That’s not us, is it ?
Or is that you in the white shirt? Or maybe that’s you in the high heels? Are we sometimes guilty of being “Willfully Ignorant”? Are we sometimes unaware of, or unwilling to believe, what the bible plainly states? God says some people ARE willfully ignorant.
Did you know that we are living in the “last days”? The writer of the book of Hebrews said, in Heb 1:2, “In these last days, He (God) has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world!” And no, I’m not changing the subject. But we are in the last days! So here’s what God said about the “last days”, and about being “willfully ignorant”..
2 Peter chapter 3, verses 3-4.. “Know this first of all, that in the last days, MOCKERS will come with their mocking, following after their OWN lusts, and saying: Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, ALL continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”
Where’s the promise of His coming? Jesus said He was going to come again, right? He ASSURED us that He was coming again! Listen to John 14:1-3..
“Let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in Me”. You see what He’s saying? Believe in Me.. I’m giving you My promise here. “In my Father’s house are many dwelling places, if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you”.
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto Myself, that where I am, you may be also.”
Have FAITH.. right? That’s what He’s saying. “I will come again!” But where is he? All continues just as it was from the beginning of creation. Nothing’s any different.. 2,000 years later, and where’s the promise of His coming?
But you know, those mockers have always been around; people have always questioned, why hasn’t He come yet? “All continues, just as it was from the beginning of creation”. Is that the truth? Has ALL continued just as it was from the beginning of creation? I don’t think it has!
What was it like in the beginning? In the beginning of man’s existence, there was a man and there was a woman, created in the image of God, living in a garden setting, in a virtual “Eden”, in a paradise on earth. Gen 1 & 2, right? But did it continue? No, it didn’t continue, it ended didn’t it?
Then what happened? Well, then “men multiplied on the face of the earth”, Gen 6:1. And then mankind became so UN-godly.. even though they were CREATED in God’s image, they became so un-godly, that God destroyed them with a great flood, didn’t He? Gen 6 & 7. Did you know that over 1600 years went by, before the flood came? It came in approximately the 1656 th. year after creation. About 2348 BC.
I wonder if people were saying; “Everything is going just as it’s always gone”. We can do exactly as we please.. nobody can stop us.. nothing’s gonna change. Everything the same as always..
“For as in the days which were before the flood, they were eating and drinking, they were marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark. And they didn’t understand until the flood came and took them all away, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be.” Mathew 24:38-39.
That description of life sounds relatively peaceful, doesn’t it? But, we shouldn’t be ignorant about what it was really like. Even though the people in Noah’s day were doing some of the same everyday things that people always do, that didn’t make them “good people”.
Gen 6:5 tells us that, “..The wickedness of man was great on the earth, and every intent of his heart was only evil continuously !”
And Jesus said that, “..They didn’t understand, until the flood came and took them all away..”
THEY, were willfully ignorant! Tell me if this scripture was true in those days..
“The heavens are telling of the glory of God, and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.” Psalm 19:1. Was that true in those days? Is it still true today?
Tell me if this was true? “..Since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes, His eternal power, and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse” Romans 1:20. That was just as true back then wasn’t it? But yet Jesus said, “..They didn’t understand, until the flood came and took them all away”. THEN they understood. And on top of all that, Noah had been preaching to them for 120 years! What was their problem? Were their heads buried in the sand?
Is willful ignorance a problem today? There are people who claim to NOT believe the bible, when they’ve never even READ the bible! Isn’t that being willfully ignorant? But even though they’ve never read the bible, they’re still “without excuse”. At least according to God, they’re without excuse. And that’s really all that counts, isn’t it? It doesn’t matter if I think I have an excuse. And it doesn’t matter if you think you have an excuse. But what matters is, does GOD think we have an excuse!
