“God overlooks it as long as you don’t know any better — but that time is past. The unknown is now known, and he’s calling for a radical life-change.
(from THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved.)
Many fail to understand that God has mercy on our ignorance. Paul knew this from firsthand experience:
1 Ti 1:13
Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. KJV
Ignorance of something is understandable–for a while. In our laws, we are told that “ignorance is no excuse.” That is absolutely true.
There is a difference between an ‘excuse’ and a ‘reason.’ A reason explains why something happened. An excuse is necessary in order to avoid the consequences of that event.
Therefore, ignorance may be the reason, but it will not excuse you rom the consequences.
Take, for instance, our current modern problem of distractedness while driving. Multitudes of people are ignorant of the fact that a human being is only capable of one emotional focus at a time. That ignorance causes them to think that they can do many things at once.
They truly believe that they can drive a car while talking on the phone, smoking a cigarette, drinking a soda, and trying to change the radio station. Those actions will one day have consequences of a wreck.
Ignorance will be the reason they were doing all those things at once, but will that excuse them from the consequences of the bent fender?
So it is with God.
We might be able to claim ignorance for a season, and as a reason; but it will not be an excuse when we stand before Him who knows the heart.
The verse under our consideration says that the days of claiming ignorance are over with. We now know.
My heart is burdened for the Church in this condition of ignorance. I know the verse speaks to the lost who need to know the Lord; and I am concerned for them. But, the Body of Christ is also trying to function in a great time of ignorance, and it is costing us dearly.
Hosea 4:6 says that “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge.” That lack of knowledge is called ignorance. Ignorance is no longer something that the Lord will wink at. We can no longer claim to be ignorant.
What if we truly don’t know? How will that affect our walk with God? How long can we continue to claim ignorance?