1 Corinthians 15:34 (NKJV)
34 Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.
No person who has given his life to Jesus wants to sin. Yet, rarely does a day go by that a Christian does not sin. Try as he might, by the end of the day, sin has occurred. If you are not careful it becomes easy to develop the attitude that “oh well, sin happens.”
But I Corinthians 15:34 tells us “do not sin”. God never tells us to do something without empowering us to do it. So, what is the answer? The beginning of that scripture tells us; “Awake to righteousness…” Righteousness means having “right-standing” with God. When you became a Christian a great exchange took place. You became the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus; you were given Jesus’ righteousness and He took your unrighteousness. It was a gift and you can never do anything to earn it or keep it – it just belongs to you by the grace of God!
Many believers read the first part of I Corinthians 15:34 backwards. “Do not sin and awake to righteousness”. Trying not to sin never works. Trying to change behavior constitutes self-effort. Changing behavior doesn’t begin on the outside. It is an inside job. The key to not sinning is found in discovering what the Word of God has to say about you. That is what “awakening to righteousness” is all about.
I Corinthians 15:34 confirms that by saying “for some do not have the knowledge of God.” Without knowing what God’s Word says about you, you have nothing on which to focus. You are like the person who is lost and doesn’t want to be lost, but can’t look beyond where he is. There is no way out, unless you change your focus. Changing your focus starts by changing your “believing”. Right believing begins by focusing on what the Word of says about you; who you are in Christ, what you have been given, and what you can do in Him. As what the Word says about you begins to connect with your spirit (the part of you that is one-third just like Jesus), your soul (mind, will, emotions) begins to see things differently; hence the saying, “Right believing leads to right thinking.”
The answer for not sinning is found in “thinking straight”, according to the Message version of the Bible. It goes on to say, ignorance of God is a luxury you can’t afford in times like these.” That has never been truer than in today’s world. The wonderful thing is that God is not trying to hide any of His Truths from us, He is trying to get them to us and He has put them all in one place – His Word! So no more trying not to sin; it just leads to frustration and a “why even try?” attitude. Determine to “think straight” by believing in and receiving God’s “gift of righteousness” and watch yourself become the person the Word says you are!
1 Corinthians 15:34 (MSG)
34 Think straight. Awaken to the holiness of life. No more playing fast and loose with resurrection facts. Ignorance of God is a luxury you can’t afford in times like these. Aren’t you embarrassed that you’ve let this kind of thing go on as long as you have?
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