My question is when does a sinful thought become a sinful act? It has been expressed by some acquaintances that sinful thoughts only become an act of sin if it is meditated upon more than a fleeting moment, that there is a quantitative aspect.


I would have to agree with your friends.  We are all tempted many times, and the temptation is not sin, for the Bible tells us that, "we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet was without sin." [Hebrews 4:15]

The temptation is a thought that calls us to do evil.  We all have a choice when the temptation comes, either say no and push out the thought "take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."  [2 Corinthians 10:5] or yield to the temptation, which is the sin.

To have an evil thought pop in our heads, from a past memory, or future fantasy, or from an external event, is simply a temptation.  Now if we allow that thought to stay and dwell on it then we enter into sin.  But to have the thought, recognize it for what it is, and then resist it, well this is not sin, but the power of the Holy Spirit in action.

Added to Bible Bulletin Board's "Tony Capoccia's Questions and Answers" by:

Tony Capoccia
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