Pastor A. W. Weckeman
“AWAKE thou that sleepest and arise from the dead”
The contrast between the two types of believers is strikingly illustrated by the use of the words “awake” and “dead” [In reference to believers] found in (Rom.13:11, 1 Cor.15:34 and Eph.5:14-16). Consider [All emphasis mine]
11.“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to AWAKE out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed 12. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light…” (Rom.13:11-12).
34. “AWAKE to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.” (1 Cor.15:34).
14. “Wherefore he saith, AWAKE thou that sleepest, and arise from the DEAD, and Christ shall give thee light. 15. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16. Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (Eph.5:14-16).
It is obvious from the context that all three of these verses are addressed to “born again” BELIEVERS who are out of fellowship with the Lord.
In Rom.13:12 we see that this stern exhortation has application to the end of the “Church Age” in which we live. “…knowing the time”… “The night is far spent, the day is at hand…”
The warning to, “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the DEAD…” found in (Eph.5:14) is a sobering wake-up call to CHRISTIANS living in the “last days” of the Church Age, during which “perilous times shall come.” (2 Tim.3:1).
In God’s eyes those who are in a “spiritual slumber”, “backslidden” living after the flesh, are DEAD!
Not “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph.2:2) as they were before salvation nor “dead in Christ” referring to their positional standing “in Christ” upon baptism into His death at Calvary (Rom.6:3) but dead in the sense that they “live after the flesh.”
The darkness prior to salvation was due to inherited blindness (Rom.5:17)…darkness after salvation is the result of continual disobedience. “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (1 John 1:6-7).
“Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day. But she that liveth in pleasure is DEAD while she liveth.” (1Tim.5:5-6).
Back to the illustration of the “Thorns” in parable of the Sower
Those who have unwittingly become entangled “with the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches and, the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word…” (Mark 4:19). “…choke the word”, thereby “grieving” and “quenching” the Holy Spirit; living in sin.
“But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” (Isa.59:2).
Carnal believers (who are not new “in Christ”) abiding in this “separated” condition are considered by God to be “asleep” [euphemism for death].
Consider the “Prodigal son”:
“For this my son was DEAD, and is alive again…” (Luke 15:24). The prodigal son was very much alive throughout the whole story; he was dead in the sense that he was separated (by disobedience) from his father.
To live out of fellowship with the Lord is to dwell in darkness concerning the things of God! “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not the truth…”(1 John 1:6).
Hence the warning to BELIEVERS in (Rom.13:12-14), “ …let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light…But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”
“The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single [single in its affections], thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil [Prov.28:22], thy body also is full of darkness. Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness. If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.”(Luke 11:34-36).
“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Gal.5:25).