Early Risers (Reading Romans 13:8-14)

In the agrarian society of Paul’s day rising at first light was the norm. Without the ability to significantly lengthen the day with artificial lighting, time was measured with sunlight. The day began and ended with the sun. A person who remained in bed well past first light was considered slothful and lazy. Such laziness could most often be attributed to one’s activity the previous night. If a person was given to drunkenness, parties, and chasing sensuality under the cover of darkness he would be apt to be ill prepared for first light.

“Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” Romans 13:11-14

Based on our activities in the cover of darkness, many of us may not be ready for first light. We do not “know the time.” The dawning of a new day of righteousness is at hand. The return of Jesus is nearer than it was yesterday, or the day we first believed, or even more so than the day Paul penned Romans 13. Sadly, many people who call themselves Christians are living in promiscuity instead of purity. Sinful behavior is not congruent with the Christian life.

The Christian life is like a man rising just before the dawn, prepared for light. He passes over the debaucheries of darkness so that he may be well prepared to greet the morning. He is dressed and ready. He expects first light. He rises early. He knows the time.

How do you prepare for the return of Jesus Christ?

Realize purity is not a natural desire of the body. It is an ideal, but not a desire. Everyone wants to be pure; that is why we justify our actions. Saying no isn’t easy. Discipline is essential to dealing with the desire for gratification. “Make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”

Realize the danger of being fully awake in the darkness. Those who are active all night will sleep past dawn. Sin takes the reality of the return of Christ off of our radar. When we are living in sin we are ashamed of His coming, afraid of His coming, and unaware of the immanent nature of his coming. Live for day, not darkness. “Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.”

Realize salvation is near. What is a lifetime compared to an eternity? Is your secret sin valuable? Is total darkness worth missing total day? “The day is at hand.”

Be an early riser. Refuse to live for what is now so that you may not miss what is next. When Paul says “salvation is nearer to us now” he is speaking of the world as God intends for it to be; right. Salvation means we will exist absent of sorrow and loss, sickness and pain, fully healed, fully righteous. Jesus died for us . . .for this. He died so we could exist in the enjoyment of God. Prepare for dawn. Get dressed. “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ.”

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