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Summary: The sin of failing to do what we ought to do.


James 4:17

Isn’t it our nature to think of sin as something we do wrong? I mean we have a list of things whether mental or written, that are wrong. We say, well, we better not do them. Don’t lie, don’t steal, don’t kill, don’t watch X-rated movies, don’t drink liquor. Would you say all of these are sin? Come on now you know they are. I could call out some more on our list. But we have the dirty dozen we don’t do. If we don’t do these things, then we are all right. But I want you to notice what the Word of God says in James 4:17. The sin of failing to do what we ought to do.

Now there are all kinds of sins. There are moral sins of the flesh, ethical sins of the conduct, spiritual sins of pride, sin of prejudice but the greatest sin, believe it or not, are none of these. It is the sin of omission. Now before you turn me out listen. All the other sins come about because of the sin of omission. Because the sin of omission is failing to do what you ought to do. No man can do two things at one time. So a man doing what he ought to do cannot do what he ought not to do. For a man that knoweth to do good and does it not, to him it is sin.

What is the sin of omission? Let’s go back in our text to verse 13. Now let me say two things about the sin of omission. First of all I want to say it is a deceiving sin. Now the sins of commission are easily seen, but the sin of omission is not easily seen.

Now James gives us an illustration here. We have a first century wheeler and dealer. Even though he was in the first century I believe he has a lot of brothers in the 20th century. I feel like it is around the first of the year when James tells this story.

Here is a man planning a period of time. Look at what he says today or tomorrow. Tomorrow I will begin my years work.

Not only is he planning a period of time but a place. I will go to such and such a city. I will go to that city and do my work.

He also plans his procedure. he said this is what I am going to do. I will sell and trade to make plenty of money. So he has also planned his profit. I am going to make plenty of money. So he has got it all drawn out.

Now what did he do wrong? There is nothing wrong with planning. There is nothing wrong with looking to make money to support his family. The Bible is not against planning or making money as long as it is by the principles of the Bible.

The thing wrong is that we see no mention of God. We see no prayer, no honoring God. He is just going to live his life as if there is no God.

Now the Bible says the fool says in his heart there is no God. Let me tell you the bigger fool is the man who knows there is a God yet lives his life as if God doesn’t exist. He is condemned for what he failed to do. It is the sin of omission.

Do you remember the story about a man who was going from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell among the thieves? There was a priest and a Levite passed by him while he was laying on the ground almost dead. Now did the priest and the Levite rob him? No! Did they beat him? No! They just passed him by. Their sin was what they did not do. The sin of omission.

Most people have the idea if they don’t do certain things they are good Christians. If that were true then my dog is the best Christian I know. He doesn’t steal, he doesn’t drink liquor or any of the things we would consider bad.

Let me ask you some questions. Has God told you to pray for somebody today? Did you pray for them? Has God told you to make things right with another person? Have you done that? To him that knoweth to do good.

First of all the sin of omission is a deceiving sin but also a destructive sin. Look in verses 15,16. Evil, why is so evil? What is wrong with this sin? Think with me for a moment. Why are men, women, boys and girls lost and going to hell? Is it because of something they have done? What about if they burn a church? What about if they tare up their Bible? Are they going to hell because of something they have done. What do you have to do to be lost? Men, women, boys and girls go to heaven because of something they have not done. It is the sin of omission. I tell you the truth, the root of all sin is the sin of omission. It is the reason why many people have broken homes. What does a man have to do to destroy his home. Does he have to beat his wife? I don’t recommend it. Does he have to curse her? No just neglect her.

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