Saturday, December 10, 2011

Alienated Through Ignorance

“Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.” (Eph. 4:18)

Ignorance is not bliss; nor is it excusable. It is not the same as being unaware or a victim of the unknown. The first part of the word tells us why this is true: Ignorance is the result of ignoring, and ignoring assumes something that can be seen or known.

Under the Mosaic Law, there were offenses referred to as sins of ignorance, but they required a sacrifice just like premeditated sins (Lev. 4-5; Num. 15). I am aware that Paul told the pseudo-philosophers on Mars Hill (Acts 17) that God may temporarily “wink” at ignorance, but the rest of the verse goes on to say, “…but now [He] commandeth all men everywhere to repent.” Ignorance is not a handicap to lament; it is a sin to be repented of. The verse in Ephesians makes it clear that at some point it goes from being a head problem to a heart problem.

This is not to be taken lightly. Ignorance alienates us from “the life of God.” The abundant Christian life promised in John 10:10 is only a reality to those who are paying attention. People who ignore ample provision should not expect to be provided for. God has afforded us with everything we need to maneuver the bumps, curves, and pitfalls of this life; but if we ignore that provision (the Word of God, the indwelling Spirit of God, fellowship with other believers, etc.) we should not be surprised if we suffer numerous “fender-benders.”

We need to sit up and take notice, look at this old world clear-eyed and alert. If we are alienated from a life filled with God, it is not because of weakness, but because of ignorance…willful ignorance. And as Paul so often said: “Brethren, I would not have you to be ignorant…."

“Involuntary ignorance is not charged against you as a fault; but your fault is this: you neglect to inquire into the things you are ignorant of.” ~ Augustine

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