|1 Corinthians 15:33-34 |
33 Do not be deceived. Evil companions corrupt good manners, morals, and integrity.5
34 Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame. [Paul is shaming those believers in the church who think they are righteous while still sinning, just as John warned us not to be deceived in the same. From the Word of the Lord within: "Aim at and pursue righteousness, without which no one will see the Lord. Do not be misled over righteousness; all sin is unrighteousness. If you are still sinning, you belong to sin and not to Me. Do you agree with any who in their arrogance have stated that God excuses evil in believers? It's not fair, but they don't care. The cross is offered to all. In this process of carrying your cross, your sin gradually disappears, within and without, to your satisfaction." There is not even an imputed righteousness until the death of the sinful nature on the inward cross of self-denial. See the definition of righteousness in Footnote 3 of 1 John 3.]
5 Do not be deceived. Evil companions corrupt good manners, morals, and integrity. You cannot socialize with the people of the world without being influenced by their evil conversation and conduct. You must be polite and friendly to the people of the world, which your job and responsibilities bring you into contact, but you should cease socializing with them. As you begin to deny your former evil activities in the world, the basis of your friendships will diminish. As you deny foul language, revelry, drinking, carousing, etc., your friends will become uncomfortable and begin to attack your commitment to goodness. You will no longer have anything to gain from socializing with them. For what fellowship can light have with dark or righteousness with lawlessness? Yes, they think it strange that you do not run with them into the same excess of dissipation, and they speak evil of you. Your former social friendships will necessarily disappear, else they will hate you and persecute you; or worse, drag you back into the world as you seek their approval. Are you trying to win the approval and favor of men, or of God? This doesn't mean that you won't be kind and courteous to those of the world with which your occupation brings you into association; just that you will not socialize with them because it would be painful and harmful to you.