“And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;” (Acts 3:17–19, AV)
I was travelling from Savannah to Albany Georgia one night to conduct some business. As I traveled through a small town, I looked in my rear-view mirror and saw a flashing blue light in the distance. I thought that the officer certainly was responding to some situation in the town. As a good driver, I pulled off to the side of the road and waited for the officer to pass by. He did not. To my surprise, he pulled right up behind me.
He got out of his vehicle, asked for my license and registration and went back to his car. I was quite surprised and sat there wondering why he pulled me over. When he returned, he asked me how fast I was going. I told him somewhere around 55 mph, as I had been watching my speed. He stated the speed limit on that stretch of road was 45 mph and that he caught me speeding. I quickly explained that I thought the speed limit was 55 mph. I had apparently missed the sign. I did not argue with the officer and fortunately he let me off with a warning.
The point is this, just because I did not know that the speed limit was 45mph, I still broke the law. I was speeding. Ignorance pf the law is no excuse.
Here, Peter in preaching the gospel to those who saw the lame man walk, acknowledged that the people had participated in the crucifixion of Jesus in ignorance. Nevertheless, they were culpable for their participation. They needed to repent from their sin in genuine conversion.
This is the way it is with the Law of God. All of us have sinned against God’s law (Rom 3:23). We committed much of our sins in a condition of ignorance. We either did understand the moral requirements of the Law of God or did not consider our transgressions as very important. Yet, ignorance is no excuse and neither is apathy.
When we consider our sins, committed in both knowledge and ignorance, we ought to give thanks to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He offered Himself once for all, to deal with all of our sin. His sacrifice on the cross, dealt with the sins we committed with full knowledge and the sins we committed in ignorance.
Many of the people we meet in everyday life are the same as we were. They sin without even considering the moral requirements of God’s Law. They either do not know or do not care. In our witnessing endeavors, we must help them understand that sin is an issue whether they know it or not. We must also pray that the Holy Spirit will convict them of their sin problem. Until this happens, they will see no need for the Savior.