Ignorance is Not Bliss

First John 2:16 lists three categories of sin: “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.” These are ways Satan tempts men to sin against God (Gen. 3; Mt. 4), but the Bible also speaks of another category of sin—sins of ignorance. Many have sinned against God in ignorance without being motivated by selfish desires of the flesh, lust of the eyes, or the pride of life. Even so, ignorance does not excuse disobedience to God, so the saying, “Ignorance is bliss” is not a Biblical concept.

Under the Law of Moses God had specific requirements for people who had sinned in ignorance to be forgiven, clearly implying that ignorance did not automatically excuse their actions or lack thereof (Lev. 4, 5; Num. 15). In the New Testament Peter told the Jews that he knew they were in ignorance when they denied Jesus and desired a murderer to be set free instead, but he still commanded them to “Repent, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:13-19; cf. 2:38). Saul of Tarsus was not motivated by selfish, sinful desires when he was persecuting the Lord’s church. After his conversion he said, “I did it ignorantly” and “in all good conscience” (1 Tim. 1:13; Acts 23:1), but ignorance was no excuse, and he still had to repent and be baptized to be forgiven (Acts 22:16). Paul later told the pagans in Athens that he knew they were worshiping in ignorance, but now God commands all men everywhere to repent, because judgment is coming, and ignorance will not be excused (Acts 17:30-31; cf. 14:16).

The Great Commission itself is proof that God wants all men to learn how to be saved through Christ, and that they will not be saved in ignorance (Mt. 28:18-20; Mk. 16:15-16). If people could be saved in ignorance, why would Christians bother traveling all over the world teaching them to repent and obey God for salvation? God has plainly stated that those who do not know Him and do not obey the Gospel will be separated from Him forever in Hell (Mt. 25:31-46; 2 Thess. 1:7-9; 1 Jn. 2:3-6). Man has a responsibility to seek God (Acts 17:27; Heb. 11:6), and those who do not believe in Him and serve Him are “without excuse” (Rom. 1:19-22; Psa. 19:1).

Sadly, there are many sincere religious people today who honestly believe they are faithfully serving God, but, like Paul before his conversion, they are mistaken and are still in their sins (Prov. 14:12; Rom. 10:1-3). In the Bible, even after people became Christians they were commanded to keep studying so as not to be led astray by false teaching in ignorance (1 Tim. 4:13-16; 2 Tim. 2:15-18; 2 Pet. 3:15-18). Let us all study diligently to make sure we are not living in sins of ignorance, and once we find and obey the Truth, let us labor tirelessly to reach and teach those who do not know God or His requirements for salvation (1 Cor. 15:58; Gal. 6:9).

One thought on “Ignorance is Not Bliss”

  1. Good Explain brother I have used to this in our local congregation brother it’s more encourageing to us may I request you pray for me and my family here Lord’s work I have much more interesting to help needy people but I don’t have good support pray for that if Lord wills visit our congregation brother

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