What are Ignorant Sins? Are We Held Accountable?
One definition of ignorance is “lacking knowledge or awareness in general; uneducated or unsophisticated.” Another word (synonym – yes, you’re getting an English lesson today) is stupid. The Bible is clear: “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.” (Proverbs 12:1) Don’t you love the Bible? But, if it’s ignorant, don’t we get a pass? Let’s see:
- Leviticus 5:17 – “If anyone sins and does what is forbidden in any of the LORD’s commands, even though they do not know it, they are guilty and will be held responsible.
- Hosea 4:6 – “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”
- Ephesians 4:18 – “They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.”
- Matthew 12:36 – “But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.”
- Revelation 12:20 – “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.”
Are We REALLY That Bad?
Yes…Yes we are. Any ONE sin of ours, ignorant or not, condemns us to death. “The wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23) And there is nothing we can do about it on our own. We used to have to sacrifice every day or every year for all our sins, but “it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” (Hebrews 10 – just go ahead and read the whole thing) We are all sinners. #sorrynotsorry – it’s the truth. Straight up. Here’s proof:
- Psalm 51:5 – “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.”
- Romans 3:10-12 – “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understand, there is none that seek after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that does good, no, not one.”
- Romans 3:23 – “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
- Ephesians 2:3 – “Among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.”
- 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 – “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”
Does God Forgive Ignorant Sins?
YES! God is ever merciful. He knows we have a penchant for sin and a propensity for ignorance. Would He be so cruel as to not make a way for us in our ignorance and great folly? Let’s see:
- 1 Timothy 1:13 – “Though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief,”
- Luke 23:34 – “And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments.”
- Acts 17:30 – “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent,”
- 1 John 1:9 – “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
- 1 John 2:1 – “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father-Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.”
What Then Should We Do? How Do We Pray?
The Psalms are great for finding good ways to repent. Sometimes it’s hard to think of how to say what you know you should say. You don’t have to use these, btw, you can literally just say, “God, I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Help me be better.” Super easy. The key is sincerity, though. Note: If you’re not there yet with sincerity, do it anyway. You’re learning to make a habit out of repenting. Do it daily. But if you need something a little more, David and Jesus give us great examples of prayer:
- Psalm 19:14 – “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”
- Psalm 51:9-12 – “Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean wash me, and I will be whiter than snow…Create in me a clean heart, O God, Renew a loyal spirit within me. Do not banish me from Your presence, and don’t take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and make me willing to obey You.”
- Matthew 6:9-14 – “Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, Amen.”
What’s great is we know we are forgiven and cleansed when we truly repent. His grace is unfathomable. We know that God is faithful, even when we are unfaithful, for He cannot deny Himself. (2 Timothy 2:13) All we need to do is ask – “Until now, you haven’t asked anything in My name. Ask and you shall receive, and your joy will be complete.” – John 16:24
Take some time today and repent for ignorant sins, presumptuous sins, and ask God to help you remember sins you may have forgotten. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you those ignorant sins and to convict you of sin in the future. Read Psalm 32. Be willing to accept reproof – discipline. Otherwise, you’re just “IGNORANT,” or…as the Bible says, “STUPID.” <><