“Wrestling With Romans”
Wakey! Wakey! (Chapter 13 Verses 8-14)
The reason for our need to wake up is given here (vv11-14). One of the things most of us don’t like doing is getting out of our beds in the morning, the alarm clock rings and we switch it over to snooze, or off altogether. Well some of us are living our Christian lives like that, we carelessly, or even with indifference hit the snooze button, or switch the alarm off altogether (v11). Yawn! I’ll read the Bible tomorrow. Yawn again! I’ll pray later. Well, all this love in the community, living sacrifices and stuff, yeah, yeah! It’s true and I guess I’ll get round to it eventually. Hit the snooze button again! There’s something you’ve not understood, says Paul, and rather tersely (v12), how close, that is, you are to the end. Not that Paul or any other Biblical writer knew when exactly it would come (Acts 1.7), but knowing it would be, like Jesus said, like a thief in the night, he’ll come when you very least expect it. If you’ve already in your mind brushed that aside, you’re in grave danger. That’s what the people did in Noah’s day, that’s what the people of Sodom and Gomorra did, it cost them everything. You should be living every moment, of every day for the Lord (Romans 12.1-2). In worshipful obedience, today!
You wouldn’t think Paul would have to write instructions like this to Christians, would you (vv12b-13)? Paul could almost have been around in the Church today. The fighting we should be doing is not the carnal, worldly sort (2Corinthians 10.4), it’s the fight of faith 1Timothy 6.12), for which we need the full armour of God (Ephesians 6.10ff), in order to thrust back the powers and deeds of darkness (v12b). Our decency (v13), is more than that of respectable worldly folk, who act respectably when seen, but behind closed doors live reprehensibly, no the daytime suggests walking out in the light with God (1John 1.5ff), because that’s the only time and place we have fellowship with God (Luke 21.34). Paul knows what he’s talking about, he knows human nature. How many Christians have fallen, and into the most awful shameful sins, caught in vice and crime, and stained with utter disgrace (1Corinthians 10.12). The answer? Don’t even think about it (v14). Instead, clothe yourself with Jesus, how? In two ways, one, being dressed in his righteousness which we do instantly by faith (Romans 8.1), secondly, with the armour of offence and defence, which appropriates Jesus as the power of our sanctification (Ephesians 6.13).
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1997)