We commit sin when we think evil. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7). We are to be “pure in heart” if we are to “see God” (Matt. 5:8). Committing adultery is condemned under both the Old Testament and the New Testament. But it is not only the overt act itself that is sin, but impure thought when we “look upon a woman to lust after her.” Jesus said the one who has these impure thoughts “hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matt. 5:27-28). Jesus also stated, “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.” This is true “for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matt. 12:34-37). Later he was to teach, “those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man” (Matt. 15:18-20). Be careful what you think; your thoughts have a way of coming forth in sinful actions. Paul tells us what we are to think on in Philippians 4:8. These things include “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
We commit sin when we speak evil. In his discourse on the tongue in chapter 3, James speaks of those who misuse the tongue. He writes, “Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing.” He then states unequivocally, “My brethren, these things ought not so to be” (James 3:9-10). Cursing, gossip, lewd stories, filthy speech are all evil in the sight of the Lord and to do so is sin. Let's be sure that we “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth” (Eph. 3:29). See also Ephesians 5:4.
We sin when we induce others to sin. The Jews induced the Romans to kill Jesus. But Peter speaking of the Jews' handling of our Lord said, “ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain” (Acts 2:23b). Girls and women, by their lack of proper clothing, induce men to sin. Men are led to lustful thoughts and actions by women wearing clothing that is far too revealing. Clothes that are too low at the top and too high at the bottom lead men to sin. This is also true of skin tight clothing that doesn't leave much to the imagination. I am not suggesting that the man is guiltless because he is enticed or induced to sin, but the one who dresses provocatively shares in his guilt. Paul warns. “Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling-block or an occasion to fall in his brother's way” (Rom. 14:13).
Paul M. Wilmoth
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