What are sins of commission vs. omission? That’s a great question. There are two types of sins any human can commit: Sins of commission and sins of omission. Both of these sins are wicked in God’s eyes, and it’s all but guaranteed that you’ve committed both types of sins in your lifetime (probably many times). As Christians, we need to be on high alert for sin in our lives, for it can hinder our prayers, lead to chastisement, and even lead to death and misery:
“If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him” (Genesis 4:7).
“and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1:15).
What does the Bible teach about these two types of sin? What are they?
Sins of Commission Defined
Sins of commission are sins that we commit by doing something we shouldn’t do. It’s the type of sin in which we are most familiar. For example, if a man brutally beat an elderly lady on the subway, we’d all be infuriated and disgusted. Or if a man cheated on his wife, we’d immediately know it was sin. Why? Those things are easily recognizable as sins of commission. It’s something someone did that they shouldn’t have done.
The Apostle Paul gives us a short list of sins of commission in First Corinthians:
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:10).
Here are some other examples of sins of commission:
- Sexual sins: Adultery, fornication, bestiality, homosexuality, bisexuality, molestation, pornography, etc.
- Theft, covetousness, etc.
- Murder, physical abuse, bullying, mental abuse
- Gossip, slander, backbiting, etc.
- Lying, manipulating, cursing, etc.
- and much more.
Clearly, there are many “sins of commission” that we can commit. When I look back at my life, I’m disgusted by the sins I’ve committed. However, it wasn’t until I learned of the sins of omission that I fully realized how sinful I truly was, and how loving and forgiving God really is.
What is a sin of omission?
Sins of Omission Defined
As you might have guessed, sins of omission are sins we commit by not doing something we should do. This is a sin that is easy to hide from others. It’s difficult to commit a sin of commission and get away with it, but it is quite easy to commit a sin of omission without others knowing. Therefore, I think this type of sin is perhaps the most dangerous for us in our Christian walk.
Here are just some examples of sins of omission we may commit:
1. Failing to pray regularly, or failing to pray for others in our lives. Consider what the prophet Samuel said in the Old Testament:
“Moreover, as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way” (1 Samuel 12:23).
2. Failing to tithe or be faithful stewards in our finances. Consider the words of Malachi:
“Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings” (Malachi 3:8).
3. Failing to help another person when we have both the capacity and a nudging from the Holy Spirit to do so. Consider this passage in James:
“Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).
4. Failing to provide for our family, especially those of our own household. The Bible teaches that this is not only a sin, it even goes as far as to say that a Christian neglecting this is even worse than unbelievers. What a tragedy in today’s society that many men will impregnate a woman, and then leave with no intention of supporting her or raising his own child:
“But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (1 Timothy 5:8).
5. Failing to read and study the Bible regularly. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the WORD of God. The great evangelist D.L. Moody once said this about the Bible:
“Either this book will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from this book.”
6. Failing to fellowship with other Christians or attend some type of church fellowship:
“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25).
There are many other types of sins of omission. In summary, we commit a sin of omission when we neglect to do something God commands us to do.
Conclusion: Sins of Commission vs. Sins of Omission
Sin is sin, and God hates any and all sin. Sin will keep you out of fellowship with God, hinder your prayers, cause God to chastise us, and even lead to an early death. As Christians, we must guard ourselves from the temptation to sin in all areas of our lives.
By recognizing both types of sins (commission and omission), we can ensure that we are walking blamelessly before the Lord.
Of course, the most important sin to overcome is that of rejecting the Holy Spirit. Have you received Christ as your savior? If you died today, do you know for sure that you’d go to heaven? The Bible teaches that all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory. However, we can receive forgiveness of our sins and eternal life by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ.
I pray that you’ll come to faith in Christ, for He is the only way to heaven. No other person, no other faith, and no type of “good deeds” can get you to heaven. It is only by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ that you can be saved.