We all sin in many ways. Even when we desire to do right, our motives can be self-serving. But David, the man after God’s own heart said, “Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, and I shall be innocent of great transgression.”
What are presumptuous sins and why was David so concerned about them?
Isaiah 21 & 22
2 Corinthians 7.1-16
What Are Presumptuous Sins?
2 Corinthians 7.1-16:
Sorrow that Leads to Repentance
In a previous letter Paul had rebuked the Corinthians for their unbiblical behavior. In verses 8-12 Paul followed up and revealed the reason he was willing to say things that were hard to say and hard to hear:
8 For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while. 9 Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. 10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. 11 For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner. What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter. 12 Therefore, although I wrote to you, I did not do it for the sake of him who had done the wrong, nor for the sake of him who suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear to you.
Sometimes we must be willing to speak the truth in love even if it means offending someone, risking our friendship with them, or not being liked. No one wants to do so unnecessarily, but when we see a pattern of sin in someone’s life, Galatians 6 tells us:
1 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Notice that even when we must speak to someone who is caught in a pattern of sin, we are to do it in a spirit of gentleness, examining ourselves first and continually, lest we fall into sin ourselves in the process.
On another note, as I reread today’s reading I started contemplating MacArthur’s notes on verse 1. In reference to the phrase “let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit,” he says, “False religion panders to the human appetites represented by both ‘flesh and spirit’.”
I believe that is the reason men and women can appear religious on the outside, even serving as priests or pastors or are involved in ministry in some other way, while excusing drunkenness, sexual immorality, theft, or other sins. Their religious activity sometimes causes them to believe they have somehow earned a little favor or collateral with God.
On other occasions, they excuse immoral sexual appetites like adultery, fornication, homosexuality, or child molestation by rationalizing about “all the good they do.”
But perhaps the most pernicious way, religion keeps us bound up in sin is by seeing it as a system that cancels out or appeases God. Because I’ve sinned, I must do penance by praying a certain prayer over and over or performing some other act of contrition. It’s like writing on a spiritual blackboard, “I will not talk in class,” a hundred times.
It leads us to think when tempted, “I know this is wrong, but I’m going to do it anyway. Afterwards, I’ll ask God to forgive me and take the consequences.”
The problem with that thinking is that God knows our hearts and a heart that reasons, “I’ll do it anyway and confess later,” is not a repentant heart. This is what David called “presumptuous sins” (Ps. 19.13):
Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins;
Let them not have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless,
And I shall be innocent of great transgression.
The Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon defines presumptuous sins as ones we do recklessly and arrogantly. To presume, according to the dictionary, is to take something for granted that we may not be entitled to. It’s dangerous to presume on God’s grace when we do not have truly repentant hearts.
Let’s pray as David did that He would keep us from presumptuous sins!
Today’s Other Readings:
Isaiah 21 & 22:
Taking God’s Deliverance & Grace for Granted
In chapter 22 Isaiah begins to prophesy concerning the “Valley of Vision”—a reference to Israel. God had allowed the Assyrians to threaten and attack them previously, but in his mercy had prevented their defeat. Instead of seeing God’s mercy at work, taking it as a “shot over the bow,” and repenting in thankfulness, they had taken His deliverance for granted.
In this chapter Isaiah warns them that though they will take the next deliverance for granted and will even be celebrating prematurely, God will let them fall because of their continued rebellion.
What about you? Is there some area where things could have gone badly, but somehow they worked out? Did you just “count yourself lucky,” assume it was your quick thinking that got you out of that jam, or did you think about God’s grace and mercy? Did you consider what God might be saying through that situation or will He have to repeat the lesson, this time with more severe consequences?
Thankful or Unthankful?
Verse 8, “Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men.”
Just as with the ancient Israelites, one of the characteristics of these last days is unthankfulness. 2 Timothy 3 gives us a picture of the times in which we live:
1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come. 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.
Let’s not be counted among the unthankful lovers of self!
Patience & Consistency
Verse 15, “By long forbearance a ruler is persuaded, and a gentle tongue breaks a bone.”
This is true in so many areas of life. Even when it comes to biblical truth, we are seldom going to change people by using God’s Word like a club. Instead, we must patiently and consistently, in love, share the truth while we let our light shine.
In the next few days, we’ll talk about the Rapture, the Tribulation, the God who calms storms, how to tear down strongholds and more.
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