Summary: God is a healing God

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Romans 13:11-14

Context: Romans 12:1-15:13 is the practical application of the statement “The just shall live by faith” established so thoroughly in Romans 1-8. Those who have been made righteous through faith are not to live any longer in the ways of the world, but to be about the business of “renewing their mind” (Romans 12:2). Since the teaching of Romans 9-11 on the solidarity of Jew and Gentile within the church is no mere parenthesis, Paul also gives some guidelines on how people of different backgrounds and points of view in non-essentials are to relate to one another in the fellowship of the Gospel.

Romans 13:11

(a) “And that” - The outworking of this “renewing of our mind” is seen in our relationship to God (Romans 12:1), in our love to our fellow believers (Romans 12:10), and in our love to our neighbour (Romans 13:8-10). Paul adds an “also this” in verse 11, thereafter establishing an eschatological reason for our Christian obedience. We know the times in which we are living!

(b) “Knowing the time” - We are living in the age of the Spirit which, according to Peter, is the “last days” (Acts 2:16-17). These days began when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost. As the return of Jesus approaches it is paramount that we discern the signs of the times (Luke 12:56)...

(c) “Now” - Elsewhere Paul speaks of an acceptable time, the “Now” which is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2)... In Scripture there is urgency about “Today” (Psalm 95:7-11; Hebrews 3:7-19).

(d) “It is high time to awake out of sleep” - Are we asleep? Jesus warns us against being caught napping when He returns (Mark 13:36). We must rise and shine (Isaiah 60:1)…

(e) “For now is our salvation nearer than when we believed” - There is a “now” and a “not yet” in the outworking of our salvation. We are forensically justified from the moment we believe, but we must thereafter strive after holiness and sanctification, and at last we shall be glorified. We are saved by grace through faith, but we are saved unto good works (Ephesians 2:8-10).

The whole creation is groaning and travailing, waiting for the revelation of the sons of God (Romans 8:19, 22). We also groan within ourselves, awaiting the redemption of our body (Romans 8:23). “Look up,” says Jesus: for when we discern the signs of the times we know that our redemption is drawing nigh (Luke 21:28)...

Romans 13:12

(a) “The night is far spent” - Jeremiah bemoans the passing of the opportunity of this time (Jeremiah 8:20)… The dawn is “even at the doors” (Mark 13:29).

(b) “The day is at hand” - There is a paradox in that we know what time it is (Romans 13:11), but may not the day and hour of the Lord’s coming (Matthew 24:36).

(c) “Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness” - Christians are not, and should not be in darkness that that day should overtake them as a thief (1 Thessalonians 5:4-7)…

(d) “And let us put on the armour of light” - The armour of light includes what Paul calls “the breastplate of faith and love” (1 Thessalonians 5:8); and “the whole armour of God” (Ephesians 6:11).

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