Ignorance of Duty Is No Excuse

The Holiness of the Here and Now – Part 63

The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.

–Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 (ESV)

Here is the matter made clear beyond a doubt: “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” This is all a man must do for his part. This is what active faithfulness is made of. If he fulfills his part, God will do the rest. Grace waits only for this, and the wonders it works will be beyond your comprehension.

–Jean Pierre de Caussade

Your duty is not just to do what seems best to you. Your duty is to know the commandments of God and do them. The Bible reveals God’s will, and you are responsible to know it and act accordingly. Furthermore, you are to know his will so well that it determines your first instinct in every situation. Only then can you truly be said to be doing your duty. On the other hand, if you are ignorant of his commandments, you are ignorant by neglect, and you will never fulfill what Ecclesiastes calls your “whole duty.”

Ecclesiastes goes on to promise that “God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.” There is comfort in this thought. It might not be apparent at first, but it becomes more so as you continue along the path of abandonment. For the judge is good at what he does. Just as he sees evil where no one else sees it, so also, he sees good wherever, whenever, and however it takes place.

If you know your duty, every moment is an opportunity to do good, and the good you do will be judged for what it is. The judge misses nothing, but he is easy to please if you know what pleases him.

Simple obedience is the playground of grace. Know his will and do it, and watch heaven pour itself into your life.


The Holiness of the Here and Now is a daily devotional that I am currently working on. When I am finished, there will be 365 chapters like the one above. Meanwhile, I am sharing this work-in-progress. Like the Facebook page to see content like this in your feed.

Daily Guidance and Encouragement for Living in the Presence of God
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