Wednesday, November 23, 2011

NOVEMBER 23 "IGNORANCE IS BLISS"

     WE know the courts have higher sentencing for pre-meditated crimes vs. manslaughter or self defense. Our court systems, whether they realize it or not have obtained their foundation from the timeless principles found in God's word. Ezekiel outlines for us, through God's direction, a policy, you could say, on how to deal with people that have sinned "unintentionally or ignorantly".  God is stating what we have always thought to be true, "that there should be a difference between a person that sins with full intent vs. someone who sins ignorantly.  And the Good News is....God says, "Yes". 
     I lived for many years as an ignorant sinner. I knew that I wasn't an angel or saint, but I never thought that the life I was living would be one that would send me to Hell.  After all, I had not committed any of the "cardinal sins". I had never raped, murdered or robbed a bank.  I did not shoot heroine and break into innocent people's homes looking for more drug money.  I was just your average, little, Catholic,  mischievous kid.  I remember the FIRST time I walked into a Christian Church and heard the Gospel for the FIRST time, I repented.  I distinctly remember  God's voice speaking into my conscience, saying, "the party is over".  I had relentlessly sinned since I was 14 years old and now I was 21.  I had done many foolish things in that period of 7 years, life threatening many times, but yet my life, my soul had been spared.  If I left that church and continued to deliberately sin after that night, I felt strongly that God's Grace would lift. No longer would I be sinning in ignorance. As I mentioned earlier, I truly thought I was Heaven bound.  I am so glad for this text in Ezekiel "You are to do the same on the seventh day of the month for anyone who sins unintentionally or through ignorance".  I truly was ignorant of how offensive my life, my sin was before God.  However, once I heard, I did not try to "frustrate or test God's Grace", but I repented.
     There are many more folks out there that are really living a sinful life, in complete ignorance and were they to hear the Gospel, they, like I, would be convicted and repent.  There are also many folks out there that are living a sinful life that have full knowledge and should they hear the Gospel, would only harden their hearts more. These folks, are actually in complete defiance and rebellion towards God and simply don't have enough desire to quit or repent.  Paul says in the book of Hebrews, "there is no more Grace for those that willingly go on and sin once they have come to taste of the goodness of God and experienced fellowship with him. They are crucifying Christ all over again"
     A common argument of sinner's is "hey, we're all sinners", what's the difference between you and me?  My answer to that is, "we are not all sinners".  We may all sin, but we are not all sinners. The sinner lives a constant, habbitual life of sin.  The sinner lives to sin, the Saint avoids it at all costs.  Yes, I was "a sinner", but when confronted with my sins I repented. Do I sin now? "Yes".  The difference is, I do not wake up with the intent to sin that day. I do not wake up that Friday with the intent on getting absolutely drunk that day and with the absolute intent on being or hoping to be, immoral that night.  These were my thoughts, my intents before I got saved. The sinner wakes up with a gregarious appetite for sin. He craves and longs for sin all day long. The Saint wakes up with the exact opposite intent, he wakes up with the intent to avoid sin, at all costs and as much as within his power and ability. 
     When we as Christians, find ourselves in a place when we are waking up with the intent to be sinful that day, than we know that our hearts are beginning to go astray.  What is on your mind, your heart today. Are you waking up with lust on your mind for someone at work, a schoolmate, friend, neighbor, are you waking up with vengeance on your mind for that day. Are you waking up with the intent to deceive someone that day, to lie or to cheat on a test?  Are you waking up with an intent to lie and deceive in a business meeting or transaction?  The idea of the Child of God, whether a Jew back a couple of thousand years ago or a Christian in the 21st century, the idea of a Child of God is that when he/she sins, it is an "unintentional or sin of ignorance" and in our text, God has a special Grace and provisions for such, but when we willingly, wilfully sin we enter a completely different domain with God.
     For those of you that want to "keep it real", let's be honest, not all sins that "Christians" commit are sins that are of ignorance or unintentional, if only, that was truly the case, but we know it is not. However, that being said, it does not change the fact, that as believers, are sins should become less and less premeditated and more and unintentional and ignorant. If this is the direction you are heading in, then you are on the right path, if it is not, then you are on the wrong path and there is also a chance you may have never genuinely repented.  As Paul writes in his epistle, "examine yourselves to see if you be in the faith; unless you fail the test!"