My thanks to all who have responded to my question. Here are my thoughts, although rather lengthy.
Do you sin as much as you know how to sin? If not, why not?
No! I know, I have knowledge of, the consequences of many sins. I do not sin as much as I know how to sin.
Many sins have known consequences.
a) Some sins are an offense against our social order, like murder, stealing and incest, and are considered criminal. These sins most likely would result in my arrest, incarceration, and loss of personal freedom.
b) Some sins are an offense against my family, like adultery, deceit and dishonesty. I know these sins would greatly damage the quality of relationships that I value and want to maintain with my wife, children and extended family.
c) Some sins are an offense against my neighbors, business associates and professional colleagues, like dishonestly, chicanery and prideful behavior. I know these sins would damage my working relationships with people, would alienate many, and would erode their trust in me. The quality of my daily life would be greatly diminished if I committed those sins.
d) Some sins are an offense to those I highly value--my family, my church, and my Lord. Those sins, like sexual misconduct, pornography and drunkenness, would be a great source of embarrassment to those I love and treasure.
e) Many sins are an offense to my body, like drug abuse, unbalanced eating habits, and hatred. These sins will damage my mental and physical health and could possibly result in an untimely death.
I have indicated that I choose not to commit many sins because of their adverse affects on my well-being. One might say then that I choose not to sin because of self-interest. And that non-believers alike choose not to commit many of these sins because of their adverse consequences. Also, we recognize that the severity of the consequences of many sins is dictated by the culture in which we live.
In the process of enumerating the consequences of sins against others, it became evident that many sins are inherently offensive and they have a damaging affect on my relationships. Thus, it is reasonably conclusive that all of the sins enumerated above, and numerous others, are an offense to God and likewise affects my relationship with Him. So I choose not to sin as much as I know how to sin because I have either experienced or I know the consequences of those sins.
Where did I gain that knowledge?
a) From my parents.
b) From my siblings and extended family members.
c) From my friends and neighbors.
d) From experience.
e) From my church through Biblical preaching and teaching
f) From my personal reading of the Bible and religious writings.
I have learned from the Bible that there are serious consequences of sin. Those consequences are varied and far-reaching. The Word of God states that,
If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. Matt 5:29
Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Matt 18:6
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom 6:23
Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Jas 1:15
Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. 1 Cor 6:18
But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 1 Cor 8:12
Aside from the fear of the consequences of many sins, there are other significant reasons why I do not sin as much as I know how to sin.
1) I am a child of God. The Word tells me that as a child of His my personality has changed.
The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, Rom 8:16
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Cor 5:17 (NKJV)
Because I am a child of God, a new creation, I do not want to sin. In fact, my new nature prefers to avoid sin. I am fully aware of that new nature. My desires have changed.
2) The Holy Spirit indwells me. I know this because the Bible reveals this truth to me.
Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God,
1 Cor 6:19
That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. 2 Tim 1:14
There is a Spirit within me that finds sins repulsive, that is inconsistent with sin, and that urges, prods, and reminds me that I should not choose to commit many sins. I do not know the full extent of the influence of the Spirit on my decisions not to commit sin, nevertheless, I know and welcome the Spirits influence in this aspect of my thought life.
3) I have committed to live a life of obedience to God. I have not only trusted Jesus Christ to save me, but I have accepted Him as Lord of my life. I want to serve Him, learn of Him, follow in His ways, and be obedient to His commands.
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. Rom 6:12
Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame. 1 Cor 15:34
Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins;
Let them not have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless,
And I shall be innocent of great transgression. Ps 19:13
If I am serious about obedience, then I must search the Scripture to learn what my Master wants me to do. Therein, I have found that there are many sins that I commit that have no observable consequences, yet they are offensive to God. Sins like, anger with my brother, an unforgiving spirit, and failing to do good when I know I should. The list goes on. I would not have known these actions and attitudes were sins against God had I not learned it from Gods Word. The implication of this is that if I am to be obedient to my Lord, I must search the Scripture to know the extent of my offenses against God.
Some mens sins are clearly evident, preceding them to judgment, but those of some men follow later. 1 Tim 5:24
True, I do not sin as much as I know how to sin. But I still sin! God, be merciful to me a sinner!!
For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. Gal 5:17
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to dothis I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. Rom 7:15-20 (see 7:21-25 also)
Food for thought, Prof