What If We Are Ignorant of Sin?
Sometimes people want to change sin by claiming their ignorance. Yet, no matter if we are smart about sin or not, God will still punish the wicked. In 1 Timothy 1:13, Paul declared that he committed sin ignorantly but he still needed mercy. If he would have been excused, why would he need mercy? Under the Old Law, even when someone committed a sin which they did not realize, they were under commandment to make atonement for it (Leviticus 4:22-26). That shows it is still sin. If it were not sin, why offer a sacrifice?
A lot of people make the argument that those who have never heard the gospel will not be condemned. What makes us sinners? Is it sin or the gospel? Isaiah 64:6 says, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” Romans 3:10 adds, “There is none righteous, no, not one …” However, Romans 1:16 says that the gospel is “the power of God unto salvation.” It has the ability to save us!
If someone who had never heard the gospel could be saved by God’s mercy on their ignorance, then the most horrible thing I could ever do to them would be to teach them the gospel. They would then no longer be innocent and have to choose whether or not to obey. Does that make sense? It is not the absence of the gospel that condemns; it is the presence of sin!