Romans 13:11
And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
Jump to: AlfordBarnesBengelBensonBICalvinCambridgeChrysostomClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctExp GrkGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsICCJFBKellyKJTLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWMeyerNewellParkerPNTPoolePulpitSermonSCOTeedTTBVWSWESTSK
EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(11-14) The Apostle now gives a reason for enforcing this and other duties upon his readers. The end of the world itself is near.

St. Paul, like the other Apostles (comp. 1Peter 4:7; Revelation 22:20, et al.), certainly believed that the Parusia, or Second Coming of Christ, was near at hand. This was in strict accordance with Mark 13:32, and resulted naturally from the peculiar form of the Jewish Messianic expectation. A great shock had been given to the disciples by the crucifixion of Him whom they thought to be the Messiah, and though they began to recover from this as soon as they were convinced of His resurrection, they yet could not reconcile themselves to it entirely. The humiliation of the cross was still a stumbling-block to them taken alone, but falling back upon another portion of their beliefs, they looked to see it supplemented, and its shameful side cancelled, by a second coming “in power and great glory.” Their previous expectations, vague as they were, led them to regard this as part of the one manifestation of the Messiah, and they did not expect to see a long interval of time interposed.

(11) And that, knowing the time.—And that there is all the more urgent motive for you to do—this law of love it is the more incumbent on you to practise—because you know what a critical moment it is in which you are living. The word for “time” is different from that used in the next clause, and means a definite and critical season.

Awake out of sleep.—A striking metaphor. The true, the genuine Christian life is like the state of a man whose eyes are open and whose faculties are all alert and vigorous. All besides, whatever it be, the state of heathenism or of imperfect and lukewarm Christianity, is like the torpor of sleep.

Our salvation.—That blissful participation in His kingdom which the Messiah at His Second Coming should inaugurate for His people. (Comp. Romans 8:19; Romans 8:23, “the manifestation of the sons of God,” “the redemption of the body;” Luke 21:28, “your redemption draweth nigh.”)

When we believed.—When we first became Christians. Every hour brings the expected end nearer.

Romans

LOVE AND THE DAY

SALVATION NEARER

Romans 8:11
.

There is no doubt, I suppose, that the Apostle, in common with the whole of the early Church, entertained more or less consistently the expectation of living to witness the second coming of Jesus Christ. There are in Paul’s letters passages which look both in the direction of that anticipation, and in the other one of expecting to taste death. ‘We which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord,’ he says twice in one chapter. ‘I am ready to be offered, and the hour of my departure is at hand,’ he says in his last letter.

Now this contrariety of anticipation is but the natural result of what our Lord Himself said, ‘It is not for you to know the times and the seasons,’ and no one, who is content to form his doctrine of the knowledge resulting from inspiration from the words of Jesus Christ Himself, need stumble in the least degree in recognising the plain fact that Paul and his brother Apostles did not know when the Master was to come. Christ Himself had told them that there was a chamber locked against their entrance, and therefore we do not need to think that it militates against the authoritative inspiration of these early teachers of the Church, if they, too, searched ‘what manner of time the Spirit which was in them did signify when it testified beforehand . . . the glory that should follow.’

Now, my text is evidently the result of the former of these two anticipations, viz. that Paul and his generation were probably to see the coming of the Lord from heaven. And to him the thought that’ the night was far spent,’ as the context says, ‘and the day was at hand,’ underlay his most buoyant hope, and was the inspiration and motive-spring of his most strenuous effort.

Now, our relation to the closing moments of our own earthly lives, to the fact of death, is precisely the same as that of the Apostle and his brethren to the coming of the Lord. We, too, stand in that position of partial ignorance, and for us practically the words of my text, and all their parallel words, point to how we should think of, and how we should be affected by, the end to which we are coming. And this is the grand characteristic of the Christian view of that last solemn moment. ‘Now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.’ So I would note, first of all, what these words teach us should be the Christian view of our own end; and, second, to what conduct that view should lead us.

