By Paul W. Hoffmaster
Ignorance to Scriptural teachings will not justify one’s lack of obedience. Every Believer has the responsibility to search and accept Biblical truths. So many accept the foundational truths, but fail to build upon them. Jesus is Savior, but He is also Lord! To set parameters to our spiritual growth is to fail to understand the breadth, length, depth, and height of the Grace of God. (Ephesians 3:16-21). So much of our beliefs are based on introductory or elementary “schooling.” Inundated with the basics of the Christian life style are recess, lunch, gym, and field trips with supervision. Very little “homework” is issued.
Christian leaders seem to center their emphasis on one message a week, followed by unsupervised “free time” where their “sheep” are free to pursue whatever agendas they want. Being a substitute high school teacher, I have found a growing number of students that just want to get by with the least amount of effort. Sadly, I have also been witness to the same type of attitude with Christians. They want just enough “religion” to get them through the pearly gates. Eternal Life begins in the here and now. Jesus proclaimed that He came that we might have life and “have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10). Our earthly existence is a prelude to our Heavenly home. Yet, Christians sing their songs that depict a life long journey of heartache and sorrow. Certain hymns cry out with lyrics depicting a weary, worn, and tired Christian that can barely hold on to the end. What we sing in communal worship usually depicts where we are spiritually. It is time for the Believers to start proclaiming the joy of Christian living.
One of Peter’s early sermons in Jerusalem was addressed to those who were part of a mob mentality that believed a murderer should be freed instead of Jesus. They followed the “media” and believed the” fake news” that Jesus violated Jewish Laws and should be crucified. Peter acknowledged that it was through ignorance that they did it, but it was no excuse for their behavior. He called upon them to repent of their actions so their sins would be forgiven them. (Acts 3:17-19).
If the Jews had only understood the Prophets, they would not have made such a volatile mistake. Christians cannot claim ignorance when they have failed to find what is beyond the basics of the Faith. The Word is there for our learning. The Bible is not an elective, but a mandatory collection of books that instructs us in the principles of life. It is a collection of God’s compassionate authority over His creation. It is a must read for every Believer. There will be a final exam in which God will ask the ultimate question of what we have done with our relationship with Jesus. It is more than claiming faithful attendance in church. It is more than boasting of how much of God’s money we gave back to Him. It is more than being part of the “worship team.” It is more than holding a position of authority within the local body of Believers. We all have our self displayed credentials, but if what we have to offer falls short of what is expected of us, we will have a lot of explaining to do when we stand before Him.
Ignorance cannot be pleaded when we have access to the Word of God. We can attend all the lectures by spiritual shepherds, but we are also required to do our homework. We are to study to show ourselves approved before God, one who knows how to rightly divide the Word of God through understanding. (II Timothy 2:15). Let us encourage each other to do our homework, and if someone is having a hard time understanding the assignment, let us help one another, for we all want to graduate.
Paul Hoffman has been in the active Ministry for 46 years. BA Degree from Detroit Institute of Technology. Master of Divinity degree from Methesco Seminary. Served in Pastoral Ministry for 35 years in three major Denominations; United Methodist Church, Christian & Missionary Alliance and Assemblies of God.Spent over 20 years in both a Radio Ministry and as well as a Newspaper Columnist. Presently living in Indiana.