By: Stephen Kuntzman
Heb. 13:17, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”
Deut. 17:8 & 13, “If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, being matters of controversy within thy gates: then shalt thou arise, and get thee up into the place which the LORD thy God shall choose;.... And all the people shall hear, and fear, and do no more presumptuously.”
Num. 15:30, “But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people.”
It is a dangerous thing to sin against God presumptuously. Presumption, as a sin, stems from pride, insolence, and arrogance. It is total rebellion against God and His appointed leaders.
The above scriptures offer us a glimpse of the predicament of those who sin willingly against God. Presumption is the idea that “I know more about how to do this than God and so I’ll do it my way,” or “I don’t care what God (or the man of God) says, I’m going to do this my way.”
Therefore, Presumption can be partially defined as arrogance and rebellion against God.
Moses was writing that it would be better to sin through ignorance than to sin willfully against God. The reason for this is that a person who sins willfully will be cut off from God and the people of God, which implies that the presumptuous sinner will have to live with the results of his sin no matter how often he tries to repent. The sin might be forgiven but the effect will continue because the sin was accomplished through rebellion and forethought. It was done presumptuously.
It might even be said that the person who sins presumptuously reproaches God to the point of committing blasphemy and thus his soul is cut off from salvation because of his blasphemous behavior. This is why it is necessary for the people to “hear, and fear.” They need to know that presumption will not be countenanced.
Peter identifies two traits that accompany the sin of presumption: "...them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled..." (2 Peter 2:10).
Christians who willingly sin are bringing a reproach against God and His Church. This is dangerous business because God “will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever.” (Ps. 103:9)
While God’s grace and mercy might allow some latitude for those who are weak or need to grow in the grace of God it is a mockery to think that God will allow presumption indefinitely.
The New Testament speaks of the responsibility of the leaders that God places over us. These individuals are given a job that has eternal consequences for the saint. We must be careful to obey the man or woman that God has placed over us to protect us from the enemy of our soul. Paul knew what it was like to have to share a sad tale of men who willingly sin against God and bring reproach upon the name of Christ. He also knew the eternal effect of such behavior and wanted to warn against such eternal damnation.
Presumption is a dangerous thing and we must make certain that all actions are done in accordance with God’s plan and not our own insolent prideful rebellion. This is why the commandment reads, “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain” (Ex. 20:7).
The very idea of doing something in the name of God without having the authority to do so is presumption. The scriptures are clear concerning the fate of presumptuous sinners. Men like king Saul, king Uzziah, and Uzza were guilty of different aspects of the sin of presumption and each was punished for their sin.
Even those who speak as the prophets of the LORD should be careful that they don't sin after this fashion: "When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him" (Deut. 18:22).
This is especially important for us to understand in our day when the manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit are claimed by so many. John was wise in his advice to "believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1).
Remember Joab, at the end of his life he attempts to escape judgment and death by grabbing hold of the horns of the altar, but Solomon commanded his death. This may bother us when we consider the mercy of God, but Solomon had a responsibility to be obedient to the Word of God, which states, "But if a man come presumptuously upon his neighbour, to slay him with guile; thou shalt take him from mine altar, that he may die" (Deut. 18:22). Joab was certainly in violation of the Law because he sinned presumptuously in the murders of Abner and Absalom.
The New Testament is viewed by many as the dawning of an age of unmerited favor and mercy, but ask those two presumptuous sinners -- Ananias and Sapphira -- about their experience (Acts 5:1-11).
Earlier, it was mentioned that presumption runs pretty close to blasphemy. The reason for this is that the KJV records the psalmist's following words, "Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression" (Ps. 19:13).
I echo his prayer, "God, keep us all from presumptuous sins."