THE SIN OF OMISSION

     (James 4:17), "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.?

     In this passage, James is dealing with the subject of sin. The Bible divides sin into two categories. First, the Bible addresses the sins of commission, which deals with the things that we ought not to do.  The sins of commission involves all kinds of sins; there are moral sins of the flesh, temperamental sins of the disposition, ethical sins of conduct, spiritual sins of pride, and the social sins of bigotry and prejudice.

     The second category of sins the Bible deals with is the sin of omission.  The sin of omission is not doing what we know we ought to do.  In our passage, this is the sin that James is dealing with.  Notice James say, "to him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin."

     Now, most people think of sin only in terms of the sins of commission such as lying, cheating, stealing, committing adultery, watching X-rated movies, drinking alcohol, and such. And if they don't do these things they feel they are alright.

     But James points out that, not just doing sin is sin, but also failing to do what we ought to do is sin. Sins of commission are sins that we do that we ought not to do but the sin of omission is things that we ought to do and yet we do not do.

     The sin of omission is a deceitful sin. The sins of commission are easily seen and identified but the sin of omission is not as easily seen and recognized as sins that are committed in other ways.

     (James 4:13-17), " Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil."

     To illustrate the deceitfulness of sin, James gives an illustration of a boastful merchant man who was getting ready to go on a business venture.  In this illustration, James tells us all of the things that this merchant man is doing, but he also points out what he was not doing, and that was he was not consulting God or including God in the planning process of all his plans.  He was not seeking the will of God in his life. This is the sin of omission; failing to do what we know we ought to do.

     The sin of omission is a damaging sin.  The sin of omission, that is, not doing what we know we ought to causes damage.

   (Proverbs 24:31-34), “I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles, had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall was broken down.  Then I say, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction.  Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep. So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and they want as an armed man.

     The sin of omission is the mother of all other sins. Moral sins of the flesh, temperamental sins of the disposition, ethical sins of conduct, spiritual sins of pride, social sins of bigotry and prejudice, come about in our lives because of the sin of omission. Because the sin of omission is failing to do what we ought to do.  Do you want to know how to damage your faith and walk with God? Do nothing. Do you want to cause damage to your family? Do nothing. Do you want to know how to damage your church? Do nothing. Do you want to know how to die and go to hell? Do nothing. The sin of omission is a deceitful sin and it is a damaging sin.

     The sin of omission is a defeatable sin. The sin of omission like any other sin in our lives can be defeated and overcome.  How can we defeat and overcome the sin of omission?

     (James 4:17), "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.?

     (Romans 12:21), “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”  

     The key to overcoming the sin of omission is to begin doing what you know you ought to be doing. Some of the more obvious ones are prayer, Bible devotions, witnessing, church attendance, tithing, etc. Some of the less obvious ones are forgiving others, seeking reconciliation with others, submitting to authority; encouraging one another; using our spiritual gifts in the church, and so on. Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up and that gazelle knows if he can’t outrun the fastest lion, he’s going to die. Every morning in Africa a lion wakes up. And, that lion knows if he can’t outrun the slowest gazelle, he’s going to starve. And, so whether you’re a lion or whether you’re a gazelle, you wake up running, because, if you don’t, you’re not going to make it. That’s how it is in the Christian life.  Every morning you wake up, you need to know and keep in your mind that if you don’t do what you know is right, you are going to damage your life, your family, and your church. 

    Charles Spurgeon said, “If you’re not seeking the Lord, the devil is seeking you. If you’re not seeking the Lord, judgment is on your heels.” You just can’t wake up and sit around spiritually.”

                                                                                            Pastor Allen Jackson

 

    

 

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