February 24, 2021 – Wednesday
Romans 13:11-14 NIV
11 And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.
12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.
14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.
Verse eleven above begins and ends And do this . . . because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. What does the And do this refer to? Certainly it would apply to what we read in verses 12-14, but also the preceding verses 8-10, Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
Why do these things? Because we should be understanding the present time. And the present time is such that, The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. Wait a minute here, what slumber is Paul talking about here? Is he implying we might be or are asleep? Yes he is as many Christians all too often sleep walk through their relationship with Jesus. They go through all the motions, even the right motions, but is their heart in it? Are they really awake and aware Jesus might return any moment? And even if He does not return right away, our life might end at any moment and we would then meet Him right away – immediately. Are we prepared to meet Him no matter the circumstances? Are we ready?
If we want to be ready to meet Jesus, Paul provides the instructions on how to be ready. First and foremost, we do this by following the command Love your neighbor as yourself. Then to make sure we got the message, Paul goes on to say, So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Not sure about what the deeds of darkness are? Paul lets us know in no uncertain terms when he writes, Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Then if you want to call yourself a Christen Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ. When we call ourselves Christians, we are wearing an invisible cloak that identifies each of us as a Christian. We are to honor that cloak and not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.
What is this about our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed? Of course, it is about the return of Jesus, but it seems a bit odd. Perhaps because Paul and the other disciples (and others) believed Christ’s return was imminent. Because of this, they wanted their conduct to be such that believers would be ready to meet Jesus. MacLaren’s Exposition reflects this, And this is the grand characteristic of the Christian view of that last solemn moment. ‘Now is our salvation nearer than when we [first] believed.’ So I would note, first of all, what these words teach us should be the Christian view of our own end; and, second, to what conduct that view should lead us. And it will be soon – on God’s timeline, not ours. But we are not to know the day or the hour. Nonetheless even though we do not know when we will meet Jesus, beyond death there is revealed God’s last, sweetest, most triumphant angel-messenger to Christian souls, the great, strong, silent Angel of Death, and he carries in his hand the gift of a full salvation [MacLaren].
Prayer: Heavenly Father – Because of Jesus, I can look beyond death here to eternal life with You, Your Son, and the Holy Spirit. Thank You for such love and mercy for this poor sinner. – In Jesus name. Amen.