James 4:17 - Sins of Omission; Are You Doing What You Know to Do?

James 4:17 (NLT) Remember, it is sin to know 
what you ought to do and then not do it.  

James 4:17 (NIV) If anyone, then, knows the 
good they ought to do and doesn't do it, it is 
sin for them. 


   God created amazing colors. Think about a 
bright field of wildflowers or a stunning rainbow 
painted across a gray sky. But he also made some 
pretty cool things in black and white. Zebras 
possess fantastic black and white stripes. 
Scientists have studied these animals and discovered 
their stripes may serve several purposes. In 
addition to making them look like referees at a 
basketball game, zebra stripes use horseflies. These 
blood-sucking pests are attracted to animals with dark 
coats. A zebra's coat reflects light in a way that 
doesn't appeal to the insect, so they leave them 
alone. In addition, researchers believe that a 
group of zebras may appear as one super-large 
animal to a predator. The stripes combine to create 
a visually imposing figure and scare away 
potential danger. 
   The yellow-lipped sea krait is a 
poisonous black-and-white snake that God gave a cool 
trait. It looks like it has two heads! Its head and 
its tail are nearly identical. So when the sea 
krait searches for food in coral reefs, at the 
same time it appears that its head is looking 
around for predators. 
   When it comes to following Christ, God 
made some things black and white - and for good 
reason. As a Christian, you must believe in God the 
Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It's 
also a black-and-white fact that everybody falls 
short of God's perfect holiness. We all sin and 
need a Savior. That's where Jesus comes in. His 
perfect sacrifice makes it possible for as to know 
God personally. 
   In addition to these core beliefs, God 
has given us rules to follow. The Ten 
Commandments tell us to obey our parents, worship only 
God, and not to lie, steal, or kill. We're also 
instructed to help the poor, widows, and orphans. The 
Bible says to watch what you say, put others' 
needs ahead of your own, and honor your body. 
James 4:17 puts living for God in clear terms: "If 
anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and 
doesn't do it, it is sin for them." When it comes to 
black-and-white rules, one of the most obvious is to stay 
away from sin. Write down one thing you know you 
should do but usually avoid: 
   Commit to doing it - and commit to 
staying away from sin. [Case For Christ For Kids by 
Les Strobel] 


   It is never a minor thing to know Gods 
will and not do it. God calls this sin. We can 
make excuses for our lack of obedience: Im 
just not ready yet or Ill do it 
later! or I dont think it will make a 
difference or I cant afford to! We 
rationalize, we procrastinate; yet, in Gods eyes, 
rationalization and procrastination are nothing more than 
disobedience. At times we deceive ourselves into thinking 
that good intentions equal obedient actions. They 
do not. A good intention without corresponding 
activity is disobedience. When we encounter God and 
He gives us a direction, it is not enough to 
write down the date in our spiritual journal, or 
even to tell our friends and church of our 
decision. Gods call is not to make a decision 
but to obey! Deciding to obey is not equal to 
obeying! (Mt 21:28"31). Loudly affirming the 
necessity of obedience is not the same as obeying (Lu 
6:46). Making commitments, even publicly, is not 
the same as obeying our Lord. Substituting our 
own good works is not the same as obeying. 
   God told King Saul to wait until the 
prophet Samuel arrived. Instead of waiting, Saul 
took matters into his own hands and offered a 
sacrifice. Saul discovered, to his deep dismay, that 
other acts of supposed piety do not take the place 
of obeying a clear command from God (1Sa 
15:22). As with Saul, God expects you to obey 
everything exactly as He tells you. Only obedience 
satisfies Gods desire for obedience! [Experiencing 
God Day by Day by Henry and Richard Blackaby] 

CLOSING THOUGHT - For All Christians

   A Sunday school teacher who was speaking 
to her class on the topic of sin asked, Can 
anyone tell me what the sin of commission is? 
   One girl raised her hand. I know! 
she said. The sin of commission is when you 
do what you shouldnt do. 
   Thats right, the teacher said. 
Now can someone tell me what the sin of omission 
   A boy in the back of the room was 
anxiously waving his arm, so she called on him. He 
said, The sin of omission? Well, those are the 
sins that you want to do, but you havent 
gotten around to them yet. 
   While you cant help but smile at the 
boys answer, he didnt quite have it right. The 
sin of omission is not doing what you should do. 
And one of the ways we can commit this sin is 
when we dont respond to the prompting of the 
Holy Spirit to share the gospel. 
   I think most Christians know more than 
enough to go out and start sharing their faith, but 
they are just afraid to try. Yet when Jesus gave 
the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19"20 to 
go and make disciples of all the nations, 
it was a command in the original language. This 
is not the Great Suggestion; it is the Great 
Commission. But for many, it has become the Great 
   Also in the original language, Jesus 
words are addressed to everyone. That means it is 
not just for the so-called professionals. This 
command is for every follower of Christ. This is for 
everyone to do. No one is exempt. 
   These are Gods marching orders. It is 
a daunting task. It is intimidating, even 
scary sometimes. But Jesus has called us to do it. 
And His calling is also His enabling. [Greg 
Laurie from Harvest Ministries; 




1st of 28: Divine Dining: 
2nd of 28: Pictures of the Divine: 
3rd of 28: A Dirty Bible: 
4th of 28: Cared For: 
5th of 28: Saved: 
6th of 28: You Can Change: 
7th of 28: Reprogramming Our Brains: 
8th of 28 Our Holy Father: 
9th of 28 Gifts of Service: 
10th of 28 The Holy Spirit: 
Live ongoing series in progress.


If anyone has a paraphrase, commentary or 
testimony on this passage of Scripture, either 
personal or otherwise, I would be interested in 
hearing from you.  Thanks in advance and let's keep 
uplifting Jesus that all might be drawn to Him. Fred 
Gibbs FGGibbs@abible.com