The road to an apostate life is filled with all sorts of deeds of the flesh. However, simply knowing that we can fall, and that the enemy that encourages us to fall is not enough. It would do us a world of good to understand in what areas we can fall.
Doing What is Forbidden. The best example of this in the scriptures is the first sin that man committed. God had commanded that man should not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:16). The command is clear. It was not up to debate. It needed no “clarification.” But, in Gen. 3:6 we find both Adam and Eve eating from the tree which God had strictly forbidden.
We usually refer to this type of sin as a sin of commission. They missed God’s mark by refusing to submit themselves to God’s will and not eat from the forbidden tree.
In the world around us today we see people committing all sorts of sins. Turn the television on and see revelings and licentiousness promoted as an “everyday lifestyle.” This sin of commission (I Cor. 6:9-11) is being shown as a lifestyle choice not as an abomination to God.
Among Christians things are not much better. What was once clearly seen as sin now has “gray areas.” I was heard a former elder explain to me why he was once told that two young people that were living together should not be withdrawn from. The older elder told him that we don’t know if that young couple secretly got married or not so let them be. When the young people split up and got married to other young people, the elder was then told that what happened in the past needs to stay in the past.
We need to understand that the sins of commission will keep us out of God’s favor and that is not a place any of us should desire to be found.
Refusing to Do What God Has Commanded. “To one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin (James 4:17).” All too often we think that the only type of sin that exists is the sin of commission. But, there is more to being a servant of God that refraining from a long list of do nots.
There are things that God commands us to do. In James 1:27 James states that “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is visiting widows and orphans in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” Before James mentions what we are not to do (sins of commission) he tells us what to do. In chapter two he states it quite clearly, faith without works is dead (James 2:26).
We must continue working. We cannot become lazy in out Christianity and expect to do right in the sight of our God. When God says go we go, when God says teach we teach!
Adding to the Word of God. On more than one occasion God stated that we are not permitted to add to his word. Moses and John both wrote that the one who adds to the written word were sinning against God (Deut. 4:2; Rev. 22:18). What is written is written. It is not our place to add to the word of God.
There are certainly numerous denominations that have added to God’s word. The Catholic church has added oral traditions, creeds, and papal decrees. The Mormons have added the Book of Mormon. The list goes on. The point is that many have added to God’s word and placed man’s doctrines and opinions on the same level as scripture.
Of course, there are some who just simply ask, “Where is the scripture against it?” It is true that not one Bible passage comes out and says, “Thou shall not use musical instruments.” But, all sin is, is acting without law or authority (I John 3:4). Whatever we do in word or deed must be done in the name of the Lord (Col. 3:17)
Taking from the Word of God. In the same passages the above mentioned sin was pointed out, God revealed that taking away from what he has commanded will not be tolerated (Deut. 4:2; Rev. 22:19).
If God saw fit to command us to do something, we cannot turn around and claim that such a command is not really needed. No truer statement can be said of baptism. Thousands upon thousands of people are taught each year that baptism is not needed in order to please God. They literally cut Mark 16:16 out of the Bible claiming that it was not in the original manuscript. The claim that the command of Acts 2:38 has nothing to do with salvation by changing the definitions of words.
Of course, we need to take care that we do not make the same mistakes. Each command is as important as the next. James 2:10 teaches us that transgressing just one part of the law is enough to condemn us.
Substituting for What God has Commanded. Nadab and Abihu were guilty of this sin. The substituted the fire God had authorized with another fire (Lev. 10:1-3). Although one cannot know their heart, , their motive is not needed to see God’s point. What God said he wanted is what he wanted. We are not to change it because it suits us better. We are not to change it because we think it sounds better. We are not to change it for any reason. -WTK
Grinnell church of Christ
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Five Ways to Disobey God
Volume 7 Issue 30