Can we sin in our thoughts?

Scripture: Matthew 5:21-30
Can we sin in our thoughts if we don't put them into action? Jesus says in Matthew 5 that in our hearts and minds and attitudes we can sin. Pride and arrogance are begin in the mind.
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Caller:  I have two questions.  I have been having a discussion and I wanted to know what you thought about your thoughts. 

Pastor Doug:  That’s well put.

Caller:  About whether they are a sin or not.  Some say that they’re not a sin, not unless you put them into action, and I don’t think that way.

Pastor Doug:  Well, you know, what I think isn’t worth much.  But let’s find out what Jesus says about it.  If you look, for instance, in the Book of Matthew, chapter 5, He says in verse 21, ‘You have heard it said by them of old, you shall not murder and whoever murders shall be in danger of judgment, but I say unto you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of judgment.’ 

When you murder, you’re thinking angry thoughts.  You can jump down to verse 27: ‘You have heard it said by those of old, you shall not commit adultery, but I say to you that whoever looks on a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.’  Here the Lord is telling us that sin is not always an action, it’s an attitude, it’s thoughts. 

Matter of fact, Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, spent a lot more time talking about the attitudes of pride and arrogance and sinful thoughts, more than the actual deeds, because every sinful deed originates with a thought in your mind.  So if we’re going to squelch sin, you need to begin by asking the Lord to get our mind and our thoughts captive to the Holy Spirit.  That’s where all sin originates. 

Caller:  Right.  Oh, that’s good.  Thank you.

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