Battling Unbelief – Misplaced Shame Pt. 4

Scripture: 1 Timothy 1:6–12

Well-Placed Shame

The same God-centeredness will be seen if we look at some texts that illustrate well-placed shame.

1 Corinthians 15:34 (NASB) “Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.”

Here Paul says that these people ought to feel shame. “I say this to your shame.” Their shame would be well-placed if they saw their deplorable ignorance of God and how it was leading to false doctrine (no resurrection) and sin in the church. In other words well-placed shame is shame for what dishonors God—ignorance of God, sin against God, false beliefs about God.

1 Corinthians 6:5 (NASB) “I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not among you one wise man who will be able to decide between his brethren,”

The Christians were going to secular courts to settle disputes among themselves. Paul rebukes them.

I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no man among you wise enough to decide between members of the brotherhood?

Again he says they should feel shame: “I say this to your shame.” Their shame would be well-placed because their behavior is bringing such disrepute upon their God as they fight one another and seek help from the godless to settle their disputes. A well-placed shame is the shame you feel because you are involved in dishonoring God.

And let’s not miss this implication: these people were trying their best to appear strong and right. They wanted to be vindicated by men. They wanted to be winners in court. They didn’t want anyone to run over them as though they had no rights. That would look weak and shameful. So in the very act of wanting to avoid shame as the world sees it, they fell into the very behavior that God counts shameful.

The point is: when you are dishonoring God, you ought to feel shame, no matter how strong or wise or right you are in the eyes of men.

John Piper

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