Ignorance Is No Excuse

By Patrick T. Donahue

Many people (and rightfully so) find it easy to understand that Mark 16:16 and Acts 2:38 teach that a person who has never been born again must believe, repent, and be baptized before he can be forgiven of his sin, ignorance notwithstanding. Why do some of these same people find it so hard to understand that Acts 8:22 and I John 1:9 teach that when a person who has already been born again sins, he must repent of and confess that sin in order to be forgiven of it, ignorance notwithstanding? Why can't we see that both propositions stand or fall together? If God will excuse a Christian from meeting the conditions laid down in the Bible for having his sins forgiven, He will do the same for an alien. "God is no respector of persons" (Acts 10:34).

Some will say, "but you can't confess a sin you don't know about." That's true, you can't. But does that prove therefore that a Christian can be forgiven of his sin without confessing it? If it does, the same reasoning would also prove that an alien, who doesn't know about baptism, can be forgiven of his sins without being baptized, because "you can't be scripturally baptized if you don't know that you are supposed to be baptized" (another true statement, Acts 2:38).

The truth is, the fact that a Christian can't confess a sin he doesn't know about, doesn't prove that he can be forgiven of the sin without confessing it. It simply implies that a Christian must learn about his sin and then confess and forsake it. Then, and only then, will he be forgiven of the sin (Proverbs 28:13). If he is truly SEEKing to know the truth and to learn about the sins that he has committed in ignorance, then he will FIND (Matthew 7:7-8) the truth; he will learn of his sins, and change his ways.

[Editor's Note: Thanks to Pat Donahue for the article! He can be reached at: Pat.Donahue@MSFC.NASA.GOV, 4607 Old Railroad Bed Road, Harvest, AL 35749, (256) 721-0726]

Email the Editor at markjward@yahoo.com