I. The Christian view of death.

‘Now is our salvation nearer.’ We have to think away by faith and hope all the grim externals of death, and to get to the heart of the thing. And then everything that is repulsive, everything that makes flesh and blood shrink, disappears and is evaporated, and beneath the folds of his black garment, there is revealed God’s last, sweetest, most triumphant angel-messenger to Christian souls, the great, strong, silent Angel of Death, and he carries in his hand the gift of a full salvation. That is what our Apostle rose to the rapture of beholding, when he knew that the thought of his surviving till Christ came again must be put away, and when close to the last moment of his life, he said, ‘The Lord shall deliver me, and save me into His everlasting kingdom.’ What was the deliverance and being saved that he expected and expresses in these words? Immunity from punishment? Escape from the headsman’s axe? Being ‘delivered from the mouth of the lion,’ the persecuting fangs of the bloody Nero? By no means. He knew that death was at hand, and he said, ‘He will save me’-not from it, but through it-’into His everlasting kingdom.’ And so in the words of my text we may say-though Paul did not mean them so-as we see the distance between us, and that certain close, dwindling, dwindling, dwindling: ‘Now,’ as moment after moment ticks itself into the past, ‘now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.’ Children, when they are getting near their holidays, take strips of paper, and tear off a piece as each day passes. And as we tear off the days let us feel that we are drawing closer to our home, and that the blessedness laid up for us in it is drawing nearer to us. ‘Our salvation,’ not our destruction, our fuller life, not in any true sense of the word our ‘death,’ is ‘nearer than when we believed.’

But some one may say, ‘Is a man not saved till after he is dead?’ Is salvation future, not coming till after the grave? No, certainly not. There are three aspects of that word in Scripture. Sometimes the New Testament writers treat salvation as past, and represent a Christian as being invested with the possession of it all at the very moment of his first faith. That is true, that whatever is yet to be evolved from what is given to the poorest and foulest sinner, in the moment of his initial faith in Christ, there is nothing to be added to it. The salvation which the penitent thief received on the cross is all the salvation that he was ever to get. But out of it there came welling and welling and welling, when he had passed into the region ‘where beyond these voices there is peace’-there came welling out from that inexhaustible fountain which was opened in him all the fullnesses of an eternal progress in the heavens. And so it is with us. Salvation is a past gift which we received when we believed.

But in another aspect, which is also emphatically stated in Scripture, it is a progressive process, and not merely a gift bestowed once for all in the past. I do not dwell upon that thought, but just remind you of a turn of expression which occurs in various connections more than once. ‘The Lord added to the Church daily such as were being saved,’ says Luke. Still more emphatically in the Epistle to the Corinthians, the Apostle puts into antithesis the two progressive processes, and speaks of the Gospel as being preached, and being a savour of life unto life ‘to them that are being saved,’ and a savour of destruction ‘to them that are being lost.’ No moral or spiritual condition is stereotyped or stagnant. It is all progressive. And so the salvation that is given once for all is ever being unfolded, and the Christian life on earth is the unfolding of it.

But in another aspect still, such as is presented in my text, and in other parallel passages, that salvation is regarded as lying on the other side of the flood, because the manifestations of it there, the evolving there of what is in it, and the great gifts that come then, are so transcendently above all even of our selectest experiences here, that they are, as it were, new, though still their roots are in the old. The salvation which culminates in the absolute removal from our whole being of all manner of evil, whether it be sorrow or sin, and in the conclusive bestowal upon us of all manner of good, whether it be righteousness or joy, and which has for its seal ‘the adoption, to wit, the redemption of the body,’ so that body, soul, and spirit ‘make one music as before, but vaster,’ is so far beyond the germs of itself which here we experience that my text and its like are amply vindicated. And the man who is most fully persuaded and conscious that he possesses the salvation of God, and most fully and blessedly aware that that salvation is gradually gaining power in his life, is the very man who will most feel that between its highest manifestation on earth, and its lowest in the heavens there is such a gulf as that the wine that he will drink there at the Father’s table is indeed new wine. And so ‘is our salvation nearer,’ though we already possess it, ‘than when we believed.’

Dear brethren, if these things be true, and if to die is to be saved into the kingdom, do not two thoughts result? The one is that that blessed consummation should occupy more of our thoughts than I am afraid it does. As life goes on, and the space dwindles between us and it, we older people naturally fall into the way, unless we are fools, of more seriously and frequently turning our thoughts to the end. I suppose the last week of a voyage to Australia has far more thoughts in it about the landing next week than the two or three first days of beating down the English Channel had. I do not want to put old heads on young shoulders in this or in any other respect. But sure I am that it does belong very intimately to the strength of our Christian characters that we should, as the Psalmist says, be ‘wise’ to ‘consider our latter end.’

