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.
We are living in the “dawn.” The night is far gone the day is at hand. It’s not night. But it’s also not morning yet either. Because we live in this very unique time there are three “Morning Questions” that we need to keep in front of us at all times. The first is “Are you awake?” The second is “What are you going to wear today?” And the third is “What are you going to do today?”
Jesus could come back today.
So, does our eschatology affect our ethics? Does the fact that Jesus is going to return change how we live? Should it?
Obviously Paul and the Holy Spirit think it should. We are called to wake up to the reality of Christ’s imminent return, and put on Christ and his armor of light in preparation for his return. And of course we are told how to behave too – cast off the works of darkness; let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy; make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
Because we are in Christ we can put on Christ. We can act like what we are. We should act like what we are.
Paul’s point is pretty simple. What if Jesus was never coming back? Ever? What if he wasn’t going to redeem this world? What if he never rules and reigns on earth? What if you weren’t going to be resurrected to eternal life? What if there is no judgment of our earthly lives? What if you were forever going to be a disembodied soul floating around doing whatever it is that disembodied souls do?
If there is no completion of our salvation, would you embrace your union with Christ? Would you even care about your behavior here on earth? There really wouldn’t be much of a point would there?
But Jesus IS coming back. He is coming back bodily to rescue you bodily. He is going to rule and reign in his eternal kingdom here on the new earth. You will experience God and Jesus and the Spirit in the fullness of your humanity – body, soul, and spirit.
Gladiator’s death: his earthly life passes into the next (the theology may not be perfect but you get the idea).
And here’s the thing that the Bible seems to be saying throughout – we will experience the next life according to how we lived in this life. Paul talked about this a lot in 2 Corinthians:
2 Corinthians 4:17. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,
2 Corinthians 5:6-10. So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
We will take the experiences of this life into the next. The glory we will experience in the return of Christ is connected to how we chose to live in this life. There is a glorious judgment coming whereby we will be honored by Christ for our faithfulness. And this, of course, will be to the praise of his glorious grace because it is only by his grace that we will have remained faithful.
So, what are you going to do today?
Are you going to get out of “bed?” Are you going to “wear Jesus?” Remember, what you wear determines what you will do that day. Put on jammies – lazy day. Put on work clothes – go to work. Put on play clothes – it’s time to play. Put on Jesus – live like Jesus. No works of darkness. No sexual immorality. No drunkenness. No quarreling. No jealousies. No flesh. Instead light, faith, love (more to come in chapter 14).
“To live is Christ” means everything we do in this life matters. It all has eternal meaning. It is all experienced in the next life. It all becomes clear at the return of Christ. All the good (the light) will be eternally turned into honor for us and glory for God. So get out of bed, put on Christ, and get moving as Christ to a world lost in darkness.