We sometimes say that ignorance is bliss, but it seems likely that most of us don’t believe it. We draw this conclusion based upon the overwhelming human desire to be “in the know”. Most people want to know what is going on, whether at work or at school, in politics and current affairs, in their neighborhood, and even in the church. For some, this desire to know drives them to snoop into other people’s business, or to try to pry information out of others, usually for their own benefit. Rarely are we content to go along blissfully unaware.
In some cases, not being informed on some subject may not have any consequences. In other cases, being uninformed may result in confusion or misunderstanding. This was the situation in Thessalonica when Paul wrote his first letter to the church there. Some Christians in that city were concerned about the fate of their brothers and sisters in Christ who had died. Since these had died before the Lord returned, they wondered if they would be raised when the Lord came again. The uncertainty because of their lack of knowledge was troubling to them.
Paul, of course, readily dealt with these concerns. In 1 Th. 4:13-18 he explained to them that those who had died in Christ would indeed be raised from the dead when the Lord returned. In fact, he said that they would be the first to rise to meet the Lord in the air (v. 16). Then, after the dead in Christ are raised, those who are alive at His coming will rise to meet Him in the air (v. 17). Paul ended this passage by saying, “Therefore comfort one another with these words” (v. 18).
It is interesting, though, to notice how Paul began this section of his letter. In v. 13 he said, “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren.” He did not want them to be ignorant of this good news. He wanted them to be “in the know” on this important subject. When they knew the truth about the resurrection of the dead, they would be comforted. They would possess hope, because they understood what the Lord is going to do at His return. In this case, ignorance was not bliss.
The same is true about everything pertaining to our relationship with God. The scriptures teach us that God wishes for all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:4). This means that He does not want us to be uninformed about the consequences of sin, and about the opportunity for salvation. Unlike the pagan gods of old, who were aloof and their ways mysterious and unknown, the true and living God has revealed Himself, and has revealed all we need to know in order to please Him.
In Rom. 1:18-20 Paul said that God revealed His invisible attributes through creation so we would be without excuse. In 2 Pet. 1:2-3 Peter said that God has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness through the knowledge of the one who called us. He granted this information to us through His inspired word, which Paul said equips us for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17). In 1 Jn. 5:13 John said that the things he had written were so his readers would know that they have eternal life.
So then, because God has revealed everything we need to know in order to be saved, being uninformed, either as to the existence of God, or as to what God requires of us for salvation, will not be an excuse at judgment. In 2 Th. 1:7-8 Paul said that when the Lord returns He will deal out retribution to those who do not know God, and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. Therefore, it behooves us to take advantage of the knowledge God has made available to us in His word. We do not want to stand before God in judgment, uninformed.