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
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
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
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;
LINK FOR FURTHER STUDY ON THIS PASSAGE
EXCELLENT VIDEO SERIES ON 28 REVELATIONS OF
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