The other thought that follows is as plain, viz. that that anticipation should always be buoyant, hopeful, joyous. We have nothing to do with the sad aspects of parting from earth. They are all but non-existent for the Christian consciousness, when it is as vigorous and God-directed as it ought to be. They drop into the background, and sometimes are lost to sight altogether. Remember how this Apostle, when he does think about death, looks at it with-I was going to quote words which may strike you as being inappropriate-’a frolic welcome’; how, at all events, he is neither a bit afraid of it, nor does he see in it anything from which to shrink. He speaks of being with Christ, which is far better; ‘absent from the body, present with the Lord’; ‘the dissolution of the earthly house of this tabernacle’-the tumbling down of the old clay cottage in order that a stately palace of marble and precious stones may be reared upon its site; ‘the hour of my departure is at hand; I have finished the fight.’ Peter, too, chimes in with his words: ‘My exodus; my departure,’ and both of the two are looking, if not longingly, at all events without a tremor of the eyelid, into the very eyeballs of the messenger whom most men feel so hideous. Is it not a wonderful gift to Christian souls that by faith in Jesus Christ, the realm in which their hope can expatiate is more than doubled, and annexes the dim lands beyond the frontier of death? Dear friends, if we are living in Christ, the thought of the end and that here we are absent from home, ought to be infinitely sweet, of whatever superficial terrors this poor, shrinking flesh may still be conscious. And I am sure that the nearer we get to our Saviour, and the more we realise the joyous possession of salvation as already ours, and the more we are conscious of the expanding of that gift in our hearts, the more we shall be delivered from that fear of death which makes men all their ‘lifetime subject to bondage.’ So I beseech you to aim at this, that, when you look forward, the furthest thing you see on the horizon of earth may be that great Angel of Death coming to save you into the everlasting kingdom.

Now, just a word about

II. The conduct to which such a hope should incite.

The Apostle puts it very plainly in the context, and we need but expand in a word or two what he teaches us there. ‘And that knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep, for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.’ To what does he refer by ‘that’ ? The whole of the practical exhortations to a Christian life which have been given before. Everything that is duty becomes tenfold more stringent and imperative when we apprehend the true meaning of that last moment. They tell us that it is unwholesome to be thinking about death and the beyond, because to do so takes away interest from much of our present occupations and weakens energy. If there is anything from which a man is wrenched away because he steadily contemplates the fact of being wrenched away altogether from everything before long, it is something that he had better be wrenched from. And if there be any occupations which dwindle into nothingness, and into which a man cannot for the life of him fling himself with any thoroughgoing enthusiasm or interest, if once the thought of death stirs in him, depend upon it they are occupations which are in themselves contemptible and unworthy. All good aims will gain greater power over us; we shall have a saner estimate of what is worth living for; we shall have a new standard of what is the relative importance of things; and if some that looked very great turn out to be very small when we let that searching light in upon them, and others which seemed very insignificant spring suddenly up into dominating magnitude-that new and truer perspective will be all clear gain. The more we feel that our salvation is sweeping towards us, as it were, from the throne of God through the blue abysses, the more diligently we shall ‘work while it is called day,’ and the more earnestly we shall seek, when the Saviour and His salvation come, to be found with loins girt for all strenuous work, and lamps burning in all the brightness of the light of a Christian character.

