Ignorance Is Not Bliss!

Is there really a blessing in not knowing? Are we better off to “tend to our own affairs” and pass through life blissfully unaware of facts and obligations that might “bother us”? Many have this selfish attitude, and some even offer scriptural “proof” (It is nice to know just enough to know one does not have to know).

Jesus’ Teaching

Let us look at Jesus’ teaching regarding ignorance. Jesus once told the Pharisees, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains” (John 9:39-41). The lesson is related to the healing of a man born blind, who had never had the capacity of sight. One mentally incapable of knowing would not be accountable, so, would have no sin.

But when Jesus said (vs. 39), “I am come into this world that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind;” he referred to (1) meek and humble people who had never had the opportunity to perceive truth (Matthew 11:25), whose eyes would now be opened; and (2) those like the Pharisees, who had the opportunity, but who refused to see. A haughty and self-righteous attitude (John 9:24-29,34) compounded their sin and blinded them to truth.

Luke 12:48 reads, “but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few.” This is the portion of the parable regarding slaves and masters when being “cut to pieces” (vs. 46) and “receive many lashes” (vs. 47) were practiced. The purpose of the parable is clearly stated in vs. 48, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be required” or, accountability goes hand in hand with opportunity (cf. Matthew 25:14-30).

The slave who failed his master was not free of guilt. He was “worthy of stripes” (Luke 12:48). As God’s creatures, pilgrims through this life, we have obligations to our Maker and fellow-travelers — to know and accept our fair responsibilities. In a real sense, the parable teaches that one who fails to use opportunities to learn truth and obey, is worthy of “many stripes” (Luke 12:47).

Paul’s Ignorance

Paul was “shown mercy,” because he “acted ignorantly in unbelief.” But 1 Timothy 1:13-15 does not equate ignorance with justification.

In 1 Timothy 1:15, Paul says he was “chief” of sinners. He just says his was no presumptuous or highhanded sin (cf. Numbers 15:27-31). His railing and persecuting was done in good conscience (Acts 23:1) in keeping with what he “thought” to be right (Acts 26:9). The mercy he obtained is available to us in the person of Christ, who died for those who will do what Paul did when he learned the truth (Acts 22:16).

Writings Of Peter

Peter writes of those who allow it to “escapes their notice” of God’s power and judgement (2 Peter 3:5). He admonishes, “do not let this one fact escape your notice” (2 Peter 3:8) for though God is long-suffering, we must all stand before His throne (2 Corinthians 5:10). Beware presumptuous ignorance! (Psalm 19:13).

Conclusion:

Finally, “if anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized” (1 Corinthians 14:38) is an admonition to cease to cast pearls before one who obstinately rejects the unified revelation of God’s Spirit (1 Corinthians 14:37; Gal. 1:12; Ephesians 3:3). “Let them alone” (Matthew 15:14). There will be no way to “ignore” eternal condemnation (cf. Revelation 6:12-17).

Brethren and friends, ignorance is not bliss!

The Majority Rules

Written by Christopher Mentzer

Introduction

When something is put to the vote; be it business or among friends, it is usually the majority rules. Even in politics the majority rules. But should it be that way in the world of religion? Should God’s people strive for the majority instead of a unanimous vote?

Send thou men…every one a ruler…

I think back to the book of Numbers when God told Moses to send men into Canaan to spy out the land (Numbers 13: 1-3). Moses chose the heads of each of the 12 tribes of Israel to see if the land was worthwhile and what kind of people dwelled there (Vs. 4-20).

Being heads of each tribe, and members of God’s people, you would think that once they spied out the land that they would be able to possess with little resistance. After all, they’d seen the power of God displayed by the ten plagues while in Egypt (Exodus 7-13).

However, these people were expert complainers! After leaving Egypt (Ex. 14: 10-12), when they came to Marah (Ex. 15: 23-24), when they entered the wilderness of Sin (Ex. 16: 1-3), and others. They had relied so much on the Egyptians to feed and care for them that they didn’t know what it was like to rely upon themselves. Being used as slave labor did not seem to matter. They had food, water, and shelter they could depend upon. But they were being cared for by God andBut the big disappointment about the Israelites was that they were being cared for by God and they couldn’t see it.

40 Days later…

After the 12 men spied out the land, they returned 40 days later; bringing with them the fruit (Num. 13: 24) of the land. They approached Moses, Aaron, and the whole congregation to give their report (vs 26-29). At first, the report seemed positive as they stated that the land flowed with milk and honey (figure of speech). Then in verse 28 it begins with ‘Nevertheless’ (KJV) which is a fancy way of saying, ‘but’. The negative side of the report took up the rest of the time as they described the inhabitants as being the Children of Anak (also referred to as the ‘Nephilim’) and walled cities.

But Caleb, one of the 12 said, “Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.” (vs. 30). However, he was silenced by the others as a negative report was given to the people (vs. 31-33). Caleb could see things differently as he knew they had God on their side. Unfortunately that wasn’t enough because the people listened to the majority instead. They held Moses and Aaron responsible and decided to choose a new captain and return to Egypt (Num. 14: 1-4). Joshua and Caleb pleaded further saying if it was God’s Will, they would be able to inhabit the land (Vs. 6-9). And God stepped in and said in verse 11, “…How long will this people despise me? and how long will they not believe in me, for all the signs which I have wrought among them?” (ASV)

The Price of listening to the majority

In the end, God spared the people who murmured against Him but charged them to wander the wilderness for the next forty years until those who were against him died off. Leaving only Joshua, Caleb, and the offspring to enter into the promise land (Vs. 28-38).

Listening to the majority is not always the right thing to do. In the religious world today the majority is almost always followed . For example: The Sinner’s Prayer is enough for Salvation, The Pope is the ultimate authority of the church on Earth, believing the bible is God’s sole source of authority is optional, and others.

God should be our sole authority (Matt. 28: 18) and it can be found in the bible (2 Tim. 3: 16-17). We can learn from the two spies who gave a good report because they supported what God wanted in the first place.

Conclusion

If someone is in the minority of the group regarding how things should be done, instead of simply saying, “Sorry, majority rules,” ask them why they stand against the group. Then find a way to convince them to change their mind or allow yourselves to change to the ones who stood alone. The decisions should be according to what God needs not what Man wants.