When is sin a sin

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by agedman, Jul 11, 2012.

  1. agedman

    agedman
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    In a recent thread, there were those who considered sin to only be applicable if manifested by an act.

    Jesus said that if a man look upon a woman to lust after her, he has committed adultry already...

    Is the biblical standard that the actual act has to be carried out, or are those acts carried out because one is already constructed and committed the sin in the lust of the flesh, eyes, heart, and pride of life?

    Can the thought life itself be sinful and never manifest itself in overt acts?
     
  2. Tom Butler

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    I think you've answered your own question with Jesus' quote.
     
  3. ktn4eg

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    Often wondered about this myself.

    Jesus essentially taught us that before we give anything to God, we need to "make things right w/other people." I'm supposing this would involve seeking out that person & asking him/her for forgiveness. Not sure how this would work in specific cases, e.g., Do you ask, say an unmarried female for her forgiveness for your lusting after her? (Not really certain Christ really meant for us to go that far, but then, maybe He actually did.)

    Long time back I personally was made fun of by someone in the BB family for even asking such a question. Don't remember who that was, and to me it doesn't really matter.

    OTOH, I'd love to read some really rational, sane replies to sometime such as this.....(Pretty sure others would love to as well, but maybe they were too afraid to ask.) :smilewinkgrin:
     
  4. Sapper Woody

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    Well, the act of lusting after a woman is just that, an act. It's not a sin to be tempted; after all, Jesus was tempted. Wanting to commit a sin is an act, and so even though the actual sin contemplated wasn't carried out, the lusting for sin (not just sexual lust) is in and of itself an act.

    To answer your question, yes the thought life can be sinful, as the thoughts themselves are acts. In the case of lusting after a woman, I've alway heard (and believe) the saying, "You may not be able to help the first look, but you can help the second", meaning that if you accidentally see something you shouldn't, you couldn't help it. But if you decide to keep looking, then it's on you.
     
  5. Mexdeaf

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    I think Hebrews 4:12 applies here-

    For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

    The word translated 'thoughts' seems to always have a negative connotation- it is used in Acts 17:29 (device), Matthew 9:4 and 12:25, and 2 Corinthians 2:11 (devices) as well as in the aforementioned verse.

    The word 'intentions' signifies purpose- it is used in 1 Peter 4:1.

    So what I am thinking is that when we allow our minds to wander to scheme or devise evil purposes- i.e. (pardon my bluntness) "I wonder what she looks like underneath those clothes" or "I deserve that car more than he does" or "Why can't I have that, I am no better or worse than him/her" - then it is the same as the act. I do not think believers can have those kinds of thoughts without the Holy Spirit trying to correct us first, and if we continue in that line of thinking then it becomes sin.

    I could, of course, be so far off the mark I'm not even in the same ballpark. If so, I am willing to be corrected.
     
  6. Amy.G

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    I've never understood where the line is drawn between being "tempted" to lust and actual lusting. By the time you've been tempted, you've already had lustful thoughts. :confused:
     
  7. Yeshua1

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    jesus was tempted in all ways to sin as we are, but sinned not...

    explained to me that the devil kept sending his fiery arrows to jesus, but they went in one ear and out the other!
     
  8. Yeshua1

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    2 things concerning this!

    Think Jesus was using the law to show/prove to us that NO ONE is able to/can keep it as God meant in order to be justified/saved!

    other thing is that while God sees the lust/coventing as sin, for IF given the chance we would follow up to do that, its also true that sin is far less than actually going ahead and commiting it!

    far worse to not just lust after my neighbors wife, but actually go out and rape her!
     
  9. Mexdeaf

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    Perhaps the key is not dwelling or "purposing" on those thoughts?
     
  10. Zaac

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    Lust is of the heart. It is an act taking place.
    So is coveting.
    So is telling a lie.
    So is fornicating.
    So is stealing.

    To sin is to DISOBEY God. It is an act.
     
  11. Scarlett O.

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    Well, we know that we are to confess our sins to God, but I can only find one place where we are to confess our sins to one another and that's in James where he spoke about a necessary healing.

    I would say in the case of someone committing a sin privately - such as lust of the heart, bitterness, jealousy, covetousness - things that so often no one knows but you and God....

    ....I would think that confessing this to someone would bring harm to them that was unnecessary. A confession of a private sinful thought about a person TO that person will cause more harm than the good of the confession.

