Presumptuous Sins

“But the person who does anything with a high hand, whether he is native or a sojourner, reviles the Lord, and that person shall be cut off from among his people.” Numbers 15:30

“Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults. Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression”. Psalm 119:12-13

The Law permitted an individual who committed an unintentional sin to experience atonement if he brought a one-year-old female goat as a sin offering. However, anyone who sinned with a “high hand” or with a defiant clinched fist was to be cut off from the people. These are sins committed deliberately against God’s commandments.

In Psalm 19:12-14, David discusses both unintentional (for which he asked God to declare him innocent) and intentional sins. We, as Christians, have been given a new nature which is in the likeness of God (Ephesians 4:24) and we are therefore grieved when we sin but through the weakness of our fallen nature we continue to fall into individual acts of sin, although not into a habitual life of unrepentant sin (I John 1:6). Some of our sins are unintentional but the most troublesome are intentional when we give in to temptation to willfully do something we know is wrong. These are the types of sins that will begin to gain dominion over us if continued and become strongholds. We still have forgiveness with repentance and confession (I John 1:9) but the qualify of our spiritual and many times physical life is much compromised until we allow God to break these strongholds, often difficult. Thus the reason David pleads with God to keep him back from these type sins to begin with.

I found the following in “Old Testament Theology: Israel’s Faith” by John Goldingay. “ ‘Who can understand wanderings?’ (Ps 19:12). Human sinfulness is mysterious. Why do we turn and wander from the path God lays out? The psalm has expatiated on how joyful and life-giving God’s word is. How odd that we rebel against it. But we do. Therefore Psalm 19:12–13 prays, ‘Free me from the hidden, yes, withhold your servant from the willful. May they not rule over me, then I shall be whole, and free of great rebellion.’ We need God to free us from the inclination willfully to turn from God’s way….

As we are under grace, as Christians, sin can no longer have dominion over us as Christ’s shed blood paid the penalty for our sins (Romans 6:14). However, we are not to continue to intentionally present our bodies as instruments of unrighteousness but rather present ourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and our members as instruments of righteousness to God (Romans 6:13). If we die to ourselves and present our members to God for righteousness He will take it from there and give us the power to live a godly life. That way we can avoid presumptuous sins that can still gain dominion over us.