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Bible verses about Willfully Sin
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Leviticus 4:2

The word presumption does not quite mean in Hebrew what it does in English. In English, it simply means "to assume," to take a matter upon oneself without considering all the factors and doing it. However, in the Old Testament, it carries the idea of acting arrogantly—of rebellion. In fact, it means to do something with audacity or to be headstrong. It refers to those who overstep their bounds or dare to act in a disobedient manner. A willfulness is implied in the word that is not contained in English, making it much more forceful.

In other words, a person who sins presumptuously is fully aware of what he is doing; he is fully educated and not in ignorance either of what he is doing or the potential cost of doing it, and he deliberately sets his mind to do it. It is an act of rebellion, an audacious setting one's will, despite all he knows, to go ahead and do it anyway.

By these usages, the word "unintentional" in Leviticus 4 and Numbers 15 can include within it someone who is conscious of what he is doing but does not act audaciously. He does not plan it. He is not rebellious—but weak. God will forgive that, but He will not forgive the sin that is presumptuous according to usage of the word in the Old Testament.

In the New Testament, the word begins very similar to the English usage of the word. It means "to think" or "suppose." Howevver, according to the context in which it is used in the New Testament, it contains the idea of dealing proudly, defiantly, and recklessly. It means to look down upon. A tremendous amount of pride is implied in it.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Examples of Divine Justice


 

Leviticus 4:2

"Unintentionally [ignorantly, KJV]" includes more than one might think at first. It means "wander," "err," "make a mistake," and "go astray," and contains a strong sense of ignorance and even inadvertence. It suggests a lack of deep understanding of the seriousness of the sin involved. In other words, regarding this sin, the person did not know any better. It includes sins done with a degree of consciousness, an awareness of what one is doing'something done willingly out of weakness'but not sins done deliberately.

For instance, the Bible clearly differentiates between manslaughter and murder, and the underlying principle revolves around presumption:

And if you sin unintentionally, and do not observe all these commandments which the LORD has spoken to Moses. . . . [T]he person who does anything presumptuously, whether he is native-born or a stranger, that one brings reproach on the LORD, and he shall be cut off from among his people. Because he has despised the word of the LORD, and has broken His commandment, that person shall be completely cut off; his guilt shall be upon him. (Numbers 15:22, 30-31)

Manslaughter is to kill someone accidentally, while murder is to take a life deliberately and willfully. To sin presumptuously is to sin willfully. Those who overstep their bounds and dare to act in a disobedient manner commit presumptuous sins such as murder. The New Testament word translated "presume" can mean "to think," "to suppose," "to deal proudly, defiantly, and recklessly," and "to look down upon." It shows an evil attitude and a twisted thinking process followed by an action one knows full well is absolutely wrong to do.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Presumption and Divine Justice


 

Leviticus 5:15-17

One's blindness does not excuse his guilt. The person is still guilty even though he did not know.

Unintentionally, thankfully, includes more than one might think at first glance. It means "to turn aside, to wander, to err, to make a mistake, to miss the mark." The person misses the real objective in life, which is to obey God and to be holy as He is holy. It includes sins done with a degree of consciousness, that is, an awareness of what one is doing, as well as sins done willingly out of weakness, but not sins done deliberately.

For example, the Bible clearly differentiates between manslaughter and murder. Manslaughter is the taking of a life accidentally. There is no plan to do it—it just occurrs. The head flies off a hammer, hits somebody in the head, cracks his skull, and he dies. Nobody deliberately plans to do that, though there may be some carelessness involved in it.

Murder, however, includes a measure of deliberateness, lying in wait, planning, setting one's mind to do it. It may be a situation in which one burns in anger against someone for a period of time. Though he has plenty of time to bring himself under control, he does not. Then, reaching the boiling point, he murders his "enemy."

John W. Ritenbaugh
Examples of Divine Justice


 

Numbers 15:31

Notice these verbs: "Despise," "reproach," "cut off." There is a difference in attitude reflected in the person who sins unintentionally, even though the person is conscious of what he is doing.

There is no forgiveness here. He bears his guilt right to the grave. So, murder, which involves deliberateness, is the willful taking of a life, and to sin presumptuously is to do it willfully.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Examples of Divine Justice


 

Numbers 15:32-36

The conclusion is inescapable that the man who sinned here did so presumptuously. It was something of which he was well aware, and the sin was not forgiven. Instead, the death penalty was carried out.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fourth Commandment (Part 4)


 

Psalm 19:12-13

Secret faults are sins that we commit that we do not see or recognize as sins. We commit them not knowing we have committed sin. Nevertheless, we are still held accountable for our actions, and we will eventually pay the penalty. Ignorance of the law is no excuse. Presumptuous sins are willful sins, ones we do knowing that they are sin before we commit them. Such willful sins, depending on one's attitude, can be spiritually very dangerous.

