Willfully Ignorant

They deliberately forget that God made the heavens long ago by the word of his command, and he brought the earth out from the water and surrounded it with water.”—2 Peter 3:5 (NLT)

It’s been said that ignorance is bliss. Essentially, this means if you don’t know about something, you don’t have to worry about it.

In today’s verse, the apostle Peter tells us that some people are, as one translation puts it, “willfully ignorant” of God’s work in creation. In context, the passage is Peter assuring people that Jesus’ promise to return is true. You see, many in the early Church believed Jesus was coming back in their generation, within a few years of His ascension. And when He didn’t come back, scoffers came “mocking the truth and following their own desires” (2 Peter 3:3 NLT). 

These scoffers are people whom Matthew Henry says “make light of sin, and mock at salvation by Jesus Christ.” It sounds like a great many people today, people who scoff at the notion of God’s existence, of prayer, or of the truth revealed through His Word. 

Here’s the thing, though. In the context of this passage in 2 Peter, the scoffers mocked because the day of Christ hadn’t yet come. To this, Peter responded: “The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief” (2 Peter 3:8–10 NLT). He explains why the Lord hasn’t come and assures us that He will come!

In the same way, today people scoff at the existence of the Lord, willfully ignorant and antagonistic of salvation in Jesus and the truth of God’s Word . . . but is this ignorance bliss? As Paul would say, “Certainly not,” because “since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God” (Romans 1:20 NLT, emphasis added). 

So, what should we as Christians do with this? We should pull out all the stops to ensure NO ONE is left ignorant, willful or otherwise. Why? Because as Peter said, the day of Jesus is coming, and as Paul said, people will have no excuse. So, let’s take the gospel to the ends of the earth, let’s live it, and let’s serve and love everyone, even the scoffers.

DIG: Have you ever encountered a scoffer? How did you react?

DISCOVER: What do you believe Romans 1 and 2 Peter 3 express about God and His character? How does this impact your life and the way you interact with others? 

DO: If you know someone who is “willfully ignorant” today, pray for them. Ask the Lord to do a work in their heart. Find ways to serve them, love them, and engage in personal evangelism with them. 

About the Author

Danny Saavedra

Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.