I found it interesting while reading through the Old Testament law that the commands that God gave His people He expected them to keep. Ignorance of the law was not an excuse. As soon as the person who had broken the law found out about it, he wasn’t given a freebie and told, “Since you didn’t know the law, it’s okay this time, but next time do better.” Instead, once the person found out that he had broken the law, he was required to make atonement for his transgression. I found that principle interesting. Though he acted in ignorance, he was still a transgressor who had to make atonement. Ignorance of God’s law was not an excuse from keeping it.
I pondered this principle for quite some time, thinking of the state of the church. There are so many people who profess to be Christians and yet, they don’t know God’s Word. They don’t study it. They are ignorant of what it says. One night while studying the Bible with my husband, I stumbled across something else that Christ said that seemed to further demonstrate this theme. In Luke 12, Christ tells His disciples a parable about a master returning to home to his servants from a wedding banquet, telling them to watch and be ready for their master’s return.
“The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the menservants and maidservants and to eat and drink and get drunk. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers. That servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Luke 12:42-18
So 3 types of servants are briefly mentioned here:
- The servant who knows and does his master’s will.
- The servant who abuses his master’s absence and mistreats his fellow servants and becomes a drunkard.
- The servant who does not know his master’s will and in ignorance does “things deserving punishment.”
Notice the fates of these servants:
- The servant who knew and did his master’s will was rewarded.
- The servant who knew and did not do his master’s will was severely punished.
- The servant who did not know his master’s will and did not do it was also punished, albeit, lightly.
So that brings us back to main point of this post: ignorance is not an excuse. Those ignorant of God’s Word will be punished still.
God expects us, His servants, to know His will and requirements by studying His Word. Saying to God “but I didn’t know” when we have access to the Scriptures is completely inexcusable.
Let us study His Word so that we may do His will and be ready for the Master’s return!