“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope” (1 Thess. 4:13).
Paul knew the need for the brethren at Thessalonica, as well as everywhere else, to know the truth about those who died in the Lord. They needed comfort and those words would bring it (cf. 1 Thess. 4:18). There are multiple references where the emphasis of not leaving people ignorant is found (cf. Rom. 1:13; 11:25; 1 Cor. 10:1; 12:1; 2 Cor. 1:8; 2 Peter 3:8). While some may declare, “ignorance is bliss,” such is not the case in the important matters of life. Consider three products that come from an ignorance of the truth.
- It Produces a Life Foreign to the Life of God. Paul wrote to the Ephesian brethren, “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart” (Eph. 4:17-18). Sin makes one vain, darkened, alienated and hardened so that such ignorance separates man from the life that God wants him to have. If a man dies in his sins, he is eternally lost (cf. John 8:21). If a man lives unto sin, his life is a continual struggle of bondage and following a path toward death (cf. Rom. 6:6, 12, 16-17, 20-21, 23). Yea, he is living in death while he lives (cf. Eph. 2:1; 1 Tim. 5:6). God who gave life knows what is best for man. Walking with God is indeed the greatest blessing of life now and the life to come later. This is one of the reasons why God gave his word to mankind in the Bible.
- It Produces a Life Following the Lusts of the Flesh. Peter wrote, “As obedience children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance” (1 Peter 1:14). Ignorance causes man to follow the lusts of his own heart and mind. While he is foreign to the ways of God, he is well acquainted with the ways of the world. Peter continued to address this mindset, where he wrote, “For so is the will of God, that with well-doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men” (1 Peter 2:15). The holiness of God (cf. 1 Peter 1:15-16) coupled with being a holy nation (cf. 1 Peter 2:9) demands holy living. Ignorance of that truth only makes life fall into the pattern of the world around him. Study carefully the lives of people who live in ignorance of the Bible and see how sin destroys.
- It Produces a Life Failing to Have True Righteousness. Paul wrote to the Roman brethren, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they, being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God” (Rom. 10:1-3). Peter stated to certain hearers in Jerusalem concerning the death of Jesus, “And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers” (Acts 3:17). Paul realized that his former actions and beliefs concerning Jesus were out of ignorance (cf. 1 Tim. 1:13). True righteousness does not come accidentally or haphazardly. It comes through submitting to the will of God (cf. Rom. 10:3).