Sins Of Omission

Q. Have you ever heard the term “sins of omission” and if so how would they affect a person’s salvation?

A. Some folks divide sin into two categories, sins of omission and sins of commission.  Sins of omission are when you don’t do something you should have (such as failing to honor your father and mother) and sins of commission are when you do something you shouldn’t have (such as taking an action that results in them being dishonored).  Among the people who divide sins this way, there are those who teach that sins of omission aren’t as bad as sins of commission.

I believe that all sins are sins. To us, lusting after someone in our heart may not seem as bad as committing adultery, but to the Lord they both break the commandment (Matt. 5:27-28).  Same with anger vs. murder, coveting vs. stealing, etc. Sin begins as soon as we are enticed to sin (James 1:14).

I think that King David had this in mind in one of his prayers of confession.

Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults (sins of omission). Keep your servant also from willful sins (sins of commission); may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression. (Psalm 19:12-13) Just because we didn’t actually do it, doesn’t mean we haven’t sinned.

As far as our salvation is concerned, sins of omission were covered at the cross, just like all the others. Once for all time. Something else to give thanks for tonight.

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