A Little Bit of Knowledge Can Be Dangerous
And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works. Revelation 2:23
A little bit of knowledge, without understanding the big picture, can be quite dangerous. When I was a kid, I saw those on TV who could ride a skateboard up to a high jump bar and jump over it, as the skateboard went under. I was intended to do this – only I didn’t know how to skateboard. I didn’t know that those on TV had spent years practicing. I only knew that it looked easy and that my brother had a skateboard. So, I set up a high jump bar in the basement and gave it a go. I remember lying on the ground, with head pounding and ears ringing, wondering how I’d gotten there. In my first attempt, I’d struck my head on our concrete floor. There was no second attempt. I’d learned a painful lesson.
A little bit of knowledge, without understanding the big picture, can be dangerous. This is often seen in matters of faith. I once met a man who was convinced that God was completely blind to his sin. He’d learned a Bible verse about God remembering our sins no more (Hebrews 8:12) and he understood that, because of God’s mercy, he’s now completely ignorant of our failures. God can’t see it when I sin. It’s an absurd idea, but it came about by knowing only one passage – part of the truth. As ridiculous as the theory sounds, it’s not uncommon for Christians to believe, because we’re forgiven, that Christ doesn’t discipline us. As Christians, we tend to think that the strings between our action and consequence have been cut.
The Bible does teach that God forgives our sins and that we’re restored to a relationship with him, but that relationship is still that of a parent and child. As a father, as my kids were growing up, I may have forgiven them for every wrong. There was nothing they could have done to make them not my children. But that didn’t mean I didn’t discipline them. In fact, the opposite was true. If I loved them, I had to discipline them.
Knowing God – being forgiven – does mean that we may live in the security of an eternal relationship with God the father. This doesn’t mean though that we don’t reap what we sow. We may be destined for heaven, but if we follow our own path, we’ll experience misery and pain here and now. If, however, we abandon our way for God’s, we will experience the life, joy, and peace found only in following him. And that is the full truth.