The godly man is not only concerned about avoiding committing sins willfully, but also with extracting those hidden sins that are committed unknowingly. Because we so often allow our carnal natures to dominate us, we remain blind to many of our sins and character flaws until God reveals them to us through the Holy Spirit.

Martin G. Collins
Comparing Ourselves Among Ourselves


 

Ezekiel 18:24-28

There is an individual responsibility. God never condones sin nor grants license for anyone to disobey His commands. This is not speaking about our transgressions done out of weakness or ignorance. These are transgressions that are done as a way of life with knowledge that one is doing wrong. However, God always allows the sinner to repent. He will always chase after the sinner with His Word, giving him the opportunity to turn around. We see that in the lives of the kings Joash, Amaziah, and Uzziah. God always leaves the door open for a sinner who desires to repent. If he does not repent, his mind eventually becomes set, seared, and over time, repentance becomes impossible.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Why Three Kings Are Missing From Matthew 1


 

Romans 1:18-19

Not only does Satan's deception play a part in man's separation from God, but God's Word also shows that there is a willfulness involved in man's choice of the direction in which he is headed. Men "suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest to them"!

In his deception, Satan has been so forceful, his argument so "good," that sincere men will argue and fight against God, thinking they are serving God. Jesus prophesied that people will kill in the name of God and think, sincerely, that they are doing God a service (John 16:2). How effective Satan has been—and is—with his deceptions!

If he has been that effective in deceiving people, how wide is the gulf that separates mankind from God? It is so wide that in the Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man in Luke 16, it is described as "impassable," and so it is. Sin brought death, and for humans to bridge the gap to eternal life is impossible.

Mankind is in a horrible state when one looks at it from the evidence that God has on His side. We deserve every bit of pain, torment, hurt, and anxiety that might come our way. We have no basis at all for complaining to God that we deserve His mercy and forgiveness. God has every right, based on our sinful activities, to do what He could do, but in His mercy, will not do.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Division, Satan, Humility


 

Romans 3:20

Presumptuous sins are normally committed by those who know better but willfully commit them anyway. The Hebrew word describing these sins, pesha' (Strong's #6588), is translated as "transgress," "transgressions," "transgressors," or "transgressed" many times.

The word contains a sense of expansion, of breaking away, or of continuousness, thus leading to its meaning "to revolt or rebel." It is translated as "transgressions" (plural) 48 times in the Old Testament, and interestingly, ten of those 48 occurrences—almost 20% of them—are in one book: Amos, which prophetically describes modern Israel.

Notice Amos 1:3: "Thus says the LORD: 'For three transgressions [pesha'] of Damascus, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, because they have threshed Gilead with implements of iron.'" It may be surprising to realize that God makes this charge against a Gentile nation—those who are supposedly without the law and therefore somewhat excusable. Yet He charges them with "transgressions"—rebellion. In other words, on some level, they really did know better.

God's charge indicates a sin so bold, so vicious, so in-your-face, and so continuous in its revolting attitude that it cannot be passed over on the basis of ignorance or inadvertence. Of special note in this level of sin is its continuous nature. In other words, the sinner is not really fighting it. I Kings 12:19 says, "So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day." "In rebellion" is translated from pâsha', the root of pesha'.

Amos 2:4-6 carries God's charge against both Israel and Judah:

Thus says the LORD: "For three transgressions [pesha'] of Judah, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, because they have despised the law of the LORD, and have not kept His commandments. Their lies lead them astray, lies after which their fathers walked. But I will send a fire upon Judah, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem." Thus says the LORD: "For three transgressions [pesha'] of Israel, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, because they sell the righteous for silver, and the poor for a pair of sandals."

In contrast to the Gentiles, it is not so much the vicious intensity of Judah's and Israel's sins, but their continuous, revolting, grasping nature that so incenses God. In other words, the Israelitish people give every impression from their long history that they made little or no effort to stop sinning. Israel's problem is not so much an in-your-face willfulness, but a persistent, casual, hardheaded, self-centered, "I'll take care of it later" attitude.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Sin, Christians, and the Fear of God


 

Romans 5:13

The apostle makes it clear in the next verse that sinning in the "absence of law" brings about the same penalty as sinning with full knowledge of the law.

