1) The Bible deals with ignorance: Some people don¡¯t want to see a doctor because they don¡¯t want to know if something is wrong in their bodies. Some Christians don¡¯t want to go to church because they don¡¯t want to know if something is wrong in their spiritual condition. But ignorance of our body doesn¡¯t make us healthy; ignorance of our spiritual condition doesn¡¯t make us innocent. Modern law originated from the idea that ignorance of the law doesn¡¯t excuse anyone. The concept of ignorance doesn¡¯t equal to innocence is from the Bible. God established laws that even unintentional sin still required a sacrifice for forgiveness. This applies to all God¡¯s people. (Leviticus 4:1-35)
2) The Bible deals with innocence: Apostle Paul addressed the issue of ignorance or lack of understanding of God¡¯s law. When people are ignorant of God¡¯s law, they made their own law to make them feel innocent. When we ignore the requirement God intends for us to follow and live on our own standards of right and wrong, we might feel good about ourselves but that doesn¡¯t make us righteous before God. We need to know what does God require of us and follow His instruction only then we truly know our spiritual health condition. So ignorant of our spiritual life condition doesn¡¯t make us innocent before God.
WHY ARE WE SPIRITUALLY IGNORANT?
1) Natural hearts can¡¯t understand: ¡°Although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor give thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their hearts were darkened.¡± (Romans 1:21) By nature, human hearts cannot understand God or anything about God. This is like animals cannot understand human and human thoughts, words and reasons. Human nature cannot understand things of spiritual nature. Many things we do as Christians, the value and principles we hold, non-Christians can never understand because they are not from the same life nature as we have from God.
2) Lacking the spiritual power: ¡°The man without the spirit does not accept the things that come from the spirit of God, for they are foolish to him and he cannot understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things.¡± (1 Corinth 2:14-15) This is about the different level of spiritual capacity that enables spiritual people to know spiritual things. Many Christians with little or no spiritual power and wisdom cannot understand spiritual values and principles deem so important to those who are spiritually mature. Even they are in the same church, but they are on different spiritual level. To those who lack spiritual power, they are spiritual ignorant to spiritual values and principles.
3) Unwilling to pay the price: ¡°Endure hardship like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets tangled up with worldly concerns. He wants to please his commander.¡± (2 Tim 2:3-4) We need to pay the price to be spiritually strong like Paul and others throughout the 2,000 years of Christian history. If we allow ourselves to get tangled by matters of this world, if we are unwilling to focus on spiritual growth, neglecting our duties as soldiers for the Lord, we won¡¯t have the spiritual insight under-standing of spiritual truth, values and principles. Too many so called Christians get all tangled up with worldly matters. They are unwilling to take time to pursue God and matters that are important to spiritual growth. These people are not just spiritual ignorant, they are spiritually blind. There is no desire in their mind and empty in their hearts for spiritual pursuit.
4) Ignorant of work of the Satan: ¡°When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, Satan comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart.¡± (Matt 13:19) Some ignorant Christians don¡¯t know or don¡¯t care if Satan is working in the hearts. They allow Satan to take a foothold in the life that prevents the spiritual seeds to take root and grow in them. These people never have time to listen to God¡¯s word, never have time to communicate with God through prayers, never have hearts to allow God to take the rightful seat in their life. Instead they allow Satan to occupy their mind and their life. Whatever they may hear, learn of God and godly matters in worship or Bible classes, Satan will snatch that away. So, they are left ignorant.
THE DANGERS OF SPIRITUAL IGNORANCE: Being spiritual ignorant is not a small thing. It is the root of many dangers that will follow in our life to hurt us. Never ignore the dangerous effect of spiritual ignorance.
1) They may risk losing eternal life: ¡°You don¡¯t have His word living in you because you don¡¯t believe the one He sent. (John 5:38-39) Being spiritually ignorant may block people from getting to know Jesus Christ, the God ordained path to eternal life. Many people don¡¯t take spiritual ignorance seriously not knowing that they may risk the opportunity to know the Savior God sent to save their souls. Jesus said, ¡°What good is it for a man to gain the whole world and yet to lose or forfeit his very soul? Or what can a man give in exchange of his soul?¡± (Mark 8:36-37) No one knows how many men had lost their souls in pursuit to gain the world because they thought gaining the world is more important than saving their souls.
2) They may pursue the wrong path: ¡°Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction and many enter through. But small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life. And only a few find it¡± (Matthew 7:13-14) This is another danger of being spiritually ignorance: People are spiritually blind to choose the wrong gate and wrong road for their life and they will suffer the consequences of their spiritual ignorance. Destruction may mean more than their eternal life; it may also mean destruction of their earthly life: the pain, suffering, burdens, grief as results of their wrong choices because of their spiritual ignorance.
