Saturday, June 24, 2017

Can Ignorance Save A Sinner? Proverb 24:12

Peter tells us that we should always be ready with a response to any question about the reason for our faith. 1 Peter 3:15. Thus the reason Paul told Timothy to be diligent in his studies to rightly divide the truth 2 Timothy 2:15, because many will come and give false answers just to satisfy the itchy ears of the lost. 2 Timothy 4:1-5. So it is up to us to be prepared to help the lost find the way.

If you desire to share the Gospel, and you should, then be sure you are prepared to answer the questions that will come your way. If you cannot properly respond to a persons questions, then don't wing it. Be honest and tell them you will find the answer and get back to them. Most heresy begins with individuals who share the Word, but do not know the Word.

Probably the most asked question I get while sharing the Gospel is,
"What about those who lived in parts of the world where the Gospel was never shared?
How can they be condemned to hell if they never knew the truth?"

This is a very legitimate question, because there have been millions and millions of men and women who have lived their whole lives never once having heard the Good News. Solomon tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:11, that God has set eternity in our hearts. What does this mean?

A common misconception, is that people of the world who have never been visited by anyone sharing the Gospel are lost for eternity. For this reason, many have actually rejected the Gospel, because their ancestors are supposedly lost. They claim they were unfairly judged since no one shared the Gospel with them, and this proves that the Christian God is an unjust God. Sadly, many Christians even believe that their  ancestors may be lost because they were just fumbling around in darkness their whole life.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. God set eternity in the hearts of all men so that we would seek Him. Just like a child who was put up for adoption may one day search out their true parent, so too all humans desire to meet the Parent of their eternal soul. Or as I like to say, the Lover of our soul, our Creator Christ Jesus.

In places that have not had the Gospel shared, people tend to create a god on their own. Some good, and some bad, but they need a higher power to believe in because their heart instinctively tells them there is more to life than what we know. People will point out that just because they made a god does not mean they are saved. I would agree, but for a different reason that you may think. My commentary today is on Proverb 24:12,
If you say, "Surely we did not know this,"
Does not He who weighs the hearts consider it?
He who keeps your soul, does He not know it?
And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?
 Proverb 24:12
God does not hold us accountable for things we do not know. He will not condemn a person if they are not walking in the way that we who have the truth understand is right. What He does is look at the heart. Would this individual stop doing the things that are evil if they were presented with the truth?

There is precedence for this being true, consider those in Ephesus who practiced magic, but burned books together in the sight of all when they were convinced of the Gospel. All they needed was convincing under good reasoning that they were wrong, and their hearts were of the type that God knew they would accept the Gospel. Acts 19:19.

God knows if you will stop doing evil if your eyes were open. Abraham's father was a man who sold idols, Abraham heard a voice from God and learned it was wrong. God knew his heart and knew he would change his ways once he knew the truth. Same with Moses, he learned after he met God at the burning bush what the truth was, and ceased doing things he learned were wrong.

Don Richardson wrote a book on this topic titled, "Eternity In Their Hearts". In it he provides evidence of foreign tribes scattered throughout the world having had retained from family tradition some knowledge of God, and the Judeo-Christian traditions. Truly God is at work in the world, providing some evidence of Himself to the peoples of the most remote areas of the world. God is a missionary God, and we are His instruments. But, even without us, He is making His ways known.

You ever wonder why in Genesis 2:9 that the bad tree in the Garden was named the, "Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil?" Think about it, it wasn't until they ate the fruit that they knew they were naked and considered it to be something wrong. After all, they had been living without cloths all along and never had a problem with it. Then they ate the fruit and consider their nakedness as something that should be covered. [[[I plan writing more on Trees of the Garden at another time]]].

Now Paul tells us in Romans chapter 7 that the Law was given to man so that we would know what was sin and what wasn't. It did not save us, but it did distinguish the difference between good and bad, whereas the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, just made us aware that there was a morality difference in the way we live. It wasn't until the Law that we would learn the reason for difference. Christ would eventually come along and we would then understand why we were lost and needed a savior.
What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, "You shall not covet." Romans 7:7
Before the law, we would not know we were not following God's desires of a proper way a His God should live and believe. Just as those who lived before they were given the Gospel, they did not know what was right in God's eyes. So, they lived as they thought was right, but when others came and shared the Law and how to be saved from the Law they then changed their evil ways. Ways they thought were correct, but then learned otherwise, those with good hearts stopped their evil ways.

