Ignorance Is Not Bliss!

“But I didn’t know!” Are we really better off to “turn a blind eye” 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

Having asked the question, let us look at what Jesus teaches regarding ignorance. Jesus 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 came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become 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 “foremost” 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!

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If You Were to Ask God for One Thing…

We’ve all heard the stories about a genie offering to grant wishes, and most of us have probably spent time imagining what wishes we would make. While genies are, of course, imaginary and fanciful creations of some clever minds, there is a story in the Bible about God asking a man what he wanted.
In 1 Kings 3, “the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night” (3:5). Some translations have the words of God on this occasion as a statement of instruction—“Ask what I shall give thee” (KJV); “Ask for whatever you want me to give you” (NIV). I like the way the New King James Version translates it as an exclamation, followed by a question—“Ask! What shall I give you?”
Forget the imaginary genie! This is the Almighty God! Suppose the Almighty God said to you, “Ask! What shall I give you?” For what would you ask? If the One with whom all things are possible told you to “ask for whatever you want,” what one thing would you request?
Some would ask for wealth or material possessions. Let’s face it, many are living today with their lives focused on the goods of this world, and that would, no doubt, be the one thing they asked of the Lord, if given the chance. Later in life, Solomon petitioned the Lord, “Give me neither poverty nor riches—Feed me with the food allotted to me” (Prov. 30:8). Perhaps contentment should be the request we make (Phil. 4:11; 1 Tim. 6:6-8; Heb. 13:5).
Some would ask for a long life with perfect health. Many today would love nothing more than to live as long as possible on this earth, enjoying every pleasure the world affords. While there is certainly nothing wrong with a long life on this earth, our eternal life in our eternal home should be the focus of all we do, and that should dictate how we live this temporary life in this temporary world (Phil. 3:20-21; 1 Pet. 2:11-12; Heb. 11:13-16).
When he could ask for anything, Solomon asked for wisdom to discern good from evil. Sin results when we choose evil instead of good. Shouldn’t it be of foremost importance to us to know good, to know evil and to know the difference, so that we do not choose actions, thoughts or words that would separate us from God?
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5). Ask God for wisdom!

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