3) They may lose the peace in their mind: ¡°This is what the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.¡± (Isaiah 30:15) These were the words God sent to Israel through Isaiah during the time of their national turmoil. These words are as important to us today: If we are spiritually ignorant or blind, we may lose the peace and strength in our life. How often we want to fight our own battles of life, we want to build our own empire, our own success, but ignore the source of power and strength is from the Lord.
4) They may lose the blessing of God: ¡°The Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him.¡± (Isaiah 30:18) When we are struggling on our own efforts to manage our life, trying to make things work for us our way. When we are so ignorant of God¡¯s promise of blessing. When we are not in condition to receive anything from him but God is waiting to show his mercy when we truly believe in him. When we see the best way is to let him manage our life and be obedient to follow his path. God will wait while we are busy doing our life our way. He is waiting for us to see his way and trust his lead and obey his command. Our God is never a stingy God. He wants to pour out his blessing on us as soon as we have the spiritual insight to do so.
STEPS TO SPIRITUAL MATURITY: (Hebrews 5:11-14)
1) Recognize your problem: ¡°We have much to say about this but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn.¡± (5:11) Paul was talking about the cause of spiritual problem some Hebrew believers had: they are slow to learn, dull to understand. This is the first step we need to know: we have a spiritual problem: dull in our spiritual learning. Most baby Christians are spiritually ignorant because they are dull or slow to learn the Bible. They have low interest about God and spiritual matters. If you don¡¯t know you are sick, you will never get well. If you are not aware of your spiritual dull condition, you won¡¯t gear up to improve your condition. Look inside of you and you will see how hollow you are in your spiritual condition.
2) Recognize your recession: ¡°In fact though by this time you ought to be teachers, but still need someone to teach you the basic truths of God¡¯s word all over again.¡± (5:12) Paul was not talking to brand new Christians but to those who had been Christians for many years. They suppose to be mature to be teachers, but they are still lacking the basics of God¡¯s word. From their secular views of life to their fruitless life style, the laziness in learning God¡¯s word through worship and Bible study, they are babies in spiritual condition. Instead of progress and growth, they have a spiritual recession problem, getting cold and hardened in hearts.
3) Recognize your opportunity: ¡°Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not taught with the teaching of righteousness,¡± (5:13) One of the problems of the spiritual ignorant is they don¡¯t seize the opportunity to learn, to grow, to get stronger and be useful for the Lord. We have many opportunities of learning and growing for these people: Biblical preaching and Bible classes on Sundays, discipleship training on Friday night, other classes and prayer meetings during weekdays. All these opportunities are available to you only if you will take advantage of them.
4) Recognize your potential: ¡°But solid food is for the mature who by constant use have trained themselves to discern good from evil.¡± (5:14) Spiritual maturity is a growing process. There is no time limit to start learning and growing. All you need to do is to recognize that you have a spiritual ignorance problem, you are in a spiritual recession and you need to seize the opportunity to learn and grow to come back. Everyone has the equal potential to grow stronger, to be more fruitful and useful for God, to have a life that is full of energy, purpose and dynamics. Start it today.
APPLICATION OF TRUTH:
1) Spiritual ignorance is dangerous: Just as physical ignorance is dangerous to bodily health, spiritual ignorance is dangerous to spiritual health. The worst scenario of physical ignorance is untimely physical death, but spiritual ignorance is more dangerous because it causes spiritual eternal death. So, please take spiritual ignorance more seriously than you want to. It is your usefulness to God and his work in this life and your glorious reward in heaven as Paul said in Phil 3:14 and 2 Timothy 4:7-9. What we do or not do in this life affects what we receive or not receive in heaven when we see our Lord Jesus Christ. Don¡¯t take your spiritual ignorance lightly. It is your ultimate value as a person now and in eternity.
2) Never too late to catch up: As Jesus said, ¡°So the last will be first, and the first will be last.¡± (Matthew 20:16) In terms of spiritual growth, length of time is not the essence, the degrees of growth is. The number of years as a Christians or the member of years in a church doesn¡¯t mean much to spiritual maturity. It is the degree of spiritual power and energy in doing God¡¯s work that counts. So, it is never too late to start it again today. Get to know your spiritual condition, see the real problem and ask God to help you overcome obstacles to make a commitment to start participating, learning, engaging in service and make the best of your life now.