By Joe Slater Via Bulletin Gold
“And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high
time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is
nearer than when we first believed” (Romans 13:11).
Saturdays and Sundays used to be my opportunities to “sleep
in.” School was out, and church wasn’t a priority. On school
days, however, my parents would say, “It’s time to get up! You
don’t want to be late for school.”
Some of the Christians to whom Paul wrote in Romans needed
to wake up! Physical sleep wasn’t the problem; Paul used sleep
as a metaphor for their spiritual lethargy.
Who knows why they had become sluggish? Being the capital
of the empire, the city of Rome contained every vice, every
philosophy, and every strange religion you can imagine.
Christians might well struggle to stay true to the gospel. How
should they interact with different religious groups? What should
their relationship to the government be? How should they treat
fellow Christians and people in general? Wrestling with such
issues can make you tired and sleepy!
Paul exhorts: “Wake up!” Why? Because “now our salvation
is nearer than when we first believed.” This salvation refers not
to our initial cleansing at baptism, but our ultimate salvation
when the Lord takes us to Heaven. Paul wasn’t saying that Jesus’
return was imminent, but our departure to be with Christ
(Philippians 1:23) draws nearer every day.
Our challenges aren’t identical to those of the Romans, but
vice and false religions confront us too. And the same lethargy
infects us, especially after we’ve been in Christ several years.
Time draws shorter for each of us every day. That being so, may
God help us to wake up!