If someone is to be brought under conviction, those of us who are Christians need to understand something about sin.
Are people in trouble spiritually because they inherit some spiritual defect from their parents or grandparents? No. They are in trouble because when they reach the age of accountability they deliberately turn their own way - they commit their will to the principle and practice of pleasing themselves as the end of their being. That is sin.
Here is the essence of sin: Mere man has determined he's going the defy the only One in the universe who is Wise enough, Big enough, and Good enough to Govern and Rule men's lives. Man has climbed onto the throne of his own heart - a place only God can be. And there he sits as a sinner, determined to do only what he wants to do. But all the while, he is utterly dependent upon God for his very life and breath.
When God made us He gave us many different appetites... But God looked at the being He made and to whom He had given all these appetites and urges and said,It is good!
Now temptation is not sin. Temptation is the proposition presented to the mind that you can satisfy a good appetite in a forbidden way. Temptation leads to sin.
Sin is the decision of the will. It is not the gratifying of an appetite. Sin is the decision to do it. He that hates his brother is already a murderer, says Jesus (see Matthew 5:22). Hatred is the intention to hurt and harm. The one who hates has decided to hurt.
In the same way, the one who has the mind to commit adultery is already guilty. The decision to do it - even before the act is complete, and before the opportunity has been presented - constitutes the essence of sin. Again, sin is the decision to gratify a good appetite in a bad way.
Now remember, sin is a crime. It is the committal of the will to the principle and practice of governing one's life to please one's self. In other words, when the Scripture says~all have sinned~it is saying that upon reaching the age of accountability, every individual has chosen to govern and control his life to please himself... We know that upon reaching the age of accountability, each of us chose as the principle by which we would live: I am going to govern and control my own life.