Further, says Paul, this hopeful, cheerful contemplation of approaching salvation should lead us to cast off the evil, and to put on the good. You will remember the heart-stirring imagery which the Apostle employs in the context, where he says, ‘The day is at hand; let us therefore fling off the works of darkness’-as men in the morning, when the daylight comes through the window, and makes them lift their eyelids, fling off their night-gear-’and let us put on the armour of light.’ We are soldiers, and must be clad in what will be bullet-proof, and will turn a sword’s edge. And where shall steel of celestial temper be found that can resist the fiery darts shot at the Christian soldier? His armour must be ‘of light.’ Clad in the radiance of Christian character he will be invulnerable. And how can we, who have robed ourselves in the works of darkness, either cast them off or array ourselves in sparkling armour of light? Paul tells us, ‘Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh.’ The picture is of a camp of sleeping soldiers; the night wears thin, the streaks of saffron are coming in the dawning east. One after another the sleepers awake; they cast aside their night-gear, and they brace on the armour that sparkles in the beams of the morning sun. So they are ready when the trumpet sounds the reveille, and with the morning comes the Captain of the Lord’s host, and with the Captain comes the perfecting of the salvation which is drawing nearer and nearer to us, as our moments glide through our fingers like the beads of a rosary. Many men think of death and fear; the Christian should think of death-and hope.Romans 13:11-12. And that — That is, do this to which I exhort you; fulfil the law of love in all the instances above mentioned; knowing the time — Greek, τον καιρον, the season, that it is the morning of the day of the gospel, a season of increasing light and grace, but hasting away: that now it is high time to awake out of sleep — Out of that sleep into which you had fallen during the darkness of heathenism, or before your illumination by divine truth and grace; that state of insensibility of, and unconcern about, things spiritual and eternal in general, and your own salvation in particular; to awake to a sense of the infinite importance of the truths and duties revealed to you in the gospel, and of the near approach of death and judgment, which will put a period to your state of trial, and fix you in a state of final and eternal retribution. It is therefore high time that you should labour, to the utmost of your power, to improve every opportunity of receiving and doing good, and of prosecuting the great business of life) which is to secure the favour of God, a conformity to his image, and your own everlasting happiness. For now is our final salvation — Our eternal glory; nearer than when we at first believed — It is continually advancing, flying forward upon the swiftest wings of time, and that which remains between the present hour and eternity is, comparatively speaking, but a moment. The night is far spent — The night of heathenish ignorance and error; the day — Of gospel light and grace; is at hand — Greek, ηγγικεν, hath approached, hath dawned: the day-spring from on high hath visited us, to give light to us who sat in darkness and in the region of the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace. The night, also, of the present life is far spent, during which we often confound truth and error, duty and sin, and the day of eternity is at hand, is drawing near, even that day which will show every thing in its proper colours and forms. Let us therefore cast off the works, only suitable to, or excusable in, a state of darkness — That is, let us abandon all manner of wickedness which is wont to be practised in the night, or in a state of ignorance, error, and folly; and let us put on the armour of light — For, being soldiers, it is our duty to arm and prepare for fight, inasmuch as we are encompassed about with so many enemies. In other words, let us be clothed with all Christian graces, which, like burnished and beautiful armour, will be at once an ornament and a defence to us, and which will reflect the bright beams that are so gloriously rising upon us.13:11-14 Four things are here taught, as a Christian's directory for his day's work. When to awake; Now; and to awake out of the sleep of carnal security, sloth, and negligence; out of the sleep of spiritual death, and out of the sleep of spiritual deadness. Considering the time; a busy time; a perilous time. Also the salvation nigh at hand. Let us mind our way, and mend our pace, we are nearer our journey's end. Also to make ourselves ready. The night is far spent, the day is at hand; therefore it is time to dress ourselves. Observe what we must put off; clothes worn in the night. Cast off the sinful works of darkness. Observe what we must put on; how we should dress our souls. Put on the armour of light. A Christian must reckon himself undressed, if unarmed. The graces of the Spirit are this armour, to secure the soul from Satan's temptations, and the assaults of this present evil world. Put on Christ; that includes all. Put on righteousness of Christ, for justification. Put on the Spirit and grace of Christ, for sanctification. The Lord Jesus Christ must be put on as Lord to rule you as Jesus to save you; and in both, as Christ anointed and appointed by the Father to this ruling, saving work. And how to walk. When we are up and ready, we are not to sit still, but to appear abroad; let us walk. Christianity teaches us how to walk so as to please God, who ever sees us. Walk honestly as in the day; avoiding the works of darkness. Where there are riot and drunkenness, there usually are chambering and wantonness, and strife and envy. Solomon puts these all together, Pr 23:29-35. See what provision to make. Our great care must be to provide for our souls: but must we take no care about our bodies? Yes; but two things are forbidden. Perplexing ourselves with anxious, encumbering care; and indulging ourselves in irregular desires. Natural wants are to be answered, but evil appetites must be checked and denied. To ask meat for our necessities, is our duty, we are taught to pray for daily bread; but to ask meat for our lusts, is provoking God, Ps 78:18.And that - The word "that," in this place, is connected in signification with the word ""this" in Romans 13:9. The meaning may be thus expressed: All the requirements of the Law toward our neighbor may be met by two things: one is Romans 13:9-10 by love; the other is Romans 13:11-14 by remembering that we are near to eternity; keeping a deep sense of "this" truth before the mind. "This" will prompt to a life of honesty, truth, and peace, and contentment, Romans 13:13. The doctrine in these verses Romans 13:11-14, therefore, is, "that a deep conviction of the nearness of eternity will prompt to an upright life in the contact of man with man.

