A very common statement made by many people today is, "I just don't let it bother me." In many areas, we would all be better off taking this approach. With sin, however, this is a very dangerous approach. Many people are very complacent regarding their sin, and instead of seeking a remedy for them, sin is simply ignored.
The ignoring, or dismissing, of sin by people is probably one of the most common improper reactions toward sin, but it is not the correct way to deal with sin. A person, for example, who has some terminal disease may choose to push thoughts of the disease out of his mind, but this does not make the disease go away. The same is true with regard to sin. We may choose to ignore or dismiss it, but this does not change its consequence.
We will notice some examples of certain people in the Bible who ignored their sins. Perhaps we can learn from their folly and not follow the same course of action.
Asa, a king of Judah, serves as an Old Testament example of a person who simply ignored his sin. His story is recorded in II Chronicles 16. Here we learn that the king of Israel began to build the city of Ramah to serve as a fortification against Jerusalem and the nation of Judah. Asa got Syria to attack Israel in order to nullify the threat against them. The plan worked, and the attack accomplished its purpose.
The above plan might seem acceptable. However, there was a problem with it as Asa did not rely on God in dealing with this difficulty. He was rebuked by Hanani, a seer, who said, " . . .Because you have relied on the king of Syria, and have not relied on the Lord your God, therefore the army of the king of Syria has escaped from your hand.” (v. 7). Hanani further noted (v. 9) that God had helped them in the past, and that God's eyes, "run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him."
We are told that Asa was later afflicted with a disease, and even then he would not seek God but sought only the physicians.
Uzziah, also of the Old Testament and a king of Judah, serves as another example of a person who ignored his sin. Uzziah effectively ruled Judah for many years and was a righteous man (II Chron. 26). God caused him to prosper, but eventually he developed pride. We are told (v. 16) that his heart was lifted up to his destruction. He sinned by trying to invade the function of the priest, perhaps wanting to be both a priest and king. He was rebuked by Azariah, a priest. Would Uzziah react differently than Asa and repent? Again, the answer is NO! He simply got mad choosing to ignore his sin. While in the midst of this confrontation, Uzziah was afflicted with leprosy by God, and he remained a leper until he died (vs. 19-20).
In Acts 24, we are told about Paul preaching to a ruler named Felix. Paul reasoned with Felix of “righteousness,” “temperance,” and of the “judgment to come” (v. 25). This caused Felix to tremble. He was affected by what Paul had said, but he did not do anything about it. Instead, he responded, “Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.” Felix chose to do nothing about his sins choosing instead to ignore them. As far as we know, Felix never found a convenient season to obey God.
Consider the Athenians, the last example, whose story is recorded in Acts 17. Here we see that Paul preached on Mars Hill in Athens. Athens was a city that was greatly involved in idolatry, and Paul tried to get these people to understand about the true God. He told them about the God who made the world, and pointed out He is the Lord of heaven and earth, and is not worshiped with men’s hands (vs. 24-26). In verse 31, Paul spoke to them about the resurrection. When they heard his message, they were not willing to repent of their sins. Instead (v. 32), “some mocked: and others said, we will hear thee again of this matter."
Many people today are like Asa, Uzziah, Felix, and the Athenians as they ignore their sins. These people in the Bible did not escape responsibility for their sins by ignoring them and neither can we. Ignoring sin is an alternative man has, but it will cause him to be lost eternally. Instead of ignoring sin, a non-Christian must believe (Jn. 3:16), repent (Acts 2:38), confess Christ (Rom. 10:10), and be baptized (Acts 2:38, Mk. 16:16). The Christian who sins must repent, pray, and confess his sins (Acts 8:22, I Jn. 1:8-10).
By Mike Johnson
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