Whether it’s on the children’s menu placemat or a recent edition of a children’s magazine, you will often find a favorite game, Search and Find. It’s a game of hidden objects. The leg of that chair is actually a pencil. The book on the bookcase is actually a comb. Testing their powers of observation, children enjoy passing the time with this simple game.
Leviticus 4-5 and Numbers 15 bring up this interesting topic— the sin of ignorance. “And if a soul sin, and commit any of these things which are forbidden to be done by the commandments of the Lord; though he wist it not, yet is he guilty, and shall bear his iniquity” (Leviticus 5:17). What is this all about? These two passages develop the reality, no son of Adam could possibly keep all of the commandments God issued to His people. Although the “sins of ignorance” could be you didn’t know the law, it is more likely these are moments where you unintentionally broke the law.
This opens up an entirely new and depressing world of potentialities! This should immediately disqualify anyone who could ever boast of keeping the whole law, yet Jesus had such a visitor. A rich young ruler runs to Christ, falls to his knees, and declares, “All these things have I kept from my youth up” (Matthew 19:20). Once you consider God is highly aware of our sinfulness and how unaware we are of our sorriness, this young man’s impertinence is astounding! Jesus goes along with the young man and he begins to “play the game” of search and find. “Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 19:18–19). Without being demeaning, Christ challenges the young man to re-examine his life. Your faithfulness to the synagogue on the face looks great, but it may be concealing a different motivation. Your alms-giving seems philanthropic, but how much of God’s blessing have you restrained from others? “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me” (Matthew 19:21).
When God searches, He finds. Therefore, we must offer up the humble prayer, “Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, Our secret sins in the light of thy countenance. Cleanse thou me from secret faults” (Psalm 90:8; Psalm 19:12). Paul realized, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing” (Romans 7:18).
The good news is God’s grace is extremely thorough for “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20). Instead of tabulating every infraction against God, we now live in liberty.
My sin—Oh, the bliss of this glorious thought—
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!