Home > Practical Living > Thoughts, Drive and Deeds – are they all sin?

Thoughts, Drive and Deeds – are they all sin?

Spiritual battle is fought in the mind. We all have bad thoughts from time to time, but my problem is that most teachers of the Christian faith refer to them as sinful, thereby making the disciples feel unnecessarily guilty. However bad these thoughts are, I am only concerned about what considered sin is from the point of the bible.

It is said that one cannot stop a bird flying over one's head, but he can stop it nesting. Thoughts, no matter how bad they are, still not sin from the biblical point of view. They become sin when one is motivated by them, when they take root and become a driving force.

Consider Jesus' claim that he didn't come to destroy the Law, but to fulfill it (fully obey it). The Law certainly says nothing about having bad thoughts being sin. The Law is concerned with actions and sinful drive (i.e. covetousness). Covetousness is like a big vortex that seeks to suck in its target. A force. Bad thoughts are not yet sin. They can become sin though, that is why the battlefield is the mind.

Calling sinful thoughts sin is simply is not biblical. The problem is with the deepest intent, the spring of sinful actions, being sinful. Consider sexual immorality. Having sex with one's wife during her period is considered as such in the law. Yet, how many Christians care about it, while they consider looking at single girls sin?

Our concern should be about sinful drive, which is already an animating force, and only a matter of time that it precipitates in sinful action. Of course, carelessly entertaining sinful thoughts may lead to such drive, but such thoughts in themselves are not yet sin. Not in the biblical sense.

God created us with a sense of beauty, and we should have the freedom to delight in beauty, and enjoy the friendship of beautiful people, but never to crave to make them ours. But if we cannot handle it, we should avoid it. There is always this invisible line that we should never overstep. We may face temptations, but should never yield to them.

Temptations are trials from God. They are not bad as they are an opportunity to prove ourselves, however, they can be difficult. If we withstand them, we come out stronger. If we fail, we know we have work to do. However, repentance is always available. A good man may fall seven times but gets up seven times. Yet, this is not a license to sin. Sin is serious, a shaking of one's fist in the face of God, and it should be taken seriously.

Thus, let us guard our thoughts, that they may not lead to sinful drive because we let our guard off.

Categories: Practical Living
  1. hp1181
    12/09/2008 at 2:41 AM

    Thoughts, no matter how bad they are, still not sin from the biblical point of view.
    - Really? What Bible are you getting this point of view from? Jesus said, ““You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27, 28) and just prior to that He has said, “You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.” (vss 21, 22)
    In 27, 28 He makes it clear that it is not the act, apparently, to drive home the point He made in vs 21, 22 which go in a specific order 1) thinking it, 2) saying something ugly, and 3) saying something even more ugly.
    Now that is the author of the Old Testament speaking in the New Testament since He understood that we hadn’t gotten it right STILL.
    Gen. 6:5, “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
    The THOUGHTS of his heart. Not only can we not keep the law, but we have no desire to keep the law because we are inherently and intrinsically sinful.

  2. 05/10/2008 at 12:35 AM

    You need to separate thoughts from intentions. The instruction of Jesus regarding looking at a woman with lust already implies desire to have her, just as in case of David watching Bathsheba having a bath. He immediately sent for her, that is, his lust was a motivating force, and it led to his crime. Looking at a woman and thinking, “hey, she is very pretty!” doesn’t constitute sin unless the desire to sin is developed and it becomes an animating force. The mind is the very place where the battle is fought – sinful thoughts can be fought off or given way to developing animating sinful drives.

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