By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. Romans 5:12
It was always hard explaining to confirmands that we commit sins of "omission" and "commission." All too often they thought sins of omission were sins we should have done, but didn't.
At long last I think I've stumbled on a story which explains the difference. It begins in Colorado Springs when, early on a Sunday morning Anthony Pettiford ran into the local 7-Eleven. Understand, going into the 7-Eleven was not Pettiford's sin of omission. Leaving his car unlocked, with his keys in the ignition, and his three-year-old son in the back seat was.
During the short time Pettiford was in the store, somebody did a deliberate sin of commission, when he stole Pettiford's vehicle, along with his child. The intentional sins kept coming when, four blocks later, the thief dumped the three-year-old at the side of the road. Generously, he also left the child's bag containing some soy milk, a sippy cup, two diapers, wipes and pajama bottoms.
The little boy carried the bag through the snow, up 14 stairs and knocked on Traci Gilbert's second-story apartment door. "Help me. I'm cold," the child said when Gilbert opened her door. Eventually, a policeman was flagged down, and the child ended up being reunited with his dad. Dad has not, as of this writing, been reunited with his 1995 white Chrysler New Yorker.
After reading that story the first thing I thought was are you kidding? Both these guys have done some things which are both dangerous and wrong. The second thing I thought was they're just like the rest of us.
Now we may not leave our child in the back-seat of our car, so he may be kidnapped; and most of us won't steal a car with a child in the back seat.
Even so, we all commit sins of omission and commission. Think a bit and you will find something which fits into both of those categories. And because that's so, as the Scripture verse for today says, "Death has passed upon all men."
Thankfully, there is a rest of the story.
The rest of the story tells how God, in spite of our sinful condition, sent His Son to take our place. We sin, but Jesus didn't. We transgress, but He refused. We get tempted, but He resisted. Jesus did the job so well, so completely, that when He gave up the ghost, He could say, "It is finished."
And the work of saving us was ... finished, that is.
Now to all who sin (which means all of us), the Holy Spirit extends an invitation of faith. It is an invitation that provides complete coverage of every sin and total forgiveness to every sinner who believes.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, forgive my sins and grant me the forgiveness that comes through Jesus. In His Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries