We are all ignorant! Ignorance simply means a lack of knowledge. Since none of us possess all knowledge, we must admit that we have a lack of some knowledge, thus we are all ignorant of at least some things. Most of our ignorance is not a real problem. For instance, we may be ignorant concerning the life and habits of some insect that has already become extinct. It really matters not that we are ignorant concerning this. However, there are some things that to be ignorant concerning them is to be at great risk of harm in some way. It would be wise to abstain from playing around with snakes if one is ignorant of which are poisonous and which are not. The cure for ignorance is knowledge. The one area where ignorance is the most dangerous is that of religion.
The apostle Paul said of his fellow Israelites, “For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God” (Rom. 10:2-3). The end result of their ignorance would be the loss of their eternal souls. Paul desired that they would be saved (Rom. 10:1), which indicates they were lost. There are several points that need to be understood concerning these ignorant people. First, it is important to note that no matter how much Paul desired from the heart that they be saved, salvation was not possible so long as they continued in their ignorance. Paul had earlier stated, “For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh” (Rom. 9:3). Their service to God was nothing more than their own view of what God required, rather than what God required and there was no amount of desire on Paul’s part that could change their lost state. A second important thing to note concerning these people is that their zeal could not save them. An inspired apostle of Jesus Christ bore record for them that they had zeal, but theirs was a misplaced zeal. It was based on ignorance rather than knowledge. It is a fact that those who would serve God are to be zealous (Tit. 2:14; Rev. 3:19), yet no amount of zeal will replace obedience to what God has actually commanded and one cannot obey God’s commands while ignorant of those commands.
The point we wish to emphasize in the remainder of this article is that of willful ignorance. We live in a society in which multitudes have filled their head with knowledge, but not knowledge that is needed for the more important things of life and eternity. Many are those who can name all the contestants on the American Idol television program, but can’t name their U.S. Senators. People can name the professional ball teams, many of the players on each team and all kind of statistics for them and yet they do not know the proper foods that they should eat in order to stay healthy. And certainly multitudes with their heads full of such useless knowledge have to look to the index of their Bible in order to find where various books are found. The reason these three examples are true is because the people under consideration have chosen to fill their heads with that which is in their heads and chosen to ignore gaining the knowledge for those more important issues. Paul’s fellow Jews were ignorant of God’s righteousness because they chose to not learn God’s righteousness. Jesus had told the Jews a number of years earlier, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39). The Old Testament is full of information concerning the salvation that is available in Christ Jesus. Soon after the birth of Christianity, persecution forced many to flee Jerusalem and be scattered around the country. Luke records, “Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word” (Acts 8:4). By the time Paul wrote the letter to the Colossians around A.D. 60, he was able to say, “which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister” (Col. 1:23).
Today, we have the entire Bible, both the Old and the New Testaments in written form in our own language, readily available, economically priced and already in most homes. These writings are the inspired word of God and are “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (II Tim. 3:16-17). Amos prophesied, “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord” (Amos 8:11). Our land is certainly suffering from such a famine at this present time, and it is certainly uncalled for. The most dangerous thing one can do is to take chances with their eternal soul. To trust in others of whom there is no guarantee that the “knowledge” they impart is truly God’s word is one of the easiest ways to take chances with your soul. Study lest you be willfully ignorant of God’s word.
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