SINS OF IGNORANCE & CHRISTIAN PERFECTION
By Jesse Morrell
It is argued by Calvinists, “Nobody can be perfect because we all have sins in our life that we are ignorant of.” The underlining assumption here is that if you are ignorant of it you cannot avoid it and therefore if everyone has sins of ignorance then nobody can be perfect.
A few remarks on this fallacious reasoning:
First, if you have sins in your life that you are ignorant of, how do you know that you have them in your life? To know what you are ignorant of is not to be ignorant of it at all.
Second, if you had sins in your life that you were ignorant of, could not God or another reveal them to you so that you are no longer ignorant of them and consequently can avoid committing them anymore? Of course, and therefore even if sins of ignorance were granted this would be no bar to the attainability of perfection as those sins would still be avoidable.
Third, sin is an act of rebellion and the Bible says if you were blind you would have no sin and to him who knows to do right and doeth it not to him it is sin. If you accidentally hurt somebody because of faulty judgment, that is a mistake not a sin. A mistake reflects ignorance of the mind while sin reflects rebellion of the heart. There can be no sin without knowledge as there can be no rebellion without light. A persons’ character consists in their intention and if they accidentally hurt somebody by making a mistake, if they had the purest of intentions, they are still perfect in heart. The perfection that God requires is not a perfection of knowledge but of intention. Moral perfection relates to the motives of the heart, not the knowledge of the mind. Nobody can be perfect in knowledge but everybody can be perfect in heart.
The sins of ignorance spoken of in the Bible relate to an avoidable ignorance, not an invincible or inescapable ignorance. Israel was given the law and commanded to know it and to teach it to their children, so if they were ignorant of the law it would be through their own negligence. Thus they could be justly held accountable and responsible. Peter speaks of those who are willfully ignorant. Such ignorance is a sin and a crime and certainly does bring guilt upon an individual. We must be very diligent and careful to avoid ignorance, as avoidable ignorance or deliberate ignorance is a great sin indeed.