What is Sin?
Sin is a function of the human spirit and originates there as thoughts that weather acted upon or not is still sin. If I desire to murder someone and think in my mind how to go about it but because of fear of being caught never do the crime it is still sin and is worthy of death. What you think is what you are, if you think like a murderer but never actually murder, you are still a murderer. Jesus taught us that even to think of committing adultery was the same as actually doing it. This would apply to all other types of evil acts as well.
You do not have to actually do the act for it to be sin, just think it. Jesus described this sin of thought condition that people have by saying outwardly we appear as whitened sepulchers but inside are full of dead mens bones. In other words we may appear sinless on the outside but our inner sinful thoughts are death and unclean.
Many people, including those who claim to be teachers, pastors and preachers, think sin is only the actual act and never consider the thought that gives birth to it.
The problem with us humans is that our human spirit became defiled so that every thought and imagination of our spirit is only evil continually, just as it was in the days of Noah it is today. Our human bodies are only the vehicle we use to commit the acts or speak the words that are sins we have in our spirit. If people could not think evil, they could not do evil but we do think evil and we do commit evil. Our mouth does not speak evil all by itself and our bodies do not commit evil all by itself, we control with our spirit what our mouth says and what our body does. Sin is a spiritual thing that can be manifested in a physical way, the cause is our spirit but the effect is the physical manifestation. I may think of murder but I must direct my body to complete the act, the cause is my thought the effect is the act. Human beings have a spiritual problem called sin that has defiled our human spirit and is a nature that is the part of us that produces death in us. The ten commandments tell us what good and evil is, the knowledge gained by Adam and Eve when they sinned against God by eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We all now have knowledge to some degree of what good and evil is.
This knowledge is dangerous because if we sin we will die because the wages of sin is death. The law only addressed the effect of sin but not the cause of it. The law was enforced by human witnesses accusing a person of breaking the law, this person was stoned to death. In the case of the tenth commandment, thou shalt not covet or lust, this process broke down because no human being can know the thoughts and intents of the human spirit of another person. Your thoughts are your own and unknown to other people as long as you do not voice them or act them out. This means that you can harbor all kinds of evil in your spirit but as long as you do not make them know to others, the law would be powerless to address them. You would be a sinner but under the law would never be caught and punished. All the Ten Commandments can be violated in this way. People unaware of your inner thoughts may think you to be a “good person” but if they could know your inner thoughts what would they think. The law cannot address the true problem of sin in human beings and that is why righteousness cannot come by the law. People who think the law is the way that seems right will find in the end that it is the way of death. This is the lesson of the schoolmaster. The Apostle Paul said that Gods love is the fulfillment of the law, that Gods love will do no harm, no evil. The law of Christ is to love God and neighbor with the love of God that we receive by the Holy Spirit of God.
The law cannot produce righteousness but Gods love can. Righteousness is being unable to sin and always doing good and never doing evil and is a way of thinking that is the way God thinks and the way Jesus thinks.
When a person comes to God through Jesus and receives the Holy Spirit they also receive some of this Godly love that empowers them to begin anew their life in a process of coming out of this evil thought pattern and to create in us a sound mind that over our lifetime produces in us fruit unto God. We can begin to overcome sinful thoughts that lead to acts, if sin can be nipped in the bud, in the spirit where it begins, then progress can be made, sins can be overcome. It is Gods love in us that makes this possible and not trying to follow the Ten Commandments, we are under grace and not law. While in the flesh, still human, we can still sin but these sins are covered by grace upon sincere repentance and asking God for forgiveness. This process was not part of the law; the law only brought death and bore no fruit unto God and no forgiveness. The new covenant is by far a better covenant by which we draw near to God.