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God had commanded the man saying “… of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die”
(Gen 2:16, 17).
For as long as Adam and Eve obeyed this instruction, they were shielded from the knowledge of evil- they were uninformed about the taste of sin, or the color of iniquity. On the other hand, as soon as they tasted of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, in violation of God’s commandment, they became knowledgeable of spiritual things. In other words, they became ignorant and thus spiritually blind and carnally conscious. This ignorance was demonstrated in five ways.
(a) Eve and later Adam, saw the tree which God said would surely lead to death if eaten, as “good for food”. They perceived that the evil tree was pleasant to the eyes and that it was desirable for wisdom (Gen 3:6).
(b) They had their eyes opened to the things of evil and closed to the things of God.
(c) They tried to help themselves overcome their sin by sewing fig leaves which they used as aprons.
(d) They hid themselves when they heard the voice of God, as if they could hide from the presence of God; and
(e) They tried to pass the buck for their mistakes.
In their actions, we can deduce five characteristics of ignorance which have deadly consequences.
• Deficiency in the knowledge of what is good, pleasant or desirable to make one wise.
• The unbridled quest for evil insights or the desire to have one’s eyes opened, to behold and practice evil rather than good.
• The unenlightened attempt at self-help, rather than the quest for divine help.
• The unhelpful desire to hide one’s actions or thoughts from the presence of a God that is ever present and
• The unrepentant action of shifting blame whereas all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.
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Every ignorant thought or action would have at least one or two of these characteristics; but the thing to note is that all leads to deadly consequences. In spiritual things it is not only a sin but an issue of great concern to God. The word of God reveals this in Lev 4:1-3.
And the Lord spake to Moses, saying, speak unto the children of Israel, saying; If a soul shall sin through ignorance against any of the commandments of the Lord concerning things which ought not to be done, and shall do against any of them: If the priest that is anointed do sin according to the sin of the people; then let him bring for his sin, which he hath sinned, a young bullock without blemish unto the Lord for a sin offering.
This is God’s Word to the covenant people of Israel. As precious and close as they were to Him, He still demanded that they should be knowledgeable; which is an indication that ignorance is not an excuse before God. In verses 13 and 14 of the same passage, God said to Israel:
And if the whole congregation of Israel sin through ignorance, and the thing be hid from the assembly, and they have done somewhat against any of the commandments of the Lord concerning things which should not be done, and are guilty; When the sin, which they have sinned against it, is known, then the congregation shall offer a young bullock for the sin, and bring him before the tabernacle of the congregation.
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These verses have direct implications. It could be put this way, if the whole world were ignorant of the Word of God and thus transgressed any of God’s commandments, all mankind is guilty before Him. Hence, Adam’s ignorance and sin caused God to declare in Rom 3:23 that....
ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God.
Leviticus 4, verse 22 says, “When a ruler hath sinned, and done somewhat through ignorance against any of the commandments of the LORD his God concerning things you which should not be done, and is guilty”. You can see that the leader is not spared either. If a leader of God’s people sins through ignorance, he is pronounced guilty.
Summing up these verses, it is very clear how God views ignorance. He regards it as a sin. The sinner who sins through ignorance is punished, despite the fact that the sin was committed through ignorance. Ignorance therefore, can be summarized as a state of lack of knowledge of the will and mind of God concerning the things He has freely given to us. Being ignorant also is a state of knowing little or nothing about the will of God for one’s life. It is a “want” of knowledge, being unaware of the promises and benefits that are contained in God’s word for the believer. To be ignorant is to be in a state of mental barrenness and bankruptcy. Not to know the blessings and privileges God has for you as a result of ignorance or lack of knowledge is a level of madness and spiritual death. Ignorance is a great disease and indeed a killer. It is a disease that must be cured- an evil stem that must be cut off.
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