Is there anything concerning God, or His word, that you and I are “willfully ignorant” of? I hope not. But.. do you think there ARE bible subjects.. things that obviously, God think s are important enough to include in the bible, but that WE don’t think are important, and so we decide to remain “willfully ignorant” about them? Maybe we don’t think a lot of the old testament is important enough to study. Maybe there’s even parts of the new testament that we don’t think are very important. Or maybe we feel intimidated by some subjects. But we shouldn’t be willing to be ignorant about things that take a lot of thought and a lot of study. And we shouldn’t just ‘scratch the surface” of certain subjects, and each come up with a different opinion of them, and then simply decide to “agree to disagree” about those things? Is God happy when we disagree?
Is God happy about denominationalism? Agreeing to disagree. Is that Okay, or is that just like remaining willfully ignorant about WHY we’re divided? Is it to some degree, ignorance about the very thoughts that are behind one another’s faith. The reasoning behind our faith. Faith in God is about reasoning with the Word of God.
“Come now, let us reason together says the Lord”, Isaiah 1:18.
The attitude of “agreeing to disagree” is the attitude that allows denominationalism, to very “comfortably”, remain the normal, at least in this country.
The Apostle Paul wrote..
Acts 20:27.. “For I did not shrink back from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.” I know that it’s difficult, but we need to study the “whole counsel of God” on each and every subject that we disagree on, so that we CAN understand things alike.
1 Cor 1:10.. “Now I exhort you brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and there be NO divisions among you, but you be made complete, in the same mind and in the same judgment.” I don’t know what more needs to be said about this verse, except to say that AGREEMENT and UNITY are God’s will!
2 Timothy 2:15.. “Be diligent to show yourself approved unto God, a workman who needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” The phrase “rightly dividing” is also often translated “correctly discerning” or “handling accurately”. They all mean the same thing. And the word “diligent” is often translated “study”. So it’s quite clear, that God’s desire is for us ALL to be diligent in the study of His word, so that we are able to clearly understand the meaning, and therefore rightly divide the truth, and correctly discern the meaning of that truth, and handle that truth accurately in our daily lives.
With God, disagreeing on His word, IS NOT AN OPTION that He allows us!
However, I’m afraid the brotherhood, of the body of Christ, has become, just about like a “denominational world of it’s own”. We just haven’t selected different “names” for ourselves yet. Actually some congregations have selected new names. They have officially joined the ranks of the denominations. But WE have a responsibility to God, to NOT go along with that. As much as it lies within our ability, to not allow that to happen.
Romans 12:18 commands us, “If possible, as much as it lies within you, live at peace with all men.” Does that not apply to the subject at hand, as well as to other areas of life? I believe it does!
A man from Texas told me, that down there, there’s so many congregations, if you don’t get along with one, you just drive a little farther down the road and go to another. Is that what God means by “live peaceably with all men”? Or is that being “willfully ignorant” of finding the solutions to the problems that divide us?
Am I being a “blind idealist”, or am I simply following the bible?
We call some people, and some congregations, liberal; and we call some progressive, and we call some conservative, and we call some ultra-conservative, and there’s lots of other names that we give to people and to congregations, that believe things DIFFERENTLY. But that situation, is NOT God’s will. I can assure you, He doesn’t like it!
But aren’t we all ONE in Christ? Galatians 3:28 says we are! “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave or free man, there is neither male or female, for you are all one in Christ.” We need to ACT more like we’re one in Christ.
I was conducting an adult bible study many years ago. And one of the ladies there in the class, disagreed with something that I had said. And she came to me after the study was over, and she voiced her feelings, how she felt I was in error, and she said.. “I just want to make sure we both go to heaven”.
Don’t you think that was an absolutely wonderful thing to say? It concerned this good friend and sister in Christ, and her concern was that we both understood things correctly, so that we could both go to heaven. I think about that often, and I think about how wonderful it would be, if more people thought like that. One in Christ. One purpose, one thought.. Heaven.
Here’s some other thoughts that we need to be controlled by..
“Love, and joy, and peace, and patience, and goodness, and faithfulness, and gentleness, and self-control” The fruits of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23
2 Cor 10:5 says, “..We are taking every thought into captivity, to the obedience of Christ.”
Let’s go back to 2 Peter chapter 3..
