By Charles Wages
The apostle Paul uses the expression “I would not have you ignorant” six times in addressing four cities—Rome, Corinth, Colosse, and Thessalonica.
The word “ignorant” simply means “without knowledge” and doesn’t necessarily mean that a person is unlearned or retarded in normal knowledge. It does mean, though, that we all stand in need of instruction from God’s word, and it is not God’s will for us to be without knowledge.
In 2 Corinthians 1:8, Paul states, “For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure above strength insomuch that we despaired even of life.” In reading and studying 2 Corinthians 1:8-10, we find that death and resurrection stand out clearly. We are told that we have “the sentence of death in ourselves” that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raiseth the dead.
This “sentence of death” was the direct result of sin. Romans 5:12 states: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” Certainly, we should know that this sentence of judgment is beyond our control, therefore we should “not trust in ourselves” to save our own selves or to keep ourselves saved.
God would have everyone know that He has delivered His creation from the “sentence of death” through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. He lets us know that there is a continuous deliverance from this death. In 2 Corinthians 1:10, we are instructed that deliverance is threefold: past, present, and future. It is stated that “God delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver.”
It would be wonderful if everyone was fully aware of the fact that they are sinners by nature and that they are “dead” in trespasses and sins, but that through Christ’s death on the cross of Calvary they could be delivered from this death into a newness of life.
We must continue to give forth God’s Word that men will “not be ignorant” of their lost condition and then inform them how they may be saved.
In 1 Thessalonians 4:13, the apostle introduces the great truth about the Lord’s coming for His Church, by saying, “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren.”
Again the fact of death and resurrection stands out clearly. This great theme is given that we should “sorrow not as others who have no hope” and that we should “comfort one another with these words.”
The majority of people in the world, even the religious world, are ignorant of our Lord’s appearing to gather His own unto Himself. No wonder there is so much sorrow—no wonder there is so little comfort. If people would only know and believe that “the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
The widespread ignorance of believing people concerning the “blessed hope” of the Church is causing despair and a sense of “giving up.” Many of God’s saints are “without knowledge” when it comes to His plans for His Church and for their individual lives. I am sure we are all ignorant of many things, but God is willing to reveal the wonders of His Word to us as we are willing to yield to Him and learn.