In Psalm 19:13 we find an interesting, if not thought provoking, adjective of sin – “presumptuous sin.” The Psalmist is praying and asking God to keep him back or hold him back from presumptuous sin. He expands that thought asking God to not let presumptuous sins dominate or rule over him.
Webster defines “presumption” as “an overstepping of proper bounds, forwardness, the taking of something for granted.” He defines “presumptuous” as “too bold or forward, showing overconfidence.” The NIV Bible Translation of Psalm 19:13 is clearer, “Keep your servant also from willful sins; May they not rule over me.”
The literal Bible definition of sin is “Missing the Mark”. Think of an archer aiming his arrow at the bull’s eye of a target and missing. Sin is falling short of what God requires of us. Some preachers refuse to use the word sin. Others believe that it is politically incorrect to speak of sin. When did the spiritual teaching of God’s Word become political?
There are deliberate attempts to soften the sound of the word, to tone it down, rephrase it or substitute the word sin by calling it “mistake, error, fault, or misdeed. A popular song by Barbara Streisand “Lessons to be Learned,” is a prime example. The song says, “There are no mistakes just lessons to be learned….” Let your heartbeat be your guide,” “You hold the answer in your hand.” All of this philosophy is pure humanism with no need for God or repentance. No sin! No acknowledgment of violating God’s laws. Just excuse yourself, pick yourself up by your own bootstraps, save yourself and move on.
All Christians need to ask God to keep them from sin, and specifically willful sin. Even the best Christians are subject to stumbling in sin. That is why our Lord’s Prayer includes the request, “Lead us not into temptation.” It is why Jude concluded his letter with the Doxology, “To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy.” (Jude 24)
The Psalmist was right to ask God to keep him from being presumptuous, from overstepping his bounds, for taking for granted that it is ok to sin and disobey God, to willfully sin. God’s Word is clear, “Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17). “So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.” (Romans 14:12)
In His Love,