    Only if the private thought - which is sinful in itself - brought about a sinful act towards that person, such as smartmouthing them, lying to them, screaming at them, saying something sexually inappropriate to them, - THEN I would go to that person and make it right between us by apologizing profusely for the public act.

    Making things right with others means making things right that both parties know are wrong.

    Once, we had a revival at my church. The guest pastor said that there was too much unconfessed sin in all churches and during the service, he had me come up and play the piano while everyone went around and "confessed" private thought and feelings to each other.

    I sat there playing the piano and played at least 10 or 12 stanzas of a song while people walked around asking for forgiveness from each other for private thoughts.

    I could only think - "GOSH!, I'm glad I'm sitting here at the piano and don't have to participate in this foolishness!" But alas, I wasn't exempt.

    While playing the piano - two separate women came up behind me at two separate times and whispered in my ear, "Kim, I'm so sorry for holding a grudge against you for something you said once. I've been holding it in and I'm sorry."

    I had absolutely NO idea what they were talking about and never asked.



     
  12. Zaac

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    Not necessarily. It is possible to be tempted and not have lustful thoughts. It's like a beautiful woman walking down the street coming up and exposing herself. She could do it to tempt and get the opposite reaction out of the one she was trying to tempt.

    The mind can also be taught to not lead itself into temptation or to fall when tempted.

    You got to starve that flesh. Make it skinny and emaciated while making your spirit man obesely fat on the Word of Truth. Make it so fat that the flesh can't get a bite to eat.

    That way when that old temptress comes trying to feed your flesh, your spirit that's full of the Word of God will knock it to the same.
     
  13. Amy.G

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    I don't know. Thoughts just seem to pop into your head. And then it's too late. :(

    Or..maybe that's just me. It was an honest question. I'm not trying to debate it.
     
  14. saturneptune

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    I can give you the illustration I heard a few years ago in a sermon. If I am driving down the road and see a female in revealing clothing with a provocative walk, the thought that comes into my mind is not the point of sin. The proper thing for a Christian is through the power of the Holy Spirit living in us, to dismiss the thought and go on. Now, if I drive around the block for a second look, then it is sin, just like the physical act, because I have taken that thought, developed it, imagined it, and maybe even wondered how to make it a physical reality. Beyond the first initial thought, it is sin.

    We will be held accountable for all those type of sins as much as any physical act. Every male knows that this happens numerous times. That is why, no matter how pure our outward life is, our inward life is just as accountable. That is why we all need a Savior.

    The gossips that are rampant in churches today are just as sinful as the drunk, adulterer, and thief.
     
  15. Mexdeaf

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    Trust me- it's not just you. Ask any honest preacher about the thoughts that pop into their heads just before they preach!
     
  16. Magnetic Poles

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    There is no sin except for causing unnecessary suffering for another person. Beyond that, don't sweat it.
     
  17. Monster

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    I've always kinda-sorta looked at it as a process. I think about this section of James when this subject comes up;

    James 1 13-15 13

    13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. 15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.

    I would hardly begin to know where the sin starts within me, it's difficult to pinpoint when the Rubicon is crossed, which at times can seem almost circumstantial. But I do know that we're to lay every thought captive and to pray ceaselessly. Both commands seem to hint at God's perspective on our internal spiritual condition. So if the thoughts or desires don't align with scripture, I think a good old fashion application of confession and even a strong dose of repentance is in order. It certainly can't hurt any to spend extra time drawing nearer to God, whether I consider it necessary or not (rhetorical ending there).

    I just wish I was better at practicing what I just typed :BangHead:
     
  18. kyredneck

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    You beat me to it. SHE'S doing the tempting.
     
  19. kyredneck

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    Maybe an over-simplication, but, there's a lot of truth to this.
     
  20. Winman

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    This is a good answer. If a man sees a beautiful woman, it is natural to be attracted to her beauty. But to continue to look is sin.

    I forget who it was a few months back, but they said if you see a beautiful girl walking down the street, it is not sin to be attracted. But if you look in the rear view mirror or circle around the block to see her again it is.

    It is like finding a wallet with money in it (which I have done several times). It is natural to be tempted to keep the money, especially if you are broke at the time (which I was). But I knew it was wrong and put these temptations out of my mind. I contacted the owner and returned the wallet.

    I don't believe Jesus was talking about simply looking at a woman, I believe he was speaking about dwelling on these thoughts and contemplating adultery in his mind. It is making a willing decision to keep thinking these thoughts and imaginations. A man that quickly looks away has been tempted, but he has not sinned.
     

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