The Sin of Presumption: A Plain Word Exploration for Everyday Faith


Presumption is like walking on thin ice, thinking you won’t fall through. It’s the sin of taking God’s love and mercy for granted. It’s basically telling God, “Don’t worry, I got this,” but forgetting that we don’t really “got this” without Him. In this article, we’ll dig deep into what the sin of presumption means, why it’s dangerous, and how we can avoid it.

What is the Sin of Presumption?

The sin of presumption happens when we either assume that we can handle our own salvation without God’s help, or think that God will forgive us no matter what, without any effort to change on our part. It’s like saying, “God will save me, so I can do whatever I want.”

Scriptural Context

The Bible talks about presumption in various places. For example, in the book of Numbers, the Israelites decide to go to battle without the Lord’s guidance and suffer defeat (Numbers 14:44-45). They presumed God was with them when He wasn’t, leading to bad outcomes.

Catechism’s Take

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) is pretty clear about it too. It says presumption is “hoping to obtain his forgiveness without conversion and glory without merit” (CCC 2092). Basically, the Church tells us not to be cheeky and assume we can pull a fast one on God.

Why is Presumption Dangerous?

Presumption is dangerous for a bunch of reasons. Let’s take a look at a couple of key ones.

It Distorts God’s Nature

When we’re presumptuous, we’re not seeing God as He really is. God is loving, yes, but He is also just. The Bible reminds us that God “will render to each one according to his works” (Romans 2:6). By presuming God’s mercy without acknowledging His justice, we get an incomplete picture of who He is.

It Makes Us Lazy in Our Faith

Presumption can also make us lazy. If we think we’re saved no matter what, then what’s the point of prayer, attending Mass, or doing good deeds? The Apostle Paul warns us to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). That doesn’t sound like someone who thinks we can sit back and relax.

How to Avoid the Sin of Presumption

So, how can we stay clear of this slippery slope?


Firstly, we need to check ourselves. Take some time for self-examination. Are you taking your faith for granted? Do you think you’re good enough on your own, or that God will automatically forgive you no matter what? Ask yourself these tough questions.

Strengthening Our Faith

Strengthen your faith through prayer, sacraments, and good deeds. James, the Apostle, tells us that “faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:17). We can’t just say we have faith and do nothing about it. We have to act on it.

Confession and Repentance

If you find yourself leaning towards presumption, go to confession. The act of confession is a powerful way to humble ourselves and remember that we need God’s grace. As the Catechism says, “The sacrament of Reconciliation with God brings about a true ‘spiritual resurrection,’ restoration of the dignity and blessings of the life of the children of God” (CCC 1468).

Rely on God’s Grace, Not Just Mercy

God’s grace isn’t just about forgiving our sins; it’s also about helping us to live better lives. Saint Paul tells us, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). So, rely on God’s grace to strengthen you against presumption.


Presumption is a tricky and dangerous sin. It messes with our understanding of God and makes us slack off in our faith. But the good news is that we can avoid it through self-examination, strengthening our faith, and relying on God’s grace.

So, let’s keep our faith grounded, not take God’s love for granted, and remember that we need Him every step of the way. As Jesus Himself said, “Without me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Amen to that.

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Note: While content aims to align with Catholic teachings, any inconsistencies or errors are unintended. For precise understanding, always refer to authoritative sources like the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Always double-check any quotes for word-for-word accuracy with the Bible or the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

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