Excuses are no excuse
Scripture Read: 1 Timothy 1:12-13 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, 13even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief;
Application: Is Paul making excuses for his behavior? He was ignorant, so did it not count? Many people claim they did not know what they were doing so we do not hold them accountable. Is this what Paul means? From scripture we find a very firm no! Ignorance is not the excuse for sin. In the first place most ignorance is willful. We choose not to take the time to find out the truth, either because...
it will trouble us, or cost us something we want, or because we just plain don’t care. Our true heart’s motive is darkened even to our selves Jer. 17:9. How many in the world do believe that when their body dies they continue to exist, yet how many of those same individuals spend any time searching or investigating what they ultimately believe about what happens after death and whether they are prepared. I am not talking about “thinking” about it. All humans think about death constantly, it is the fact that robs us of peace at any moment. That is one of the key changes which will take place after a person has settled this issue with Christ. A peace about death that is clearly not from human origins takes hold of that person’s soul. No longer waking in a sweat at night concerned what will happen if…, no more being at a friend’s funeral and being more consumed with the question of “what will happen to me?” than grief over the loss of your friend. A peace that settles the largest issue in your life, so now you can give your undistracted attention to other things in life. The ignorance that Paul is referring to has to do with something else. Consider the meaning:
ἀγνοέωagnoéō; from the priv. a, not, and noéō, to perceive, understand. Not to recognize or know. - It came to mean to be ignorant, to have no discernment of, not to understand 
So it means just what we would expect – the key then is the context. First, when Paul states he was a blasphemer, we must remember that he realized that his attack was directly on the Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts 9:5; 22:7; 26:14) Paul makes no excuses for what he did – he knows he is an undeserving individual. The ignorance Paul is talking about has to do with how God views us through His mercy when we are outside the Faith. Even Jesus warned the Pharisees that “really” seeing makes a difference:
John 9:39–41 (NASB95) And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.” 40 Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things and said to Him, “We are not blind too, are we?” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.”
Everything Paul did was wrong, but it was in an unregenerate state. He was spiritually blind. He did not know God. As a Pharisee he knew a lot “about” God but he had no intimate knowledge of Him. Because of God’s mercy and grace, He sees what we do before we are enlightened by Christ as things done without a real understanding. Still wrong, but He will forgive and even use you for His glory no matter your past. What a salvation! What a God we have!!! Thank You Father for Your great mercy and grace!
Meditation Questions: Do you make excuses for your sins? What does that say? What is the difference between explaining why you did something and making an excuse? If you can explain why you did something, is there a benefit to that? What is it? When you confess to God your sin what are you doing, informing Him or agreeing with Him? How important is motive to God? Why is this important to understand?
 Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary : New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.