Is sin a matter of thought, motive, action or nature?

Someone asked, “Is sin a matter of motive, action or nature?”

I thought this was a good question. So I had to do a little research.

Obviously, our hearts/minds is where sin begins:
Mark 7:20-21

20 He went on: “What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’ 21 For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.’ “

And obviosuly we can have impure motives:
1 Thessalonians 2:3

For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you.

Also, we have a sinful nature:
Romans 7:21-25

21 So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

And these lead to sinful actions:
Galatians 5:16-26

16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. 19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

So, I think sin is all four. I think we have a sin nature; we think sinful thoughts; we have sinful motives; and these lead us to do sinful things.

But we are required to put aside our old nature and be led by the Holy Spirit (see Galatians 5:16-26 above). We are required to resist the devil and purtify our hearts.

James 4:7-8

7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

What we do is as important as why we do it and who we are internally. As we walk closer to God and He works in us to cleanse us and guide us and change us, our sinful actions will decrease, our sinful motives will reduce in quantity and quality of sin, our sinful thoughts will be changed to pure thoughts, and our sinful nature will be under control of the godly nature God has given us.

Another post on this subject: https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2008/10/28/a-review-of-sin-who-says-what-is-sin-why-do-we-care-and-what-we-should-do-about-sin/

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