Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God–I say this to your shame. 1 Cor. 15:34
I have quoted this verse a lot over the last several years. But this morning I think it would be wise for us to look at this verse (the entire verse) very carefully. Remember that the New Testament was not written to the unbeliever. It was written to the Saints…and for the Saints. The minds of the sinners are darkened and blinded according to the New Testament. They could never understand it anyways; it’s a spiritual book from a spiritual God to spiritual people.
So here we have Paul saying to Christians: “Quit Sinning!!” Why would Paul even have to say this to Christians? Because they were sinning, and they thought they could continue on in sin and still make it to Heaven in the end. HA!!! Not a chance. As one brother so aptly put it: “But let not any man infer from this longsuffering of God, that He has given any one a license to sin. Neither let any dare to continue in sin, because of these extraordinary instances of divine mercy. This is the most desperate, the most irrational presumption, and leads to utter, irrecoverable destruction. In all my experience, I have not known one who fortified himself in sin by a presumption that God would save him at the last, that was not miserably disappointed, and allowed to die in his sins. To turn the grace of God into an encouragement to sin is the surest way to the nethermost hell!” John Wesley
These were Christians in the Church at Corinth…and they were sinning. Otherwise, Paul would not have had to say to them “stop sinning.” Hear what another verse to the Galatian church says, “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Notice that the list is not complete; because Paul (the Holy Spirit actually) uses the phrase “and things like these.” In other words, there are many more things that could be added to this list. But I would like to draw your attention to the part where he says, “I warn you, as I warned you before…” Paul is warning Christians here in this segment of scripture…but the interesting part is that he said that he had warned them before. While he was with them, he warned them of who would ultimately make it, and who wouldn’t. So…if you call yourself a Christian, and you’re involved with any of these sins that are listed (or anything else that could be added to this list), then you’re a secret sinner and you will not make it in the end. Sin has deceived you; and you have deceived yourself. May you enjoy the pleasures of your sin while you can.
Sin is insanity. If you’re living in sin, then you’re insane. It is recorded in Luke 15:17 ““But when he came to his senses…” The prodigal son (the backslider) had lost his marbles; he had lost his senses. Sin causes spiritual (and natural) insanity. And our opening verse that we are commenting on here states “Come back to your senses.” They had lost their senses. How? The very next clause in the verse tells us how…by SINNING.
Then he goes on to say “for there are some who are ignorant of God.” What he is saying here is that he expects people who are ignorant of God and God’s ways, will, word, commands, and demands to be doing something…sinning. They have no knowledge of God…this is to be expected of them. People are called sinners for one reason…they sin. Christians are called Christians for one reason…they’re Christ-like. And guess what? Christ didn’t sin. I hear people (even other ministers) say all the time, “Everyone is going to sin, it can’t be helped.” Please give me chapter and verse for that. I’ve read the New Testament almost 100 times, and certain portions of it much more than that…and if it’s in there, I guess I’ve overlooked it all this time. 1 Peter 2:21-22 plainly tells us to follow Christ’s example and to follow in His steps. What is the example He gave; and what steps are we to be following in? Verse 22 says, “Who committed no sin.” It’s as simple as that. That’s your example, and those are the steps you are to be following in.
But you who are reading this article are not ignorant of God. He expects so much more out of you concerning your living. Are you a secret sinner. Are you gratifying the desires of the flesh and of the mind, or are you denying it? Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. (Eph. 2:3) This is why only a few will make it. Those are Jesus’ words, not mine. Nothing unclean or unholy will be allowed in. I’ve had some say to me that they’ll just lose their rewards then, but at least they made it. They’re deceived. Rewards are not based upon your living…they’re based upon your obedience to the work that God gave you to do. Winning the Father and His Son is the reward for your living…making Heaven is the reward for your living. But your living (a secret sinner or a holy Saint) is what determines whether or not you will even make it. One of the articles I wrote is entitled “The Death Penalty…Reinstated” and in this article I showed (and listed) the 42 death-penalty sins listed in the New Testament. And all of these death-penalty sins were addressed to Christians. It said in each of the three lists that those who committed such things would not inherit the kingdom of God. Never forget what Paul said to the Ephesian elders (Christians) in his farewell speech to them: “Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.” Acts 20:31. Why would he even have to be warning Christians if there wasn’t the possibility of some of them failing to make it there after all?
Paul ends our subject verse with “I say this to your shame.” In other words, if you call yourself a Christian and you are sinning, you should be ashamed of yourself, because you know better. Anyone that has read the New Testament at least once, or has read Psalms or Proverbs at least once knows better. Hell is full of “Christians” who professed Christ, but did not possess Christ. Christ was on their lips, but He was not on their minds. Christ was on a necklace, but He was not on their hearts. Secretly, they loved sin, sins, and sinning…and they loved living in it. And they reaped the just desserts of their hearts desire. What a fitting recompense…the fires of hell for the fires of lust, greed, lying, stealing, immorality, etc., etc., etc. Paul said that he warned men night and day. I’m warning you. I’ve been commanded to warn you. Whether you hear or not is up to you…but Christ Himself has instructed me to warn all men, women, and children who profess His name to back it up by their living.
Otherwise they are taking His name in vain. Remember a teaching I did two years ago showing that taking the Lord’s name in vain has nothing to do with using it as a curse word…it has everything though to do with taking His name wherever you go. A wife takes the last name of her husband – she takes the name wherever she goes – it’s on her checks, drivers license, mortgage, insurance, etc – wherever she goes she is physically taking that name with her. If you call yourself a Christian, then you are taking His name into your workplace, school, home, YMCA, restaurants, etc. But if you are living the life of a hypocrite in your workplace, at your school, at the YMCA in front of your friends, when you go to restaurants, etc., then you are taking the name of the Lord in vain…and it says that He will not hold him guiltless who does this. Using the Lord’s name as a curse word is dealt with somewhere else in scripture. Can you see the difference? Have you taken His name? Do you call yourself a “Christian”? If so, then you have taken His name. Now, if you profane that name by your hypocritical living, then you have “taken” His name in vain, and you will be held accountable for it. This is a very serious crime. In my mind (and from my own personal study) this is one of the top three spiritual crimes someone claiming to be a Christian can commit.
Oh dear secret sinner – turn from all your filth
Oh secret sinking sinner – be cleansed from all your guilt
Oh thou blind secret sinner – come, it’s not too late
I love you secret sinner – I’m waiting at the gate
The lights are on – the table is set
Invitations sent – I’ve cast the net
Repent and turn – it’s in the Bible
Unless you do – you’ll be held libel
Slipping secret sinner – I’ve done all that I can
Wayward secret sinner – I redeemed the fall of man
Lost and lonely secret sinner – the weight of sin is great
I love you secret sinner – I’m waiting at the gate