“Three Kinds of Sin”

Three Kinds of Sin

Wade Webster

There are few subjects that you can preach on that you know cover every person in the audience.  Sin is one of those subjects. Sin is a problem that we all have (Rom 3:23; 1 John 1:8-10). Sin is from a Greek word (harmatia) which means “to miss the mark.”  It is to fall short of the glory of God and to transgress God’s law (1 John 3:4).  The Bible identifies three kinds of sin. 

Sins of Commission

The psalmist declared, “We have sinned with our fathers, we have committed iniquity, we have done wickedly” (Psa 106:6). Notice first the word committed.  This word identifies the kind of sin that we are talking about.  Then, notice three words for sin - sinned, committed iniquity, and done wickedly.  These three terms are just different ways of referring to the breaking of God’s law. We have an example of this kind of sin in the case of Achan.  We read, “Did not Achan the son of Zerah commit a trespass in the accursed thing, and wrath fell on all the congregation of Israel? and that man perished not alone in his iniquity” (Josh. 22:20).  Notice the word commit.  This identifies the kind of sin that is under consideration.  Notice also the words trespass and iniquity.  These are two more ways that the Bible refers to sin. 

Sins of Omission

Jesus declared, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone” (Mat. 23:23).  First, notice the word omitted.  This identifies the kind of sin that is under consideration.  These individuals had omitted the weightier matters of the law - judgment, mercy, and faith.  Yet, at the same time they were giving tithes of the smallest spices - mint, anise, and cumin.  No doubt, they wanted men to praise them for giving a tenth of these tiny things.  Jesus wasn’t impressed.  They were majoring in minors and minoring in majors.  We must be careful not to be guilty of omissions of our own.  James wrote, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (Jam. 4:17). 

Sins of Disposition

God looks on the heart (1 Sam 16:7; Heb. 4:12).  He sees our thoughts afar off (Psa. 139:2).   We can sin not only in our bodies, but also in our hearts and minds.  Solomon wrote, “An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin” (Prov 21:4).  Please note that a proud heart is sin.  In the twenty-fourth chapter, Solomon wrote, “He that deviseth to do evil shall be called a mischievous person.  The thought of foolishness is sin: and the scorner is an abomination to men” (Prov 24:8-9).  Here, we read of a thought that is sin.  Other passages will affirm the same.  Isaiah wrote, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” (Isa. 55:7; cf. Mt. 15:19).  In like manner, Jesus declared, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Mt. 5:27-28; cf. 2 Pet. 2:14).  Please note that it isn’t just the act that is sin, but also the thought. The person who takes pleasure in the sin of others is as worthy of death as them. Paul wrote, “Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them” (Rom. 1:32).

We must avoid all sin. Sins of commission, omission, and disposition are all forbidden.  They all pay the wages of death (Rom. 6:23).