When We Know Better

Michael Beck

“For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.” (2 Peter 2:21)

Some know better than others. Of the nation of Israel, God said: “He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them.” (Ps. 147:19,20) What a privilege belonged to the seed of Jacob, in being able to talk to God and hear from God. “For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?” (Deut. 4:7,8)

But with privilege comes responsibility. “Hear this word that the LORD hath spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying, You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.” (Amos 3:1,2)

God holds us accountable to the degree of our knowledge:

“And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” (Luke 12:47,48)

Men take pride in what they know more than other men. Knowledge makes us proud. To know what God has commanded is a good thing, but only if we keep it. If we don’t, it only increases our guilt.

Those who were part of God’s old covenant community knew His law like no other people on the face of the earth; but judgment came first to them because they failed to obey what they knew was God’s will. We, in the church, who are part of God’s new covenant family have a far greater privilege and responsibility than even Israel of old. Why? Because we have not only been taught in Christ, but we have been given power in Christ to keep all He would teach us. We not only know better, we can do better.

“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation …” (Hebrews 2:1-3)

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.