Ignorance is (Not) Bliss


Have you ever been held responsible for something that you were guilty of even though you were not aware of it? You know what I’m talking about. It’s those times you reflexively say, “I didn’t know!” You are convinced that your ignorance should get you off the hook. I said something similar to a police officer who pulled me over for speeding, “Oh officer, I didn’t know the speed limit changed.” Guess what? I still got a ticket. Sometimes it doesn’t matter whether you know it or not, you are still guilty and still responsible. In this passage, Peter explains that we are not exempt from our need to repent just because of our ignorance.

  • How have you tried justifying yourself with the explanation/excuse that you didn’t know?


17 “And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. 18 But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. 19 Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, 20 that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, 21 whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago. 22 Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. 23 And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.’ 24 And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days. 25 You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’ 26 God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness.”

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. Who did Peter say was responsible for the death of Jesus in verse 17?
  2. Who did Peter say was responsible for the death of Jesus in verse 18? How can both be true?
  3. What hope did Peter offer them in verse 19? What does it mean that “your sins may be blotted out”?
  4. What do you think “times of refreshing” (vs. 20) and “the time for restoring all things” (vs. 21) means?
  5. What has repentance looked like in your life? How has that changed your thinking about Jesus?


The Cross is the perfect balance of individual human responsibility for the death of Jesus because of our sin and God’s sovereign rule and responsibility over everything including the death of Jesus. To experience forgiveness (sin being blotted out) and to participate in the peace and prosperity (refreshing and restoring of all things) that will come when Jesus returns, we must first respond to Jesus in repentance and faith. Repentance is more than being sorry, or being sad that you were caught, or feeling bad. Repentance is agreeing with God about what he says is true and changing the way we think about our sin and about Jesus. Unfortunately, our ignorance about what God says is true does not exempt us from needing to repent. At the same time, our guilt does not mean we are beyond his total forgiveness.

  • Ask God to show you the areas of your life where you need to repent—agree with God about what he says is true—and turn back to him.
  • Respond to God with thankfulness for the hope you have that one day all things will be made right again because of what Jesus has, is, and will do.