Romans 13: Your Wake Up Call

Read Romans 13:11-14

Your Wake Up Call

The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because
our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.
~Romans 13:11

Digging Deeper: It has been nearly 2,000 years since Christians first began to look for the second coming of Christ, and still he has not returned.  Sadly, his delay has caused the alertness of far too many believers to dim; perhaps that is the case for you.  But as you consider the promise of his return, please don’t confuse his slowness with lateness. You see, God’s timing is still perfect, his plan for the end times is still in effect, and his delay has done absolutely nothing to impugn the truth that we are indeed living in the last days.

In fact, Paul would argue that Christ’s delay can only mean one thing: We are even closer to the day when the Father says, “enough is enough—it is finished!” and sends the Son to restore order to the chaotic mess man has made of what was once God’s garden. That day is closer than ever, my friend, and even though there has been no sign of Christ, the signs of his return are everywhere. So as Paul would say, wake up, and jettison the activities of the night!

What is it, exactly, that people do at night?  For one thing, they sleep, Now that is not a bad activity in itself, but in the spiritual dimension, sleeping in the end times is akin to both inactivity in the work of the kingdom as well as in-alertness to the King’s coming—both serious spiritual faux pas according to Matthew 25.

If you are spiritually inactive or unaware, this is your wake up call—and it’s the most important one you’ll ever receive!

People also dream at night.  Though not all dreaming is bad, dreams can either be fear-producing nightmares that paralyze our spiritual vitality, or time-wasting fantasizing that cause us to avoid our spiritual responsibilities.  Dreaming in this sense is symbolic of being diverted from the serious minded, fruitbearing living to which Christians have been called. Paul teaches in Ephesians 5:15-17 to “be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”

If you are spiritually paralyzed by fear or living in a spiritual la-la land, this is your wake up call—and it’s the most important one you’ll ever receive!

Partying is the other activity some people do at night.  Though not all parties are bad, this kind of partying is symbolic of believers who sacrifice their purity for momentary pleasure-fixes. Paul hits this one pretty hard (Romans 13:14)—drunkenness, sexual immorality, debauchery (a reference to wickedness in general), plus dissension and jealousy (a couple of other expected outcomes when we are under the influence of the night).

If you are sacrificing purity for partying, this is your wake up call—and it’s the most important one you’ll ever receive!

So what is it, then, that Christians are called to do?  First, we must understand the times — “And do this, understanding the present time.” (Romans 13:11) We are to wake up to the evil that is all around us and open our eyes to the nearness of Christ’s return. Second, we must reject the call of the wild and answer the call to arms — “let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.” (Romans 13:12) We are to ruthlessly eliminate anything and everything that compromises our moral purity and saps our spiritual power.  And third, we must get ready and stay ready for Jesus’ second coming — “Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 13:14) We are to wake up and get dressed for the greatest party of all—the marriage supper of the Lamb.

Our salvation is at hand, and if we’re ready, when it finally happens we will wake up to a dream come true: The fulfillment of the deepest longings of our heart and the glorious rest that no fleshly sleep can produce.

This is your wake up call—and it’s the most important one you’ll ever receive!

“How little know who think that holiness is dull. When
one meets the real thing, it is irresistible.”
~C.S. Lewis

This Week’s Assignment:

Read: Romans 13:1-14

Memorize: Romans 13:8

“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.”

For Your Consideration: When Paul wrote Romans 13, he didn‘t insert a chapter break at the end of chapter 12.  Chapters and verses were later added by editors, so what Paul wrote in this chapter was a simply continuation of his call in Romans 12:1-2 to offer our everyday lives as pleasing worship to God.  In light of that, consider how your attitude toward governmental leaders (Romans 13:1-7), your treatment of the people in your life (Romans 13:8-10), and your personal purity in immoral times (Romans 13:11-14) might need to change to in order to be offered as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God.

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