Destroyed for Lack of Knowledge

The nation of Israel was apostate. Even the land suffered from the immorality of the people (Hos. 4:3). The priests were warned not to blame the people, since they too were guilty of sinning, and they were also guilty of not teaching the truth. “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God” (vs. 6). Ignorance of the law may not be an acceptable excuse, but people will remain in bondage to their sins if they don’t know the truth.

Paul raises the same issue concerning salvation. “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent” (Rom. 10:14,15). That is why the church is commissioned to preach the gospel to the ends of the earth. We are saved by faith, but if we don’t know what it is that we are to believe, then how can we be saved? If we don’t know the truth, then how can the truth set us free?

If a local department store had a fifty-percent-off sale on all its merchandise, how could you take advantage of the sale if you never heard about it? Merchants have to get the word out if they are going to stay in business and so does the church. The church is “the pillar and foundation of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15), and members are called to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15,25), and share their faith with those who have never heard the good news. Ignorance is not bliss, it is defeat.

Even if we have heard the good news so as to believe unto salvation, we still need to have an increasing knowledge of the truth in order to live a liberated life. People are in bondage to what they have been taught or to what they have chosen to believe in the past. If truth sets people free, then lies will keep them in bondage. Many Christians are not experiencing their freedom in Christ because of past traumatic experiences. It wasn’t the trauma itself that is keeping them in bondage. They are in bondage to the lies they believe as a result of the trauma.

Suppose the father in a home physically abused his child. As a result of the beatings, the child could choose to believe a variety of lies such as: “I’m no good.” “God doesn’t love me.” “I deserved this punishment because my parents are older and they must be right.” Because of abuse, children develop negative images of themselves. Even their concept of God the Father is often tainted by a poor father figure in early childhood. Unless these misconceptions and lies are identified and replaced with truth, they will remain in bondage to false beliefs.

Dr. Neil

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