Saturday, 28 March 2015
Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame. 1 Corinthians 15:34
Paul now sums up the entire passage of 1 Corinthians 15 thus far. After this, he will head in a slightly different direction while still speaking of the resurrection. But here, after concluding his defense of the resurrection, he provides a stinging rebuke intended to keep the Corinthians (and thus us!) from heading down the path of doubt or heresy again.
In doing so, he begins with “Awake.” The Greek word is eknepho. It is used only this once in the New Testament and can be rightly translated as “sober up!” It is indicates awakening as if from a drunken stupor. When someone is tired, they may be naive about a matter but still able to think clearly. However, when in a drunken stupor, right thinking isn’t possible. He had given all of the evidences and defenses necessary concerning the resurrection. Now they needed to soberly process them.
He continues on with “to righteousness.” This is an adverb and so the thought is more appropriately rendered, “Sober up righteously.” He is asking them to come to a state of sound doctrine and to live by it. In order to do so, he further implores them by saying, “and do not sin.” The implication here (which should be taken as an axiom) is that bad doctrine is sin.
When one is presented with proper doctrine, and they either reject it or are unwilling to take the time to understand it, they err. Nobody will be able to say, “I just didn’t have time to learn the truth.” Man finds time for every unnecessary thing on earth, but fails to make time for knowing, fellowshipping with, and being obedient to his Creator. This is sin.
To confirm that “do not sin” is tied to proper doctrine, he next says, “…for some do not have the knowledge of God.” In particular, he is speaking about those in verse 12. There he said that “some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead.” As the resurrection is one of the principle doctrines of the faith, to believe such rubbish, or to teach it, is sin.
People come along all the time making unfounded statements about Christianity, either purposefully or out of incompetence. To listen to such people can only lead down Heresy Highway and then on to Apostasy Avenue. And so to be caught up in their lies shows a true dullness of mind. In order for them to realize this, he says, “I speak this to your shame.” He is speaking to the entire church at Corinth, but also to each individual. And because his words are recorded in the Bible, he is speaking to all churches and all individuals.
We are all individually responsible for our doctrine. It is true that teachers are more so (see James 3:1), but everyone should at least know the basics of the faith. When a cult comes knocking at the door, there should be enough knowledge of Scripture to tell them to beat it and stop teaching falsities.
Life application: What is of most value to you in this life? Everything we possess and everything we do is temporary and will eventually disappear into obscurity… except our relationship with the Lord. And the only way to properly understand this relationship is through knowing Scripture. If you aren’t reading it and studying it constantly, you are showing great disrespect to the Lord who gave it to you.
The most precious treasure I could ever own sits by my bed getting dusty. And yet I wouldn’t allow such neglect if my car was getting rusty. The book which holds all of the answers that I need; this is ignored for other things… I pass it by with speed. The word of God which will be opened on that great Judgment Day; it is carelessly overlooked so that I can play. Forgive me for such neglect; in my soul great sin I detect. Please O God help me get my priorities right; and to pursue Your word as my highest delight. Amen.