Reading through Romans
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory. You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.
A reading from Romans: Romans 13:11-14 (NLT)
This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living. Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.
Reflection: Romans 13:11-14 (John Stott, The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World)
The will of God for changed relationships: (Romans 12:1–15:13)
All believers, irrespective of their ethnic origin, are brothers and sisters in the one international family of God, and so all have precisely the same vocation to be the holy, committed, humble, loving and conscientious people of God.
(Romans 13:11-14) Our relationship to the day: living in the ‘already’ and the ‘not yet’
Understanding the time (Romans 13:11–12a)
One of the features of the technological society is that we are the slaves of time. We all wear watches and keep careful track of the passing time. But it is more important to know God’s time, especially the kairos, the present time (11a), the existential moment of opportunity and decision…. Here, then, are the apostle’s three time references. The time is already here for us to wake up (11a); now our salvation is nearer than it was (11b); and the night has nearly given place to the day (12a). It is the familiar tension between the ‘now already’ of Christ’s first coming and the ‘not yet’ of his second.
Understanding what is appropriate to the time (Romans 13:12b–14)
1. Appropriate clothing: what (in the light of the time) it is appropriate for us to wear? The picture is that, because of the hour, we must not only wake up and get up, but get dressed as well. We must take off our night clothes, the deeds of darkness, and put on instead, as suitable daytime equipment for the soldiers of Christ, the armor of light.
2. Appropriate behavior: let us behave decently… as if the day had already dawned, and turn from the kind of things people do under cover of darkness: not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Opposed to decent Christian behavior is lack of self-control in the areas of drink, sex and social relationships.
3. Appropriate preoccupation: what it is which engrosses our attention as Christian people? The alternative set before us is either the Lord Jesus Christ or our fallen self-centered nature…. It is not only Christlikeness (‘compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience’) that we are to assume, but Christ himself, laying hold of him, and ‘living under him as Lord’.
In summary: Romans 13 began with important teaching about how we can be good citizens (1–7) and good neighbors (8–10); it ends with why we should be. There is no greater incentive to the doing of these duties than a lively expectation of the Lord’s return…. That day is steadily approaching. Our calling is to live in the light of it, to behave in the continuing night as if the day had dawned, to enjoy the ‘now already’ of the inaugurated kingdom in the certain knowledge that what is still ‘not yet’, namely the consummated kingdom, will soon arrive.
“Wayfaring Stranger” – Selah
Christ, as a light illumine and guide me. Christ, as a shield overshadow me. Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me on my left and my right. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Be in the heart of each to whom I speak; in the mouth of each who speaks unto me. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside me on my left and my right.
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen