A Denver Post newspaper article, entitled, “33 Parolees Linked To 38 Murders In Colorado,” cites numerous examples of inmates who committed murders within a matter of weeks after being paroled. One inmate stabbed his girlfriend to death. Another murdered a woman who was eight months pregnant. A third killed an attorney, who was found in his basement bound by duck tape. When released from prison, these murderers were given a second chance at life. They needed to awake to their opportunity to live a new, lawful, and productive life in our society. Instead, they continued the same criminal behavior they knew prior to being incarcerated.
When the Apostle Paul urged the saints at Corinth to live in light of their coming resurrection to eternal life, he told them, “Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God; I speak this to your shame” (I Corinthians 15:34). From earlier chapters, we learn that the saints at Corinth were not acting very saintly. They were controlled by so much carnality that they could only comprehend the milk of God’s Word. They commonly practiced immorality; and yet, they were puffed up over the limited spiritual knowledge they possessed. From every outward appearance, one would find it difficult to see little that demonstrated new life in Christ. They were effectively living the same kind of sinful lifestyle that they lived prior to trusting in Christ. This mattered, too. The Apostle Paul constantly taught believers to not continue in sin because God’s grace was abundant toward them (Romans 6:1-3), to walk worthy of the sacrifice Christ had made for their salvation (Ephesians 4:1), and not to let the “filthiness” of sin “be once named among you” (Ephesians 5:1-5). Paul used the term, “awake to righteousness” (meaning a righteous lifestyle), warning them that many people within their sphere of influence knew nothing about receiving eternal life by Gods’ grace alone. Their silence with the gospel, and their sinful lives, before lost souls was to their utter “shame.”
Believer, in salvation the Lord Jesus has given you a second chance at living the way you should. Is your speech free from profanity or impure words? Can others see in you a more righteous lifestyle, explained only by your interest in the Lord Jesus and the Bible? Do you seek to share the gospel with lost souls? In each of these areas, we need to awake to righteousness.
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