Monday, March 31, 2008


There are many specific ways of sinning. These all fall generally under two ways; the sins of commission and the sins of omission. All sins fall under one or the other.

The first, sins of commission, is a category of sin describing the things we did and shouldn't have. I committed (commission) a sin when I lied and I shouldn't have.

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The second, sins of omission, are the category that encompasses the sins of not doing what we should have. We don't think as much about the sin of omission even though it is as pernicious and destructive as anything we could commit. I should have testified because I knew he was innocent, but I didn't out of fear. When we know the right thing to do and don't, that's a sin.

Solomon said, "Deliver those who are being taken away to death, And those who are staggering to slaughter, Oh hold them back" Pro. 24:11. Sin is not just something we do, but sometimes it is something that we ought to have done.

Often we do what God has forbidden. We are very conscious of these things because they are visible. Of this kind, Paul says,
"For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality." - Col 3:25
We know what Paul is talking about. We often repent of doing these things. But what about the other kind of sin, the sin of omission? Sometimes we sit on our hands and say or do nothing when we should have acted. James says,
"Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin." - James 4:17
One Commentary describes it as the sin of "knowledge without practice" (here). This person's "faith" is empty if he only offers well-wishes to the cold and hungry person. When you know the right thing to do and have the means, then you offer the coat or food; to do nothing is a sin. Paul was guilty of it, saying, "the good that I want to do I do not do" (Rom. 7:16). We often think of sin as the things we should not have done. However being a Christian is characterized as doing what we are positively called to do. A person can't say, "I decided I would not sin today and so I didn't." "How did you do that?" "I just sat down so that I would not step into sin, and I thought about nothing so that I would not think evil." "I see, but don't you think you committed the sin of being the useless fig tree?" "I didn't think of that." The command by Jesus to "deny yourself, and take up your cross and follow me" encompass the things we ought not to do, but it also includes what we ought to. And so the Christian quits drinking and cursing AND he praises God and tells the Good News to others (Mt. 28:18-20; Acts 2:38-41). To not do the latter things is sin.

In a recent lesson we learned how God commanded Joshua and Zerubbabel, the High Priest and the Governor of the remnant of Israel, to "walk in My ways" and "perform My service". If they would, God said, "you will also govern My house and also have charge of My courts, and I will grant you free access among these who are standing here" (Zechariah 3:17). The house of the Lord needed to be built. The service of God needed to be conducted. The idea that someone can be pleasing to God by turning from evil while remaining idle so as not to advance the work is the sin of omission. Truthfully, we understand that we must turn away from Satan's vices. But Satan is just as happy if we sit idly by and let others do the work.

In closing, let each person consider the personal application of Christ's words to: "Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you", and that, "It is more blessed to give, than to receive", and finally, "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel", Jesus said. By doing God's will, we avoid the sin of omission.

What about the "Sinner's Prayer"?


  1. This reminds me of the lukewarm church in Laodicea (Rev 3:14). They were neither hot nor cold. You make a great point becuase I get caught up focusing on the sins of commission and forget about omission. -kevin

  2. HI Kevin,
    Thanks for making this point. So many times it isn't that we have "left" God, but we are doing so very little for God that there is hardly a difference. Jesus closes out his rebuke to the Laodiceans with these words: "therefore be zealous and repent."
    - Dan

  3. Anonymous5:04 PM

    take a look at

    It explains why so many "Christians" are leaving God and or passively allowing their leadership to wander away from the Truth of God.

    Steve Nelson - Boise ID

  4. Anonymous6:22 AM

    paul said to the roman soliger when he ask'd " what must i do to be saved ?" paul reply'd " believe ye on the lord jesus christ you and your house and ye shall be saved ." yes this is at best a small stone to build on yet we should consider that he is the cheif sinner making such a state a corner stone by which we stand every one who is called by the lord is not choose to the ministier they may simply be call to believe !

  5. Anonymous9:31 AM

    malefactors , apostate , faultfinders " all our deeds are , but filthy rags before His sight " show Christ by being like Him a friend to sinners . yes , how can one be a friend to a sinner with whats on the new every day , how !!! i don't know , but He did it then to the cross and the good news testifies He still does it today . the apostasy (antichrist) roams the land seeking to devour and destroy all it can we battle not against flesh but dark powers in this world and will till Christ' return . " we have all fallen short of the glory of God " " blessed are those who believe , yet have not seen " " the day of the Lord is darkness " church pray against the apostasy lift the professed that the Almighty for His sons name sake may bring those in faith of His sons name out of fire for His glory and rightiouness . far to long we've spent away from Christ' likeness in rejection of others , war ect. the body of Christ is in need of the Sons standard , live for peace , laughter and joy . love within brotherly and sisterly respect and neighborly unity . " he with out sin cast the first stone " let us remember Church , we to by grace are fears relieved " go your way and sin no more " " be transformed by the renewing of your mind " by the Word of God , Jehovha and the witness of His son Christ , Jesus . " lean not onto your understanding " call upon His Holy Spirit for the way , the truth and the light .

  6. Anonymous10:11 PM

    I have always heard about the sins of commission and omission. Wow, what a dose of reality to finally read what it means. How often are we guilty of not both. How often am I guilty of both. I have figured that if I don't do something, I am less guilty than if I do something, when in actuality, I think I don't do what I know I should do; more often than not. A lot to think about.

  7. Anonymous8:03 PM

    Is it right to say that if we do not preach the gospel, we are committing sin?

    1. Anonymous3:19 AM

      YES, read Matthew 28:16-20 THAT IS THE GREAT COMMISSION.if we dont preach the gospel then we are committing the sin of omission.

  8. Dear Anonymous. The Gospel is the Good News. People do not preach it for fear of punishment. We must be courageous and trusting to open our mouths and speak the truth. Jesus warned the disciples not to fear those who kill only the body but after than can do nothing. Jesus told the disciples to proclaim on the housetops what they heard whispered to them. Jesus said, "Whoever confesses me before men, I will confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever does not confess Me before men, I will not confess before My Father who is in heaven." Confession of Christ is part and parcel to discipleship. You cannot be a disciple if guided more by fear. John tells of priests who believed in Jesus, but for fear of being put out of the synagogue, they were not confessing Him." That is unforgivable. To know the right thing to do and not do it is sin. So yes, not opening your mouth and confessing that Jesus is Lord is a sin. Thanks for question.

  9. Anonymous12:31 PM I never knew about these sins and to come here and get it broke down...bless me cause I have a lot to change within me. I ask for forgiveness cause I'm at fault for both. I can do better.

    1. Anonymous11:14 AM

      I thank GOD! for opening my eyes to this fact, which is the TRUTH. Now that I know,theses things, it is a BLESSING, how GOD comes in and tells you about yourself an how it should be done. I also ask forgiveness cause I am also at fault. but now that I have come in the knowledge of this I made a vowel not to ever do theses things again. Jesus died that I might be FREE of theses sins, so now I must and will honor them.

  10. this reminds me of the parable of the talents. one was given 5, the other was given 2 and the last got 1 and the persons who got 5 & 2 doubled what their got and the person who got 1 did not get a profit and didnt grow because he is AFRAID of his master. the Master took what he has and given to the one who has the most instead.

  11. Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. 17 If anyone,THEN, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them." Context is everything, otherwise, those prone to feeling guilty will be caught up in a guilt complex as well and ending up in analysis paralysis...I seems James is speaking about specific people and situations not to take this too far. ?



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