Leviticus 5:17 And if a soul sin, and commit any of these things which are forbidden to be done by the commandments of the LORD; though he wist it not, yet is he guilty, and shall bear his iniquity.
There is much important truth to be considered in reference to the above verse. I understand this passage in its context of the law given by God to the Hebrew nation and the offering it prescribed for the Israelite in such a case, but the principle is just as applicable to our lives in this present day, as we’ll see from the scripture. Basically, the lesson is this: IGNORANCE IS NO EXCUSE.
I understand that “sin is not imputed where there is no law” (Romans 5:13), that God looks on the heart (1 Samuel 16:7; Jeremiah 17:9-10), and that He judges every man based on the light he’s been given (Romans 1:17), but this is a different matter altogether.
If the law and commandment should have been known and could have been known, it makes no difference whether or not it actually was known; the violator stands guilty and condemned. None of us will be able to plead ignorance when we stand before God on the day of judgment, be it at the great white throne (Revelation 20:11-15) or the judgment seat of Christ (Romans 14:10; 2 Corinthians 5:10).
Hosea’s people were destroyed for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6), and many a Christian’s life has come to utter ruin or absolute naught for much the same reason.
We were created to please our Creator (Revelation 4:11). We were saved so that we might glorify our Savior (1 Corinthians 10:31). We have been forgiven of all sin so that we might live in victory over it (Galatians 1:4). We who have been accepted in the beloved ought to live acceptably in His sight (Ephesians 1:6; Psalm 19:14).
But how do we please God without knowing what pleases Him? How do we glorify God without knowing what brings Him glory? How do we live righteously before God without knowing the difference between what’s sinful and what’s holy? How can I obey His commandments if I don’t know what they are?
That’s why it’s so important that we read the Bible (Isaiah 34:16) and search the scriptures (John 5:39) and hide God’s word in our hearts (Psalm 119:11). That’s why it’s so important for us to get in on all the Bible preaching and Bible teaching and Christian fellowship that we possibly can (1 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 3:13; Hebrews 10:25).
God has given us a perfect book, His complete revelation to man for all ages, and it’s “profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
We as Christians are obligated to take full advantage of that amazing blessing. To whom much is given much is required (Luke 12:48). We’re accountable to God for every time we do what we shouldn’t (1 John 3:4; 1 John 5:17) or fail to do what we should (James 4:17) because we’ve been given His mind on all matters. When we sin against Him – whether or not we realize that we’ve done so – we’re guilty and we’ll bear our iniquity.
We’ll pick this thought up again next time. But in the meantime, be sure to use God’s word to lighten your path as you journey through this land of darkness on your way to that heavenly city (Psalm 119:105).