Yes, it is still a sin and you will be held accountable for it. I would encourage you to read Leviticus 4 where God taught His people that their “sins of ignorance” were still sins that needed to be forgiven. He covers everyone in this chapter; the priest in mentioned in verse 2, the congregation in verse 13, the ruler in verse 22, and the common man in verse 27. Leviticus 5:17 continues this subject with these solemn words, “If a person sins, and commits any of these things which are forbidden to be done by the commandments of the LORD, THOUGH HE DOES NOT KNOW IT, YET HE IS GUILTY AND SHALL BEAR HIS INIQUITY” (NASB).  This makes it crystal-clear that we are not only guilty of any sin we commit, but that there is a punishment attached to that sin.

In Luke 12:47-48 the Lord Jesus made a distinction in the punishment of one who commits a sin willfully against God and one who sins in ignorance. He said, “And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few” (NKJV). This teaches us that “ignorance does not excuse a man from the responsibility for his sin,” and it reinforces what we saw above, “though he does not know it, yet he is guilty and shall bear his iniquity.” The punishment for a “sin of ignorance” won’t be as severe as the punishment for a “willful sin,” but it will still be punished. The fact that one is held responsible for “sins of ignorance” holds true in man’s government as well. You may be driving down a highway where the speed limit is 55 mph and if you are going 70 mph you may be stopped by the highway patrol and fined for breaking the law. You may plead with the officer, “But I DIDN’T KNOW the speed limit was 55 mph,” and he may very well respond with these words, “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.”

We have a good example of this in Scripture. In Luke 23:34 Jesus prayed from the cross, “Father, forgive them; for THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO.” The apostle Paul echoed this truth in 1st Corinthians 2:8, “Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” Yet in spite of their ignorance, THEY WERE GUILTY! Their guilt was pressed upon them by the apostle Peter in Acts 3:14, 15,17 & 19, “But you denied the Holy One and the Just…and killed the Prince of life…Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did your rulers….Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.” Is it not precious to see that Peter not only charged them with their guilt of crucifying the Messiah, but he encouraged them to repent, so they would be converted and their sins would be blotted out? If you read Leviticus 4 you will see that a sin offering was provided for all of their sins of ignorance. We saw from Luke 23:34 that Jesus prayed that His murderers would be forgiven. All of those sin offerings pointed to the supreme SIN-OFFERING that Christ made on the cross of Calvary. Christ died for ALL OUR SINS, not only the sins we committed willfully, but for our sins of ignorance too! We would plead with anyone reading these lines who have not experienced God’s wonderful forgiveness through Christ to believe this precious promise from Acts 13:38-39, “Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses” (NKJV).  (205.3)  (DO)