobby or interest. If we spend more time feeding our mind on the holy things of God the fewer unholy thoughts we are likely to have.


    NASB (emphasis mine)
    2Co 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh,
    2Co 10:4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.
    2Co 10:5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,
    2Co 10:6 and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.
     
  5. evangelist6589

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    Well said Ann, well said. I used to think that all evil thoughts were of my sinful nature, but after reading this book I am thinking more Biblically. Its amazing how many out there and how many books out there teach that 100% of sinful thoughts is of me. This is false. The author teaches that Biblically its a sin to act on these thoughts, and I believe that is correct. Paul said In Romans 1 I believe and another passage in the epistles that we are to transform our mind.
     
  6. evangelist6589

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    If this were facebook I would like this post. Well said..
     
  7. Crabtownboy

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    I would say yes to the question in the OP. Jesus said in Matthew 5:

    22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with their brother or sister will be in danger of judgment. If they say to their brother or sister, ‘You idiot,’ they will be in danger of being condemned by the governing council. And if they say, ‘You fool,’ they will be in danger of fiery hell. 2

    28 But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

    It seems to me quite clearly that thoughts are sinful. Isn't this another reason for all of us to pray for forgiveness daily?

     
  8. evangelist6589

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    There is more than one angle on this one. We are responsible for some thoughts, and the devil and his demons others. However the example used in the book of a Godly grandmother suddenly having repeated thoughts of murdering a child were not of her, but of a demon.

    The name of the book is The Serpent of Paradise
     
  9. evangelist6589

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    I cant recall the passages the author used in his book to defend his view at this time. perhaps someone here knows. The book is called The Serpent of Paradise.

    I looked at the book and on pg 136 he uses Acts 5:3 to say that Satan fills us with thoughts sometimes. On the next page he tells the story of the grandmother who had her evil thoughts of murder.

    Also in another book on spiritual warfare the author uses Eph 6 to say that the devil can influence our minds.
     
    #9 evangelist6589, Apr 19, 2012
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  10. mont974x4

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    Thanks. You can copy it to your wall and "like" it with y blessing. LOL
     
  11. evangelist6589

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    The problem I am finding with FB & twitter is that people are just not interested in intellectual dialogue. Most popular posts on FB appeal to the senses, or mystical experiences. Hedoinism runs wild as well.
     
  12. Winman

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    This is a difficult question. The scriptures clearly distinguish between temptation and sin. When it comes to our thoughts, it is often difficult to know where temptation ends, and sin begins.

    Mat 5:27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
    28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

    Probably more than any other scripture, Mat 5:28 has been used to argue that thoughts can be sinful. But what is it really saying?

    Is it saying that if we see a beautiful woman and find her attractive that is a sin? I don't believe so, that is natural.

    Verse 28 says if we look on a woman to lust after her we have committed sin. To me this is saying if we look on a women with the INTENTION to lust after her it is sin. That is not quite the same as seeing a beautiful woman and being aroused. That is very normal and natural, and the way God designed us.

    It is not sinful for a man to be aroused by a beautiful woman as long as it is his wife. That is what we are designed to do. But we are to control our thoughts and not think on other women this way.

    So, I guess what I am saying is that if a man sees a beautiful woman other than his wife and is aroused, if he realizes this and looks away it is not sin. That was a temporary temptation. But if a man realizes this and then willingly decides to continue to look at the woman to lust after her in his heart with intention, then it has gone beyond temptation and become sin.

    I remember seeing the serial killer Ted Bundy on TV before he was executed back in the 80s. He told how he became a rapist and killer. He said he found magazines his father owned that showed and described rape. He used to dwell on these thoughts, and then he began to wonder if he could rape a woman and get away with it. This went on for several years until his compulsion became so strong he actually attacked and raped a young girl. He felt terrible for a few days, but then the compulsion returned.

    He said he also read "snuff" magazines, magazines about killing people. He dwelt on this subject for several years until it became a compulsion. He also wondered if he could kill a person and get away with it. After thinking on this several years he actually killed someone. Again, he felt terrible, but soon his compulsion returned. He got a great deal of emotional excitement from doing these horrible acts.

    Anyway, the point is, if he had realized his lust and put those magazines away, he may not have ever become the killer he became.
     
  13. freeatlast

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    Do you think that Jesus ever had an evil thought? If yes then it is not sin because He never sinned, if no then it is sin.
    For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

    Isn't it interesting we usually admit that murder is sin, adultery is sin, theft is sin, blasphemy is sin, all coming from the heart and we do not usually say the devil put that in me, but when it comes to thoughts we do not want to think we are as evil as the thought we have had and that we had it because our heart is evil. Many times we justify the thought by claiming some horrid event or other persons sin caused the thought and we want punishment fitting the crime instead of facing the fact that we personally are the one with the problem (an evil heart).

