When Paul wrote his epistle to the church at Rome, he reminded them of the urgency of being prepared for whatever was in their future. The Romans knew the times that lay before them (13:11), and Paul told them how to prepare. Their approaching trial may be different from one each of us faces—the end of our lives—but Paul’s words seem so applicable to what each of us must do as we see the end approaching.
As the end approaches, we must awake out of our sleep (13:11). Paul said, “It is high time to awake out of sleep for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.” There is a grave danger of complacency overtaking us spiritually. We may be like the apostles in Gethsemane who failed to listen to the Lord’s admonition, “Watch and pray.” Yet, they slept! As the end comes closer to each of us, let us watch and be sober.
As the end approaches, we must lay aside six fleshly sins (13:14). Paul said, “Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness . . . let us walk properly . . . not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.” Our God created us as eternal souls residing in fleshly bodies, but it is so easy to forget this and live fleshly lives. One of life’s greatest sorrows is to see those who were once steadfast in their devotion now allow the flesh to gain supremacy over their souls. Look at the six sins Paul lists and guard against them. Our salvation is nearer than when we first believed, but so is our condemnation if worldliness destroys our spiritually. Christianity is a life of continual growth which began at our spiritual birth and ends with our physical death. The end is coming!
As the end approaches, we must clothe ourselves in an armor of light (13:12).Paul said, “Let us put on the armor of light.” The words “put on” are set in contrast to that which we must “cast off.” The six sins he lists are called the “works of darkness,” and our guarantee of victory is found in the armor of light. Paul amplified these two verses later when he said, “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” Becoming like Christ begins when we put on Christ in baptism (Gal. 3:27), but it does not end there. We walk in the light as He is in the light (1 John 1:7), and we are transformed every day to be more like Him. As the end approaches, let us put on Christ.
As the end approaches, we cannot make any provision to compromise with sin (13:14). Paul said, “Make no provision for the flesh.” There is no room to compromise when it comes to truth. Truth is absolute, and it is always right to do right. That determination we had to stand for truth when we first believed must never leave us.
The end is approaching: watch, pray and be sober!
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