Had missionaries never arrived to share the Gospel and God's commandments with them, then their eternal fate would still be in God's hands.  Remember, God is the One who knows the hearts, and He is the one who knows the what if's about each and every one of us as to how we would react in any given situation. Thus, there very well could be individuals in heaven that have lived lives without ever hearing the Gospel from a missionary, but they would from Christ through the Holy Spirit. Thus they would have been moved to know the evil they practiced was wrong and thus they had a chance to respond by changing their way. So, were they really ignorant of the Gospel?

We are still saved based upon our acceptance of Christ as our Lord and Savior, but to get an honest answer as to if a person means it, one would have to search the heart, and only God can read the heart of man. Only God can know for sure what a person's understanding of good vs evil truly is. So if you consider a persons knowledge of good and evil, then you may understand why some may think that being ignorance may be salvational.

However, then you would have to also conclude that salvation is possible without the Gospel. Yet we know that Jesus said, "NO one comes to the Father accept through Me." John 14:6 So if they don't go through Christ, how can they have salvation? Well I look at it in the way we look at the Saints of the Old Testament. They looked forward to the cross, just like we today look back at the cross. For Christ is the Lamb sacrificed for our salvation from the foundation of the world. Revelation 13:8

So in conclusion, it is my opinion that God is not so much forgiving them for their ignorance of the Gospel, because He knows the hearts of those who never received the Gospel. For those worthy in God's eyes, I am convinced that He Himself would share the Gospel with them by speaking to their hearts as to what is right, and what is wrong. Remember, God and only God can read men's hearts. I hope that helps with today's Proverb,
If you say, "Surely we did not know this,"
Does not He who weighs the hearts consider it?
He who keeps your soul, does He not know it?
And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?
Proverb 24:12

Proverb 24 (NKJV)
Do Not Envy Evil Men

01 Do not be envious of evil men,
00 Nor desire to be with them;
02 For their heart devises violence,
00 And their lips talk of troublemaking.

03 Through wisdom a house is built,
00 And by understanding it is established;
04 By knowledge the rooms are filled
00 With all precious and pleasant riches.

05 A wise man is strong,
00 Yes, a man of knowledge increases strength;
06 For by wise counsel you will wage your own war,
00 And in a multitude of counselors there is safety.

07 Wisdom is too lofty for a fool;
00 He does not open his mouth in the gate.

08 He who plots to do evil
00 Will be called a schemer.
09 The devising of foolishness is sin,
00 And the scoffer is an abomination to men.
10 If you faint in the day of adversity,
00 Your strength is small.
11 Deliver those who are drawn toward death,
00 And hold back those stumbling to the slaughter.
12 If you say, "Surely we did not know this,"
00 Does not He who weighs the hearts consider it?
00 He who keeps your soul, does He not know it?
00 And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?

13 My son, eat honey because it is good,
00 And the honeycomb which is sweet to your taste;
14 So shall the knowledge of wisdom be to your soul;
00 If you have found it, there is a prospect,
00 And your hope will not be cut off.

15 Do not lie in wait, O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous;
00 Do not plunder his resting place;
16 For a righteous man may fall seven times
00 And rise again,
00 But the wicked shall fall by calamity.

17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls,
00 And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles;
18 Lest the LORD see it, and it displease Him,
00 And He turn away His wrath from him.

19 Do not fret because of evildoers,
00 Nor be envious of the wicked;
20 For there will be no prospect for the evil man;
00 The lamp of the wicked will be put out.

21 My son, fear the LORD and the king;
00 Do not associate with those given to change;
22 For their calamity will rise suddenly,
00 And who knows the ruin those two can bring?

Further Sayings of the Wise
23 These things also belong to the wise:
00 It is not good to show partiality in judgment.
24 He who says to the wicked, "You are righteous,"
00 Him the people will curse;
00 Nations will abhor him.
25 But those who rebuke the wicked will have delight,
00 And a good blessing will come upon them.

26 He who gives a right answer kisses the lips.

27 Prepare your outside work,
00 Make it fit for yourself in the field;
00 And afterward build your house.

28 Do not be a witness against your neighbor without cause,
00 For would you deceive with your lips?
29 Do not say, "I will do to him just as he has done to me;
00 I will render to the man according to his work."

30 I went by the field of the lazy man,
00 And by the vineyard of the man devoid of understanding;
31 And there it was, all overgrown with thorns;
00 Its surface was covered with nettles;
00 Its stone wall was broken down.
32 When I saw it, I considered it well;
00 I looked on it and received instruction:
33 A little sleep, a little slumber,
00 A little folding of the hands to rest;
34 So shall your poverty come like a prowler,
00 And your need like an armed man.

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