And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh. Romans 13:11-14
The day of salvation is coming and it is nearer now than ever! The night is almost over; the day is almost here.
Salvation in the Scripture is past, present and (here in Romans 13) future. There is a great Day coming for us when our faith will be sight and Jesus will save us from our sins and the corruption of this world.
Paul says to the church in Rome ‘understand the times.’ It’s time to wake up! It’s time to put away the deeds of darkness – all of the carousing, drunkenness, sexual immorality, debauchery, dissension and jealousy of this world. Shelve all that and put on the armor of the Day. Put on Jesus… and not only refuse to gratify your sinful flesh, don’t even think about it.
Paul knew from experience that the battle of the flesh was waged in our minds, so he says don’t consider how to gratify your flesh. Once you have thought about it, carrying it out in your body is the obvious and close-to-inevitable next step.
For sin to not be carried out, after it’s been thought about, requires repentance. Repentance is to change your mind. Repentance is to agree with the Holy Spirit that those thoughts are evil and will lead you away from Him. Repentance is to change direction, which is exactly what we need. To repent of a sinful, undisciplined mind will bring healing and draw you close to God.
For me, as a disciple of Jesus, this is to be a daily discipline. This is my morning exercise.
I think of what Paul said earlier in Romans:
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2
Our bodies are to be offered to God as a living sacrifice. What we do in the flesh matters!
Our minds are to be renewed – made new again – and this brings transformation to our lives. We are not like the world, being conformed into its image – we are increasingly becoming more like Jesus.
Understand the present time. The night is nearly over.
Lord Jesus, thank You for the salvation that is nearly here. Creation groans, longing for your coming and the redemption that you will bring. I do too!
Thank You for the salvation You bring today as You transform my life by renewing my mind. Thank You for Your kindness that leads me to repentance and the grace that You have for me. This patience and grace means my salvation today.
And thank You for the cross where You paid the price for every sin. Thank You for the relationship You have brought to me through Your blood and by Your Spirit. I live for You today.