I Corinthians 15:34
“Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God:
I speak this to your shame.”
I remember on evening, while on family vacation, my father took us to see a well known Christian camp and conference center. We were driving on the roads running through the complex, and it seemed to be a ghost town. We saw no one! When we got back to the entrance, the exit gate was shut and locked. Evidently we were in there too late. This was quite a problem because no one was around. We could not drive around the gate because there was a hill on either side (that did not stop my dad from trying), so as a last ditch effort my dad walked into town and used the pay phone to call the center to have someone come and let us out. Fortunately, he got a hold of someone, and they sent the gatekeeper. While at the pay phone, my dad met a couple in a pickup truck and told them what had happened. They offered to give him a ride back to us. When they returned the woman gave me and all of my brothers hugs and told us that she had missed us and was acting very strangely, like she was our long lost grandmother. Being a child, I didn’t understand why she was acting so strangely. My mom told us after they left that the woman was a bit intoxicated. I will never forget it!
We are all familiar with the effects of alcohol on an individual. Alcohol causes people to not walk, talk and think straight. It is easy to look at a life that is under the control of alcohol and shake your head. It is easy to see the sinfulness of that kind of lifestyle. Yet Christians can become intoxicated spiritually. You say. “What?” Here in our text verse Paul told the Corinthian believers to “Awake to righteousness…” The word “Awake” means to return from a drunken stupor— a drunken stupor to what? To righteousness. Christians can become intoxicated by carnality. In other words, they can come under the influence and control of carnal things which will cause them to walk, talk and think wrong. God commands us to return to righteousness from a drunken stupor brought on by “drinking” carnality. He further commands us to “…sin not….” The idea is that we are to completely abstain from that which carnally intoxicates us. We allow ourselves to come under the influence of many fleshly pleasures that cause us to be in a spiritual “drunken stupor”. The reason Paul gives for why we must return from this stupor is found in the phrase “…for some have not the knowledge of God…”. There are those who do not know God and the power of the resurrection whom we pass by in our daily life and do not notice because we are under the control of carnality. We are powerless to share with them the knowledge of God. Paul spoke this to the Corinthian’s shame and to ours as well. What carnal thing “intoxicates” you so that you do not see the need of those around you without the knowledge of God? You do not have to continue on that way. In the words of the hymn writer:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in his wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.