Someone said about the Bible, “This book will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from this book.”
Thucydides, a Greek historian, wrote of his culture that “people committed every shameful crime and eagerly snatched at every lustful pleasure.” They denied any afterlife; thus no one would hold them accountable for a self–centered life.
To awaken means “to sober up, come to our right senses or a proper state of mind.” The idea is to “return to one’s self from drunkenness and thus be sober.” Anyone who believes in the resurrection knows there is a living God to Whom all persons must render an account of their lives, so the pursuit of meaningless goals or temporary gratification is not an adequate reason for existing.
Paul commanded those deceived by false notions to “cease from their sinning,” whatever those addictive sins might be. One commentator wrote, “Paul regularly regards sin less in terms (if at all) of acts (plural) or commission or omission than as an attitude, stance, and state in which the human will is granted ‘autonomy’ to turn away from God to seek self–gratification as the chief end of human life” (Pannenburg, Systematic Theology, 2:231–-76).
By implication, Paul states that the primary purpose of ife is to make sure that everyone, everywhere, has “the knowledge of God.” Those who selfishly live for themselves—-as though finding success, pleasure, and happiness were the primary goals of Christians—-have little or no interest in the four thousand people groups who have never heard of Jesus and who have no idea of God’s revelation in the Bible.
Paul spoke of this to their “shame,” which means “a state of embarrassment resulting from what one has done or failed to do.” Can God trust you to make contact with an unbeliever to teach him or her how to know God personally? Are you fulfilling your purpose in this life?
“Lord, apathy so easily grips my heart as my desires drift toward selfishness and self–interests. Please bring people into my life to exhort me to stay focused on reaching the lost and eternal values.”
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