The faithful child of God never seeks ways by which he can disobey God. Yet the Bible indicates different manners in which God may be disobeyed. It might help us to avoid some pitfalls of apostasy to reflect on the ways in which God is disobeyed.
1. BY DOING WHAT IS FORBIDDEN (Gen. 2:16; 3:6). Adam and Eve, in eating the forbidden fruit, transgressed or violated the will of God. We refer to this kind d sin as a sin of commission. They committed an act which God specifically had prohibited. Men today often do exactly what He has forbidden.
2. BY REFUSING TO DO WHAT GOD HAS COMMANDED (Jas. 4:17; Lk. 7:30; Heb. 10:25). The Pharisees and lawyers in Lk. 7:30 rejected the counsel of God on baptism. They therefore committed a sin of omission. James states that when one knows to do good and does it not, to him it is sin. One can do nothing and be sent to hell for doing nothing, for God has made demands upon us.
3. BY ADDING TO THE WORD OF GOD (Deut. 4:2; Rev. 22:18). God states that if one adds unto his word, the plagues written in the word will be added to that person. John declares that "lawlessness" is sin (1 Jno. 3: 4 American Standard Version). Sin, as defined by John, is that which is lawless. Sin is the doing of anything for which there is no law or for which there is no authority.
John declares that when one goes beyond the doctrine of Christ, he gives up both Christ and God (2 John 9). Paul therefore insists that we must learn "not to go beyond the things which are written" (1 Cor. 4:6)
Men frequently ask, "Where is the scripture against it?" But John declares that if there is no law for the act under question it is "lawlessness," and lawlessness is sin. To act or to speak where God has not spoken is a sin of presumption (Num. 15:30; Lev. 10: 1, 2). When one acts without divine authority, he presumes to know God's will aside from the expressed will of God and presumes to speak in His behalf. Such is insolent sin, and is intolerable by God.
4. BY TAKING FROM THE WORD OF GOD (Deut. 4:2; Rev. 22:19). To take from God's word is a sin of the same sort as to add to His word. Taking from His word will result in one's part being taken from the tree e/life and the holy city written in the Book.
When one begins to talk about God's "nonessential commands," he is prepared in heart to commit the damning sin of taking from God's word.
5. BY SUBSTITUTING FOR WHAT GOD HAS COMMANDED (Gen. 4:4; Lev. 10:1-3). Cain substituted a vegetable sacrifice for what God had commanded (Heb. 11:4) and God had no respect for his gift. Nadab and Abihu, though they offered fire, did not offer the fire that God had commanded, and thus were consumed by their strange fire. In religion men must learn to "accept no substitute," for God will not accept a substitute for obedience (1 Sam. 15:22, 23).
Realizing wherein we can fan, we need to use great caution "lest we fall." "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God" (1 Pet. 4:11).
TRUTH MAGAZINE XIV; 36, p. 3
July 23, 1970