My friend Ron Bailey made a comment in a sermon that he preached on Justification. The statement was: " ...you are not responsible for what you don't know."
I disagree. Bummer.
To keep this as short as possible, my paraphrase of the first four books of Romans is that Paul talks about sin in mankind,certainty of Divine judgement, universality of guilt, purpose of the Law, and Righteousness by faith.
Then in Romans Chapter 5 Paul begins discussing justification which we obtain by faith through Jesus Christ. But, where I want to go with this is: What is the COMPETANT ADULT PERSON held accountable for?
I think by looking at a few verses in Romans 5, then maybe looking at one of those "laws of first mention", perhaps I might be able to succinctly express my point of view and give adequate reason for it.
Romans 5:12-14 says:"12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adams transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
I think a point of contention with those who believe that man will not be judged for his ignorance is that before the law, sin could not be imputed or added to a persons account.That was because they didn't know that it was sin. Even though it was.
Well, I'd just like to say that because of Adam's poor judgement, the people that lived in ignorance of God, and His ways( from Adam to Moses) already had enough sin to send them to the second ressurection, and the Lake of Fire, at birth. Imputing more sin would not make a difference on that score. The light that God has given men in their conciences, leaves them without excuse; Romans 1:20.
Genesis Chapter 4 Contains the story of Cain and Able.
¶ And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.
4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:
5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
6 ¶ And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?
7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
8 ¶ And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.
9 ¶ And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brothers keeper?
10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brothers blood crieth unto me from the ground.
11 And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brothers blood from thy hand;
12 When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.
Question: Because the Law had not yet been established, and Cain did not know that "Thou Shalt not Murder" was he not held accoutable for what he did not know?
Actually Adam's first transgression was not taking the bite of the forbidden fruit. His first trangression was coming into agreement with a being (Satan) over the issue. Thereby, usurping God"s authority and nature in the earth.
This acqiuescence on Adam's part replaced God as supreme ruler on earth, and replaced Him with Satan. It was actually a lack of faith on Adam's part I believe that caused him to act as he did. Satan used a lie to deceive Eve, but it is written that Adam was not deceived.
I think Satan used a spirit of fear(losing Eve), which is the opposite of faith, to entice Adam to commit high treason and join the rebellion. I know that fear is a spirit because:
II Timothy 1:7 says " For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power (God the Holy Spirit), and of love( God the Father), and of a sound mind ( God the Word, who was manifest in the flesh, Jesus the Anointed one of Nazerath)" PARENTHESIS MINE.
If God doesn't give the spirit of fear then who does?
So, the fall of mankind due to original sin can be attributed, not necessarily to an overt act by a man. Actually it was the introduction of a "being" onto the earth that was given authority by a man who could give that authority. Adam transfered his dominion that had been give to him by God, over to Satan.
My understanding of Cain and Able is similar. When Cain offered his sacrafice to God, it was not accepted because it was not given in faith. Able's was,so it was accepted. I speculate that Cain had inherited a spirit of fear from his Daddy (a generational curse), and was fearful that God would reject him. Once Cain came into agreement with that ungodly spirit, that opened the door for other demonic forces to enter in, one of those being a spirit of Bitterness.
Bitterness has several issuses: unforgiveness,resentment,retaliation,anger/wrath,hatred,violence,and MURDER. That's why Hebrews 12:15 says:
" Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;"
You can plainly see all of those issues manifesting in Cain. So, the fact that Cain did NOT KNOW that murdering his brother was a NO-NO; did THAT relieve him of the consequences of his actions?
Notice in Genesis 4:7 as God is speaking of Cain's sin He addresses it as you would "A BEING" (using pronouns like his and him, to identify the "BEING" that's waiting at the door). I'd like to take this concept a step further,and apply it to Born Again (todays Covenant people) believers.
Watch him girls he's going over the edge without a BUNGEE with THIS one! Might get into come serious Sacred Cow thumping here.
Could it be possible that WE are responsible for our ignorance in the area of what sin really is? Could it be, that as God say's "my people perish for lack of knowledge?" That word perish means to destroy, or eliminate. The opposite of SAVE. Are you SAVED?
Is it possible that Satan has God's people deceived into believing that they are not responsible for their ignorance in regard to these matters of the spirit?
They sure do reap the consequenses in addictions,disease(physical and mental),and early death.
I submit to your reasoning, that the Church (covenant people)today look no different in those maladys than does the world ( those not in covenant). According to III John 2, that should not be. Dangerous stuff here. A BRIDE WITHOUT SPOT OR BLEMISH. Can you imagine?
In Deut. 28 (which was given to me for instruction in righteousness), it gives an outline of the blessings that a person living in covenant can expect. It also tells what a person not living in covenant can expect,which are Satans blessings. Which are curses.
For those in Traditional Denominations that don't believe that a Christian can be cursed, substitute the word blank for cursed. You'll get the idea.
I believe that we ARE responsible before God in our generations, Christian and non Christian alike. I believe that because of a decision Adam made, each individual person is born depraved ( there are exceptions and provision documented in the Bible for those without the capacity to understand and be responsible). That's NOT the issue here.
I believe THIS will happen after the second ressurection:
"11 ¶ And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
I believe that the only way to get your name written into the "Book of Life" is documented in John 3.
"3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
If you never take responsibility for this part, when the time of Revelations 20 arrives NO ONE else will take resposiblility for your ignorance. Romans 1:20 says you're without excuse.
I also believe the Church of today needs to take special note of where it is written in Romans 14:
"For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but#1 RIGHTEOUSNESS, and#2 PEACE, and #3 joy in the Holy Ghost." In that order.
Oh Yeah! Hi Ron,welcome back from Scotland. Take two asprin and call Greg in the morning. :-P