Aug 11 2013
Risk Factor: Ignorance of Unbelief
And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;
Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.
And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
1. Tim 1:12-15.
Paul thanks God for the tremendous change that transformed his life. He experienced God’s mercy which changed him from being a blasphemer and perscutor into a preacher and church-planting missionary, an ambassador of God’s love. God’s mercy changed him. Not just changed him but converted him.
Too many people have fallen into the trap of false promisese of “change”. Political populists promise change which often leads to more government intrusion and tyranny. But we don’t fall for popular promises of change by self-proclaimed political messiahs. As born again believers we have an experimental experience of true change that comes by God’s mercy. Because we have acknowledged or sin but by the exceeding grace of our Lord Jesus Christ have experienced salvation. Jesus came to saves sinners. If you think you are not sinner but self-righteous then how can Jesus save you. He died for the ungodly. Why not acknowledge you sin and ungodly nature so you too can experience God’s mercy like Paul.
Paul acknowledged his dirty past perscuting Christians. He said he did it ignorantly in unbelief. Paul confessed to the ignorance of his unbelief which caused him to persecute and kill the followers of Jesus Christ and to stifle the gospel of Christ. That makes me think: What is being done today as a result of the ignorance of unbelief. Can we afford more ignorance of unbelief? Christian persecution in the Muslim world. Christian persecution in leftist, secular humanist regimes, hatred of God in our own country where people try to outlaw every public prayer in Jesus’ name, out law the distribution of the public or public display or mention of God. Could it be that all of this is done in the ignorance of unbelief. Paul admits that he did all these acts of evil in the ignorance of unbelief. He did it because he did not know the gospel. How about the holocaust of the Jesus. A result of the ignorance of unbelief? The millions of unborn babies killed in the womb in the name of choice. A result of the ignorance of unbelief? The unprecedented attack against traditional Christian values and esp. Christian marriage and family with the resulting rise in broken homes, divorce, child poverty etc. A result of the ignorance of unbelief?
You can be sure of this one thing: If Paul is aware that the sins of his unsaved past are a result of the ignorance of unbelief, then the national sins of today are definitely the product of the ignorance of unbelief. We all can prevent a lot of problems by fighting the ignorance of unbelief. If we don’t evangelize, if we don’t teach the Bible, then the atrocities committed out of the ignorance of unbelief will only accumulate and aggrandize themselves. That’s why we need to live out the truth of the Bible. Not just read about it and study it but make them the valid principles upon which we act in every situation of life. If the Bible does not control your mind, then Satan, the world and the flesh will.
The only hope we have is God’s mercy. Many people today live in deep error. They have never been taught any good thing from the Bible. In fact, TV has taught them to live contrary to every Biblical principle from a child on. Bible says purity. TV taught them uncleanness. Bible teaches chastity. TV taught sexual lewness. Bible teaches marriage covenant. TV teaches easy divorce and soap opera adultery lessons. Bible says sound speech with grace. TV teaches profanity and gossip. The list goes on and on. But God’s mercy is able to reach people in the ignorance of their unbelief and send them the light of faith in Jesus Christ. That’s what Paul experiened. The chief of sinners got saved. That’s why even today there is the potential in God’s mercy that the worst of persecutors, the worst of perverts and profane people get saved by God’s mercy and have their lives transformed by His grace.
One thing that initiates this conversion to Christ is mercy or, as it says in Titus 3:4,5: But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.
The appearance of God’s kindness and love initiates conversion to Christ. We cannot earn salvation. It is not based on our perceived goodness or performance. Only his kindnes and love make it possible that we become acceptable to Him in Jesus Christ. Christians are to extend the kindness and love of God. That will make it easier for the lost to come to Christ. That kindness and love was shown when Jesus dealt with the woman caught in adultery, when dealing with tax collectors Zaccheus and Matthew. He did not condemn them but rather provide an opportunity for them to find salvation. But Jesus did not mix up kindness with flattery. He did not bow his standards to accept others. Jesus ate together with sinners but he never approved their sin. But He provided the sinner with the opportunity to move beyond the burden of sin and renounce sin. The kindness and love of God causes people to forsake their sins. Usually people tend to cling to their sin because of the pleasure it brings them. But when Jesus came all the pleasures of sin seemed worthless and dull in the light of his kindness and love.
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