David F. Maas
Is All Fair in Love and War?


 

Romans 10:1-3

It is not so much a lack of the availability of true knowledge as it is a lackadaisical, careless, "it really does not matter all that much," "any way is as good as any other," "sin is not really all that bad" approach. It at first might seem to be a gentle form of stubbornness, but the real problem here is two major spiritual sins: pride and covetousness. In effect, Israelites are guilty of telling God that He does not know what He is talking about. As a nation, we are somewhat like teenagers who tell their parents that they are "out of it" old fogies, but it is far more serious than this.

Generally, Israelites are not a particularly violent people. However, our pride influences us, as Amos shows, to be deceitful and sneaky and to take advantage of those weaker than ourselves. We are masters of competitively seeking advantage, not for the purpose of sharing, but to get for the self. Consider Jacob's characteristics in his dealings with Esau and his father-in-law, Laban.

However, these sins are just as much deviations from God's standards as the violent and vicious sins of the Gentiles. Sin is sin is sin. God nowhere says, "This level of sin is passable"; sin will always be failure. "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). The continuous nature of these pesha' sins (presumptuous transgressions) strongly indicates that they will not be repented of.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Sin, Christians, and the Fear of God


 

Hebrews 6:4-8

Those who live their lives in union with God in this age will take part in the resurrection to eternal life. However, those who have tasted what God offers and rejected it—"those who have done evil" (John 5:29)—will be resurrected to face their Judge, and then they will be cast into the Lake of Fire and die the second death (see Revelation 20:12-15; 21:8).

Verse 8 then relates that the fate of such people is to be burned. They will have died once already, yet that first death will not satisfy the penalty for sin. Death by old age, disease, accident, or violence (including suicide) does not pay the death penalty for sin. Only a life taken in judgment for sin satisfies the debt.

Christ's sacrifice is one such payment. However, if an individual will not allow Christ's blood to pay that debt, the only recourse is for his life to be taken in payment for his sin. If he is determined to live in opposition to God, unconcerned about obeying God's commands, that person would be miserable living forever anyway. He will not be given the gift of eternal life in a state of mental or physical torment.

Instead, John 5:29 speaks of a “resurrection of condemnation.” Paul says there will be “a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust” (Acts 24:15). Similarly, Daniel 12:2 mentions those who “shall awake . . . to shame and everlasting contempt.” Anyone remaining in such opposition to God will be resurrected to physical life, judgment will be passed, his body will be burned in payment of his debt, and he will cease to exist. If he is even remembered, the memory will be contemptible.

This is why the second death continues as a theme throughout Scripture, always in the background but rarely mentioned. It is the final event for those who choose to remain in opposition to God after being given the opportunity to know Him. Paul describes this in Hebrews 10:26-27: “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.”

We who are in Christ have eternal life. We will still undergo a physical death, but eternal life is ours—and ours to lose. When we survey the warnings given in the New Testament, they are largely not about a sudden, dramatic turn away from God. Rather, they are about smaller things—little decisions of death that require time to bear evil fruit.

So there are warnings about false teachers, who will, over time, damage the faith on which we stand. The writers warn about deception, the cares of this life, and the enticements of this world. They caution us about growing weary and apathetic and neglecting this great salvation. They admonish us against letting the wrong attitudes take root. The dangers are subtle and incremental, but each one has the potential to lead us slowly away from God.

While any one thing may not seem critical today, the problem is what is produced tomorrow—which we often cannot foresee. Carelessness takes us to where our hearts no longer care about overcoming, and we become hostile toward God and the things of God. It opens us to the same lie that Eve fell for: that we can do as we please and continue living. The fact is, though, the spiritually dead do not know they are dead—they believe they are alive.

It is unlikely that anyone sets out to choose the second death. Instead, it is chosen incrementally, with all the little choices over time creating a character that is set and unchangeable. That character will either be intent on overcoming, on hearing Christ's voice, and on trusting in God, or set in opposition to God and His law (Romans 8:7) and thus rejecting life. The choice is ours.

David C. Grabbe
What Is the Second Death?


 

Hebrews 10:26

To "sin willfully" is to break God's law and do it in a rebellious way. It is consistently practicing sin in a bad attitude.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 4)


 

Hebrews 10:28-30

These are not those outside the church but inside the church who have been justified yet have turned away from God. They are now willfully living their lives in enmity against Him.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 29)


 

 




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