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SHAME on you!

"Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame" (I Corinthians 15:34, KJV).

"Come to your right mind, and sin no more. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame" (RSV).

"Sober up, as is right and stop sinning..." (C.B. Williams' version).

THE WORD "SHAME" in the Greek is a fascinating word. It is translated into English from the word "entropen" from "entrope", which literally means "turning-in upon oneself." found This particular Greek word ("entrope") is only twice in the whole New Testament: here in I Corinthians 15:34 and also in 6:5. Although there are other Greek words that are also translated as "shame."

Why did the Holy Spirit inspire the Apostle Paul to use this particular Greek word ("entrope") instead of other words that may also be translated "shame"?1 Well, a good look at the word will show us the significance of it.

One writer states, "The scientist Clausius, in 1865, selected this word ('entropy' in English) to describe the dissipation of energy, or the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which he helped demonstrate to be a universal law of science...[stating] that the 'entropy' (i.e., the disorganization) of any system tends to increase [i.e., all systems move towards decay]." For example, as I get older, my physical human systems will eventually "run down" and cease to function as they once did. We see how this law alone is able to prove that "Evolution" (macro-evolution) is impossible. "(Macro-)Evolution" means "rolling outward" and implies that the organization/complexity of systems will increase (even beyond their "kind"), which cannot be true since "entropy" is a scientific reality and means "turning inward," implying that systems will decrease in organization/complexity.

The word "shame" in I Corinthians 15:34 comes from the root word "entrepo" (Strong's #1788), which, in the bad sense, means "confound." And, as I already mentioned, "shame" ("entrope") signifies "turning in upon oneself." Therefore, the Apostle Paul was moving the Corinthians to be "confounded" and "turn in upon themselves in shame." He was moving them to entropy--he "decreased" them--so they would see their sins.

Another interesting point is found in verse 33: "Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners" (KJV). The RSV says, "Bad company ruins good morals." W.F. Beck, E.J. Goodspeed, and the New America Bible also use "Bad company." What connection did Paul have in mind with verse 34? Who is this "Bad company"? Is it specifically anyone who denies the resurrection? After all, the entire context deals with Christ's resurrection. Certainly, such "Bad company" would lead men into damnable views like agnosticism (i.e., the belief that the human mind cannot know whether or not there is a God, an "ultimate cause," or anything beyond the realm of "material phenomena"). Was Paul warning them against this evil to keep them from corrupting their morality? Surely he was. Let us take a closer look at the verse.

Did you know that Paul's statement in verse 33 was a quote from a play and a proverbial expression of that day? It was a line in a comedy called Thais which was written by Menander, an Athenian poet who was said to be rich in practical wisdom. Paul may have heard the expression before, or at one time he may have read the play, or God might have shown him the proverb directly. Who knows? It doesn't matter. The principle is true, and Paul emphasized the truth of it.2

"Awake to righteousness." One Bible scholar points out that the King James Version's rendering of verse 34 does not quite catch the significance of Paul's statement. "Awake" actually comes from the idea of "sleeping off a drunken stupor." It is from the verb "eknepsate," meaning "sober up." Also, Paul did not use the noun "righteousness" but the adverb "righteously." So, Paul was telling the people to "SOBER UP RIGHTEOUSLY--TRULY AND WITH EARNESTNESS!" Paul wanted the Corinthians to readily, soberly accept and believe in the resurrection.

The RSV says, "Come to your right mind, and sin no more." A Greek verb in the present imperative form is a command for something to be done in the present. It can be a command to stop something RIGHT NOW. The phrase "sin no more" fits that shade of meaning.

"For some have not the knowledge of God." The Apostle did not mean that some were simply lacking some (intellectual) knowledge of God. Paul used the word "agnosian" from "agnosia," signifying "a lack of real spiritual experience." From this word ("agnosia") we derive our English word "agnostic." So, those who were boasting of their knowledge had absolutely NO real knowledge of the God whom they were supposed to be presently serving.

What we see thus far is that the Christians at Corinth had some in their midst who were "agnostic." So what's new? The modern Church is full of such weirdos, and worse!-- including the majority of the priesthood. "Entropy" is a rather mild term to define the condition of this HELL-BENT generation.

The Christians' sinfulness brought "shame" upon them. So it is today. We have a lazy, crazy, hazy, self-centered, self-righteous, self-loving, self-indulging degeneration. This present degeneration is literally indifferent to all the unbelief, compromise, and just plain ol' sin all around them--in church as well as in the world. That's right, the Church is part of the sinful problem. Drunk on self. Drunk on materialism. Drunk on drink and pills. Literally, this modern degeneration is going to HELL in a Wall Mart shopping cart!

