Question:

Are you saying we are not judged based off of our ignorance or things we don't know are sin? If so that doesn't apply to those outside of Christ does it? Can you give me some Scriptures so I can get a better grasp.


Answer:

"For there is no partiality with God. For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel" (Romans 2:11-16).

God takes into account what we could know. This is why Paul said that Gentiles could be charged with sin. After all, "For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law" (Romans 5:13). But sin did and does exist, even among the Gentiles who never heard of the Law of Moses. The reason is that many laws can be figured out on our own from the world around us, such as "do not steal." God held the Gentiles accountable for what they could have known and the result is the same as the Jews -- everyone sins (Romans 3:23).

There is only one way out of the dilemma because not learning the gospel doesn't help when you are already caught up in sin. Christ is the only way out, so everyone must learn. But let's suppose that there is an obscure point that you didn't understand, I believe that is where God's mercy comes into play. There is plenty to judge you on what you do know or could have known if you took the time to learn than needing to reach for things that were beyond you ability to grasp at the time.

Everything you have mentioned I understand intellectually. Every now and then I get into this mode where I get OCD in my Christianity. It's due to the fact that I'm scared of death and always want to make sure I'm on the path to heaven. There is so much that I begin to think about, from am I doing enough, the divisions in the church (the things that divide us and whether it's opinion or not), did I misapply or misunderstand a Scripture, did I miss something and more. I may "feel" I'm on the right path, but then I question whether I could be wrong and what does God think. Death is hard for me at times because we live in the temporal, and it's hard to fathom eternity sometimes. I'll be doing great for a while, motivated from sermons and studies then here comes the doubt and fear. It doesn't prevent me from attending services or studies. However, it does weigh on my mind.

"Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? -- unless indeed you are disqualified" (I Corinthians 13:5).

There is nothing wrong with checking yourself periodically. We need to be on our guard and realize that just because I think something is right doesn't make it so. What can be a problem is when you don't come to a conclusion.

There are going to be times when you run across something in the Bible that is going to make you step back and think, "Did I really understand this correctly?" It might drive you to further digging for more information. This is all a part of the normal growth of a Christian.

But don't let yourself get locked up in fear. What balances all is our knowledge that God loves us. "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us" (I John 4:18-19). I should be able to look at myself and know that I'm doing the best that I know how. I'm not satisfied with staying this way, I'm after being even better because I want to please my Lord and Savior. So I don't look at it as if I made it but rather I look at where I am going. "Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:12-14).

"Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked" (I John 2:3-6).

Thanks for all your help. If you could, please pray for me.