Thursday in the Nineteenth Week of Ordinary Time

Romans 13:11-14

The Night Is Far Gone

If the President were coming to dine at your home this evening, I surmise you might clean the house, plan a big and fancy dinner, dress for the occasion, make sure the little ones were on their best behavior, and other such preparations.  You wouldn’t want to be caught unprepared and thereby be embarrassed before the President, his entourage, and the whole country.  In like manner, the New Testament writers would often use our Lord’s return as an exhortation to holy living in the here and now (1 Thessalonians 5:1-11; 1 John 3:1-3).  Even Jesus told parables that warned of readiness at his return (Matthew 21:33-44; 22:1-14; 24:1-51; 25:1-46; and parallel passages in Mark and Luke).  And so we see Paul using our Lord’s return to exhort the Christians in Rome to godly living.

He begins by using several metaphors which express the urgency of the time: “The hour has come for you to awake from sleep,” “The night is far gone,” and “The day is at hand.”  And lest we take these words lightly, let us remember the warning from the Apostle Peter, “Scoffers will come in the last days … [saying] ‘Where is the promise of his coming.  For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation’” (2 Peter 3:3-4).  It was 2000 years for the promise to Abraham that all the nations would be blessed through him (Genesis 12:1-3), and even longer for the promise to Adam of Eve (Genesis 3:15), both passages about the first coming of Christ, to be fulfilled.  God is very patient.  But in the meantime, we must be vigilant and steadfast, lest he come and execute terrible judgment (Matthew 24:45-51).

And how do we prepare?  By “cast[ing] off the works of darkness and put[ting] on the armor of light.”  Paul mentions those things we must cast off: orgies and drunkenness, sexual immorality and sensuality, quarreling and jealousy.  This, of course, should be a “no-brainer.”  We are to “make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires,” the flesh being our sinful nature with its passions that draw us towards the world and away from God.  Instead Paul tells us to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ,” imitating his character which we see in the gospels.  This is really not much different than the passage before this one that commanded us to “love each other.”

Our Lord is coming and I don’t want to be ashamed on that day.  I know there are yet some works of darkness I need to cast off.  May we each be ready for his coming by cleaning our “houses” before he returns.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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