Second, we commit sins of omission when we lack conformity to God’s law in our words. The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Ephesians exhorts the church to speak the truth in love and to speak “only such as is good for building up” (Eph. 4:15, 29). We should speak truthfully (1 Peter 3:10), giving words of encouragement to one another (1 Thess. 5:11). Our speech should be gracious (Col. 4:6) and gentle (Prov. 15:4). But when we fail to speak in these ways, we commit sins of omission with our speech.
Third, we commit sins of omission when we lack conformity to God’s law in our deeds. The Bible contains a number of positive “one another” commands. For example, we are called to “be at peace with one another” (Mark 9:50), to bear with one another in love (Eph. 4:2), to be “kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another” (v. 32), and “to seek to do good to one another, and to everyone” (1 Thess. 5:15). The prophet Micah writes, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Mic. 6:8). Jesus teaches that we are to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matt. 5:44). Then there’s the Ten Commandments, including keeping the Sabbath day holy (Ex. 20:8). When we fail in keeping these positive commands, we commit sins of omission.
As you can probably see, the more we examine our lives—our thoughts, desires, words, and deeds—the more we realize how much we fail to think, love, speak, and do those things that please and honor God. We fall short of His glory (Rom. 3:23), and we fail to do what we know is right and good (see 7:15).
Before we can come to experience the amazing grace of God in Christ, we need to realize how serious these sins of omission really are. Paul, quoting Deuteronomy 27:26, writes, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them” (Gal. 3:10). Think about that. If you do not abide by all things in God’s commands and laws, you remain under the “curse” of God. All of us, then, justly deserve His wrath—the wages of our sin. But God, being rich in mercy, has forgiven our sins through the shed blood of Christ, who “redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (v. 13). Our sins of commission and sins of omission have been laid on Christ and He has paid in full our debts, which we can never pay ourselves.
With the assurance of God’s pardoning grace, all of His commands and laws come to us not with the threat of judgment but with the encouragement of a friend, leading us in the way that’s pleasing to Him. God’s law is good, and we should meditate upon His law day and night, that we might be well-watered trees bearing fruit (Ps. 1:2–3). And though we fail to conform to His law, our hope is in the One who has accomplished all that God has required of us. We should daily repent of our sins of omission and put our faith in Christ. We should confess—with the saints of old—that “we have left undone those things which we ought to have done” (Book of Common Prayer), neglecting and disregarding God’s positive commands. And when we do, let us rest in the promise of God that He “is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).