    The reason we have evil thoughts is because there is within us an evil part of the heart we have not faced and dealt with. When ever we have such thoughts it should send us to our knees seeking to have our heart cleansed so that thought or any like it should not happen again.
    I think we are too quick to blame satan (making excuses) as planting those thoughts in us instead of accepting they are really the truth about our hearts and need attention, confession and repentance. Until we really deal with the real issue, our heart, we are not confessing the sin nor can it be dealt with and overcome.
     
    #13 freeatlast, Apr 20, 2012
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  14. Winman

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    There is a difference between temptation and sin.

    Jam 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
    14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
    15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

    Temptation is when we are enticed. But it does not become sin until we willingly obey it.

    An example: I once found a wallet on the sidewalk with several hundred dollars inside it. I looked around, and no one saw me pick up the wallet. At the time I could have used the money. For a moment I thought that I could easily take the money out of the wallet and throw the wallet in nearby bushes. I even remember thinking, "Losers weepers, finders keepers". But I knew it would be wrong to keep the money and so returned the wallet and money to it's rightful owner.

    Now, was it sin to think about keeping the money? Was I guilty of stealing the money simply because I was tempted to? I don't believe so. If this were the case, it would actually make sense to keep the money. If I am going to be guilty either way, then I might as well keep the money and profit from it.

    The scriptures also tell us to count temptation as joy. If a sinful thought is sin, how could we count it joy?

    Jam 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
    3
    Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
    4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

    The scriptures tell us to count it all joy when we fall into divers temptations. A temptation is a test of our faith in Christ.

    So, in this instance, I passed the test. I was indeed tempted for a moment to keep the money, but I remembered that God would have me return the money and chose to obey him. This is not sin.

    So, just because you get an evil thought or temptation does not mean you have committed sin. When you willingly choose to obey the temptation it becomes sin.
     
  15. freeatlast

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    So by your definition Jesus who was tempted in all manner of things even as we had thoughts of committing the following; of murdering, stealing, lying, homosexuality, pedophilia, adultery, drunkenness, using the Lord's name in vain, and on and on, correct? You are saying for a moment He felt the desire of those things, but just did not act on it, correct?
    .
     
  16. Winman

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    You tell me. How could he be tempted and not think of the temptation?

    I am being serious, how can you be tempted by someone or something and not think of the temptation for at least a moment?

    Heb 2:18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

    Heb 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

    If you can explain to me how a person can be tempted without thinking about the temptation that would be helpful. How does that work?
     
  17. freeatlast

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    Win thank you for asking. Let me say at first, knowing about a temptation and what is involved and thinking about it are two different things.
    First keep in mind James 1:14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Let me give you an example. If someone would come to me and say to me, "I have some real good crack cocaine. Let's go do some." For me I would not even feel the slightest urge. Nothing at all except perhaps repulsion yet it would be said that I was tempted by that person. Other things I might feel and need to battle but they are there because my heart needs to be dealt with in that area. Jesus did not have a problem with His heart or have to deal with lusts as we do.

    The same is with any offer(temptation) that is presented. In the case of Christ there was not a single shred of desire for anything evil though the devil brought the temptations to Him. Christ was offered all things and nothing other then the will of God was in His heart so He never felt the desires of the evil that He was presented (tempted) with because they were never in Him to began with.
    But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.
    Christ had one desire to lure Him and that was the will of God. He did not have the urge to do anything other then the will of God. He never experienced lust or coveted, or any other thing that we allow to rage within us.
     
    #17 freeatlast, Apr 21, 2012
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  18. 12strings

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    I would say Jesus was tempted to consider those sins, but never had the DESIRE to do them. His desires were always pure. Satan tempted him by appealing to his good desires (food, Rulership as God), and tempted him to fulfill those good desires in an inappropriate way; but Jesus immediatly rejected that. His desires were always good and pure. I don't see how one could say Jesus had a desire to commit adultery, pedophilia, drunkenness and still maintain that he was sinless.
     
  19. Winman

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    The problem is that the scriptures clearly say Jesus was tempted in all points as we are. If we are tempted by our flesh (and we are), then Jesus was also tempted by his flesh.

    Now, I agree with you on the crack cocaine, I think that is disgusting and would not feel any urge to try it. But that is an outside temptation, at least the first time. After a person uses cocaine, then it becomes an inner temptation arising from the lust of the flesh.

    But Jesus was (and is) flesh. When he was in the wilderness, he fasted for 40 days and was very hungry. When the devil tempted him to turn stones into bread, he must have felt a real urge to do so. Of course, he did not and quickly rejected this temptation.

    The scriptures say Jesus could be touched with the feelings of our infirmities. I believe this means he felt the same urges and enticements that we do. He never obeyed them when it would have been sin to do so, but he felt them just like we do. The reason he can be a compassionate high priest is because he can relate to our feelings and these temptations of the flesh. The scriptures say he "strived" against sin, so he had to actually battle or fight off these temptations.

    At least that is what I believe the scriptures teach.
     
  20. Jon-Marc

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    To me that's a strange verse since we don't think with our heart; it just pumps blood.
    However, I believe that any evil thought is sin.
     
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