Romans 13:11-14. Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. 12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
In Romans 13:11-14 Paul is moving us from some very specific instruction on how to love to some very big reminders of the realities in which we live today as Christians. Over the next 3 days we will play off Paul’s metaphor of “waking up” and ask three “Morning Questions.” These are three questions that you’ve probably asked someone or have been asked by someone in the morning: 1) Are you awake? 2) What are you going to wear today? 3) What are you going to do today?
Romans 13:11-12a. Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. 12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand.
Question 1) Are you awake?
We live in a very unique time in history. It’s a parenthesis within God’s redemption story. The time between the ages. The “Already but Not Yet.” Or as Paul describes it here, the dawn – the night is almost gone, the day is at hand.
This is part of being IN CHRIST. Christ is in us by the Spirit. We have his love, joy, peace, (all the fruit) inside of us. We have hope. The sun is rising!
But we also are not yet with Christ. He is not fully formed in us. We battle the flesh, and indwelling sin every day. We struggle. We fall. We fail. It’s still dark outside (and maybe a bit foggy).
We live in the space between dark and dawn – part ogre part princess. But will that stop us from waking up and learning to love?
Here’s the problem for us as Christians. We have no idea when Jesus is coming back. It’s been a 2000 year sunrise. But as Paul says, we do know that every minute we live we are one minute closer. Salvation is nearer to us now then when we first believed.
But Paul isn’t trying to say that “Jesus is coming soon.” He’s trying to remind us that Jesus could come back at any moment. Biblically there is nothing preventing Jesus from returning. There is nothing left to be fulfilled before he can appear. The “fullness of time” is here again.
Our mindset as Christians shouldn’t be “Jesus is coming soon” – “we’re definitely living in the last days,” “look at all the prophecies being fulfilled,” “things are so bad it can’t be long now,” – things Christians have been saying for 2000 years.
Rather, our mindset as Christians must be “Jesus could come today.”
Yes, there is a difference. “Jesus is coming soon” can become a mindset of defeat. To live from the darkness, trying to escape it. Avoiding suffering. “Get me out of here!”
But “Jesus could come today” is a mindset of hope. Rather than “get me out of here,” it’s “welcome back.” “Let me show you what I’ve been doing.” “Make your home with us.” “Make everything right again.” “Your kingdom come!” (Not take me away).
This is what union with Christ longs for. Not an escape but a return. His new creation IN US completed and expanded to the whole earth.
So wake up! Get out of bed. Stop hitting the snooze. The bridegroom may come today.
Are you living from this perspective? Jesus could come today. And what if he was and you knew it? How would you live? How would you love? Would you love an enemy that you’ve been ignoring? Would you forgive him? Would you reconcile with her? Would you keep holding that grudge? Would you stop anything? Start anything? Would you cry out in repentance? Would you take a chance? Would you trust God more than the day before? What would you do? Would you overcome evil with good?
Then do it today. Because Jesus is already here, in us. The Church.
Are you awake? Are you out of bed?
“To live is Christ” means the thought of Jesus returning is beyond amazing. You will be united fully to your Savior. You will be so alive it will feel like a dream that you never want to wake up from. But that dream isn’t this time. And it isn’t this place. It’s yet to come. So stop dreaming and get out of bed and start planning what you’re going to wear today and what you’re going to do today.