Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.Romans 13:11(NASB)
'Wake up! Arise, Christian, it is time to awaken from sleep!' What a lovely picture of the weary soul, rising up to meet the morning's freshness, as the first-flush of the sunlight's golden beauty pierces the morning curtain... drawing us back into consciousness, that the day has arrived, and we must wake-up from our slumber and make ready for the duties of the day. "Wake up! This is already the hour for us to wake from sleep!"
But it is not simply the duties of the day that urge us to awaken from our sleep! We are called to wake from any spiritual slumber, "for now our salvation draws ever closer." Christ is coming to take us to be with Himself and the time is getting nearer. How important that we should be ready for His soon return, every moment of every day.
What a meaningful metaphor this picture provides. We are moving nearer to the end of this life's dark night, where we will throw off this tent of flesh and be clothed in our new, glorified, resurrection bodies - and so we shall ever be with the Lord Jesus, for the rest of time and throughout all eternity."Do this!" Paul tells us, "and do this NOW - wake up from your slumbering, knowing that the hour for our salvation is nearer than when we believed!"
In the book of Romans, the apostle Paul has carefully guided us on the most magnificent journey, through God's story of redemption. His letter to the Roman Church begins by detailing the most thorough and systematic teaching on God's divine wrath and justified condemnation of the fallen race of humanity, which is only evil continuously.
However, Paul goes on to reveal the glorious hope of salvation for all who believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. He expounds the wonderful doctrine of justification by faith. He details our ongoing sanctification, as we mature in the faith, grow in grace and learn more of Jesus. And he speaks of the ultimate end of this mortal toil - our glorification when we go to be with JESUS. And it is ALL by faith in the Son of God, Who loved us and gave Himself for us.
Paul explains the wonder of our identification with Christ and His precious identification with us."For if we are become identified with Him in the likeness of His death, so also we shall be identified with His glorious resurrection." Paul then expounds God's wisdom in setting aside the nation of Israel for a season and His ultimate will and purpose as it relates to both Israel and the Church, "that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles is brought in."
It is at this point, as he begins to draw his letter to a close that Paul reminds us that because we are in the last days, it is high time to awaken out of our slumbering sleep. "do this", he urges. WAKE UP! "because you know the time! The hour has already come when we should awake out of sleep; for now, is our salvation nearer than when we believed."
During the times of Paul's ministry, he was encouraging the people of God to wake up from their spiritual slumber. Those in the early Church were exhorted to get ready for the return of the Lord Jesus. And two thousand years later this instruction still stands, but is increasingly urgent. Every day that passes is one day closer to the day when the trumpet will sound, the dead in Christ will be raised from their graves in incorruptible bodies, and we who are alive and remain will be caught up, together with them, into the clouds... to meet JESUS in the air. And so we shall ever be with the Lord.
What precious encouragement to the Body of Christ. How wonderful to be reminded that Jesus is coming back SOON. We have been given the blessed hope of His imminent return, and we are to establish it anew in our hearts, every moment of every day. Throughout our Christian life, our focus should always be on Christ, but as the time for His return draws ever closer we are exhorted to WAKE UP, from our spiritual sleep, and remember that our salvation... i.e. when we are raptured into Christ's presence, is closer than the day when we first trusted in Him as Saviour.
Let us joyfully embrace these revitalising words of Paul and rouse ourselves from any spiritual slumber, into which we may have drifted. Ane let us become alert and ready - watching and waiting for His soon return. And let us seek to use the time we have left on earth.. wisely.
Thank You, Father, that Your promises are 'yes' and 'amen' in Jesus, our Lord, and that His return is getting closer with each passing day. I pray I may throw off any impassivity that has developed in my heart, wake up from any spiritual slumber, and remember the importance of redeeming the time I have left – to Your praise and glory. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.