Remember the “mockers” that we read about? Remember what they said in V-4 ? “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep (died) all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”
Now listen to what God says about the mocking and the doubting, they were guilty of. V-5, in the NASB version says, “For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice..” Another rendering of that, and actually a more correct rendering of that is.. “For they are willingly ignorant of this fact..” The idea of something “escaping” their notice, is just like being “ignorant” of it.
But along with the word “ignorant”, the original text also uses the word “eth-el’-o”. And it means.. ” I wish, I desire, I intend”, or, “by my own design”. It means to do something “willingly”. It is my DESIRE to be ignorant, to NOT know the facts! I have “no intention” of knowing the truth.
Unfortunately, that’s an attitude that prevails throughout much of the world, when it comes to knowing God’s word. Remember how I said that there are people who don’t believe the bible, even though they’ve never READ the bible? Well, they have “no intention” of knowing what the bible says, so as to even be ABLE to make an intelligent judgment, as to whether or not they believe it! It’s by their “own design”, that they are ignorant! “Willfully Ignorant”.
And remember what we read in Romans 1:20 ? “For since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being UNDERSTOOD through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”
We have NO excuse for not believing the creator of the world, whose invisible attributes, and power, and nature are clearly seen, all around us. God doesn’t work by OUR time schedule, does He? You know what the “delay” in His coming means? It means we have more time, to work together, to all agree, and be of the same mind, and of the same judgment. Thank God for the time He gives us!
God said, “But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved..” Remember what “escape your notice means? It means “willfully ignorant”, beloved.. don’t be willfully ignorant of this fact! “That with the Lord, one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years, as a day”. 2 Peter 3:8.
Where’s the promise of His coming? Oh, He’s coming all right!
“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night!” You won’t know WHEN He’s coming, NO one knows! But we better be ready! “..Like a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and all it’s works will be burned up.” V-10.
V-11 asks, “Since all these things will be burned up in such a way, what sort of people ought we to be, in holy conduct and godliness?” I can tell you what sort of people we SHOULDN’T be. We shouldn’t be “willfully ignorant”!
But, here’s how we should be. God wants us to be FILLED with “love, and joy, and peace, and patience, and kindness, and goodness, and faithfulness, and gentleness, and self-control”. Galatians 5:22-23. And there’s one more thing.. He wants us to be filled with KNOWLEDGE!
“This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:4. And that word “knowledge” is also translated as “recognition”. God wants us to recognize, to discern, to rightly divide, and to handle accurately, “The Word of Truth”.
And certainly, God wants us to have the knowledge, of HOW to be saved! And there’s absolutely NO reason, why we should be ignorant, of exactly what God requires of us.. because His word tells us, plainly.
Jesus said, “If you believe NOT that I am He, you will die in your sins”. John 8:24 You MUST believe that Jesus is the Christ! Or you’ll die in your sins.
Jesus said, “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish!” Luke 13:3 and also V-5 You MUST repent of your sins! Or you’ll perish.
Jesus said, ‘If you confess Me before men, I will confess you before My Father which is in Heaven. But if you deny Me before men, I will also deny you, before My Father who is in heaven.” Mathew 10:32-33 You MUST be willing to confess His name! Or you’ll be denied.
Jesus said, “He who believes AND is baptized, shall be saved..” Mark 16:16 You MUST be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins! Or you won’t be forgiven.
Jesus said, “But the one who endures to the end, the same shall be saved.” Mathew 24:13 You MUST endure faithfully to the end! Or you won’t be saved.
Jesus said we have to do ALL those things to be saved. What do you say? Do you say.. I’m going to listen to what Jesus says! Or do you say.. I think I’ll remain “willfully ignorant”. And willfully “UN-saved”.
Let’s make it our goal to know God’s word and to believe God’s word, and to obey God’s word. “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires ALL men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:4
May God bless you in the study of His word.