The apostle represents the Corinthians as inebriated with bad principles and notions, and as fallen asleep, and as greatly remiss, and declined in the exercise of grace and discharge of duty; and therefore calls upon them to awake out of sleep, to watch and be sober, and attend to “righteousness”; which requires the resurrection of the dead. So it is but just, that those bodies which Christ has purchased with His blood, who have served Him, and suffered for His sake, should be raised again, that, together with their souls, they may enjoy the happiness provided for them. But it is also just that they rise to the righteousness of Christ, to look unto it, lay hold on it, exercise faith upon it, desiring to be found in it living and dying; and to works of righteousness, to a holy life and conversation, a living soberly, righteously and godly; and not spend their time in things which were so far from being edifying, that they were very detrimental to themselves and others.
The Vulgate Latin version reads, “Awake, ye righteous”: for righteous persons, good men, the wise as well as foolish sometimes fall asleep, and need awaking out of it; which is done by one providence or another, or by the ministry of the word, and whenever to purpose, by the powerful and efficacious grace of God. It becomes you, and it is just, right, and proper you should “sin not”; not that they could be, or that it could be thought they might be without sin in them, or without sin being done by them; but that they ought not to live a sinful course of life, which the denial of the resurrection led unto. Let me awake to righteousness and sin not; let me study to live such a life as evidences a risen and victorious Saviour.
“Oh cursed sin! It was you who slew my dear Lord! For your sake He underwent all this! If your vileness had not been so great, His sufferings had not been so many. Cursed sin! You were the knife which stabbed Him!”—John Flavel
Adapted from John Gill