Are you sounding the "WAKE UP" call? Or are you one of those whose sin has brought in entropy and made you lose all sensitivity towards God? Listen, YOU CANNOT TOUCH SIN OR PLAY WITH IT WITHOUT BEING DEFILED. Of course, sin might inadvertently touch you. In any case, repentance washes away the stain of sin.

It goes without saying (but I say it) that everyone is affected by the environment of this sinful world. Yet it is one thing to be affected and worse to willingly give yourself to it. The death-bell is ringing non-stop, louder than ever, all around us. We live in a death culture! But we don't need to give-in to it.

Church folks have given themselves over to "the lust of the flesh and the pride of life" so long now, it is normalized and so no one really notices the problem anymore. But there is a BIG PROBLEM today with SIN. In the end, sin wrecks, ruins, and devastates human lives. Sin has infected the WHOLE human race; but remember, we Christians must NOT yield to it. We have the power, in Christ, to overcome it.

What ever happened to RESISTENCE? Paul commanded the "sinning delinquents" at Corinth to immediately come to their right minds, "and sin no more!" Yes, EVIL communications do CORRUPT good manners. It is a shame to sin. As we said, even the Greek poets knew that "Bad company corrupts good morals," and they included many such sayings in their works.

One proverb among Jewish rabbis goes like this: "There were two dry logs of wood, and one green log; but the dry logs burnt up the green log." Let us not forget that he or she who frequents the company of bad men will soon be just like them! The dry logs will burn up the green one. As a Christian, I have seen this happen too many times. Many a fool has thought himself or herself to be foolproof; but no matter who you are, hanging around the wrong crowd will weaken your faith, even unto the death of it.

The Greek writer Eschylus echoed the truth on this issue: "In every matter there is nothing more deleterious (hurtful) than evil communication." Diodorus said, "With these evil communications he corrupted the morals of man." Another writer said this: "Know this: Thou must not keep company with the wicked, but converse always with good men. With such eat, drink, and associate. Please those who have the greatest virtue. From good men thou mayest learn good things; but if thou keep company with the wicked, thou wilt lose even the intelligence which thou now possessest." I'll say AMEN to that!

In Adam Clarke's New Testament commentary (1814), citing I Corinthians 15:34, Clarke remarks about the phrase "Awake to righteousness" (KJV): "--shake off your slumber; awake surely, thoroughly, as ye ought to do: so the word should be rendered; not awake to righteousness. But in earnest; do not trifle with God, your souls, and eternity."

Today, as in Paul's day, there are innumerable professed Christians who DO NOT KNOW GOD AT ALL. They may have Biblical knowledge to some degree, but they really DO NOT KNOW GOD. As the saying goes, they know some things about the Book but they don't know the Author personally. To be in such a condition of religious darkness--knowing about God, and being content in that, but not knowing God Himself--is dreadful, for the light of God cannot penetrate the soul in that state. Certainly, it is worse to be in that state than to be simply in the dark or without any type of religious knowledge.

Paul may have been speaking to those who were once enlightened and once had good morals but were then corrupted by bad company, or he may have been speaking to those who never really had good morals. Either way, he moved them to "shame" or reproach since they had left God's way, the straight and narrow way, and were walking down to the dark chambers of death. Yes, some even run to embrace dark death.

Friends, where do you stand today? Are you an "agnostic" Christian, without the true knowledge of God, or a true Christian? I am appalled at some of the excuses I hear from professors of Christianity today. They think that by sinning (they would never use the "s" word and call their actions "sin") they are ascending upon higher planes in God. How stupid!

Make NO MISTAKE: error and vice ARE INFECTIOUS! Rouse yourselves in Spirit, professors of Christianity--break off your sins! Do not, by laziness and stupidity, be led away into sinful living that will KILL your Christ-centered hopes. Sadly, too many lie in the world's graveyard, even as I write. They are spiritually dead. Unbelief in God and His Word will destroy ALL virtue and real spiritual piety. It will kill you.

It is a SHAME for Christians not to have knowledge of the Lord and His Word. Those who profess Christianity reproach themselves, shame themselves, by remaining without this vital experiential knowledge. Book knowledge is good; but personal, Spirit-given knowledge, which is more than "head knowledge," is necessary. For sure, it is the ignorance of God--the lack of really knowing God personally--that leads souls directly into DAMNATION.

General James Green

1 See Luke 14:9; Acts 5:41; I Cor. 4:14, 11:6, 11:14, 11:22; Heb. 6:6; Rev. 16:15. These texts contain different Greek words with various meanings that are also translated as "shame."

2 Verse 33 is said to be the only Greek quotation in a genuine Scriptural letter.

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