Knowing the time - Taking a proper "estimate" of the time. Taking just views of the shortness and the value of time; of the design for which it was given, and of the fact that it is, in regard to us, rapidly coming to a close. And still further considering, that the time in which you live is the time of the gospel, a period of light and truth, when you are particularly called on to lead holy lives, and thus to do justly to all. The "previous" time had been a period of ignorance and darkness, when oppression, and falsehood, and sin abounded. This, the time of the "gospel," when God had "made known" to people his will that they should be pure.

High time - Greek, "the hour."

To awake ... - This is a beautiful figure. The dawn of day, the approaching light of the morning, is the time to arouse from slumber. In the darkness of night, people sleep. So says the apostle. The world has been sunk in the "night" of paganism and sin. At that time it was to be expected that they would sleep the sleep of spiritual death. But now the morning light of the gospel dawns. The Sun of righteousness has arisen. It is "time," therefore, for people to cast off the deeds of darkness, and rise to life, and purity, and action; compare Acts 17:30-31. The same idea is beautifully presented in 1 Thessalonians 5:5-8. The meaning is," Hitherto we have walked in darkness and in sin. Now we walk in the light of the gospel. We know our duty. We are sure that the God of light is around us, and is a witness of all we do. We are going soon to meet him, and it becomes us to rouse, and to do those deeds, and those only, which will bear the bright shining of the light of truth, and the scrutiny of him who is "light, and in whom is no darkness at all;" 1 John 1:5.

Sleep - Inactivity; insensibility to the doctrines and duties of religion. People, by nature, are active only in deeds of wickedness. In regard to religion they are insensible, and the slumbers of night are on their eyelids. Sleep is "the kinsman of death," and it is the emblem of the insensibility and stupidity of sinners. The deeper the ignorance and sin, the greater is this insensibility to spiritual things, and to the duties which we owe to God and man.

For now is our salvation - The word "salvation" has been here variously interpreted. Some suppose that by it the apostle refers to the personal reign of Christ on the earth. (Tholuck, and the Germans generally.) Others suppose it refers to deliverance from "persecutions." Others, to increased "light" and knowledge of the gospel, so that they could more clearly discern their duty than when they became believers. (Rosenmuller.) It probably, however, has its usual meaning here, denoting that deliverance from sin and danger which awaits Christians in heaven; and is thus equivalent to the expression, "You are advancing nearer to heaven. You are hastening to the world of glory. Daily we are approaching the kingdom of light; and in prospect of that state, we ought to lay aside every sin, and live more and more in preparation for a world of light and glory."

Than when we believed - Than when we "began" to believe. Every day brings us nearer to a world of perfect light.

11. And that—rather, "And this [do]"

knowing the time, that now it is high time—literally, "the hour has already come."

to awake out of sleep—of stupid, fatal indifference to eternal things.

for now is our salvation—rather, "the salvation," or simply "salvation."

nearer than when we—first

believed—This is in the line of all our Lord's teaching, which represents the decisive day of Christ's second appearing as at hand, to keep believers ever in the attitude of wakeful expectancy, but without reference to the chronological nearness or distance of that event.

And that; or, moreover; the speech is elliptical, something must be understood, as, I say, or add: q. d. Unto this exhortation to Christian love, I further add what follows.

Knowing the time; i.e. considering it is a time of great trial, or time of gospel light.

Now it is high time to awake out of sleep; i.e. to shake off slothfulness, security, and all former sinful courses. See the like, 1 Corinthians 15:34 Ephesians 5:14 1 Thessalonians 5:6-8. q.d. Consider, now it is the hour or season to awake or rise up, to lay aside your night clothes, as it is in the following verse.

Now is our salvation nearer than when we believed; or, salvation is nearer to us than when we first began to believe. Some would understand it of temporal salvation, and deliverance from those persecutions which befell the Christians in the infancy of the church; from these they were saved and delivered by the destruction of the Jews their persecutors. This was foretold by Christ, and expected by the Christians; and it was nigher at hand than when they first embraced the Christian faith. But most understand it of eternal salvation, which he says was nearer than when they first believed. In which words is couched another argument to awaken or stir up the believing Romans; the first was taken from the consideration of the time or season; the second, from the nearness of the word. Therefore it should be with them as with those that run in a race; the nearer they come to the goal, the faster they run, lest others should get before them. And that knowing the time,.... That it is day and not night, the Gospel day, the day of salvation; in which the grace of God shines forth, like the sun in its meridian glory; life and immortality are brought to light, righteousness and salvation are revealed; and so a time not for sloth and sleep, but business; in which the saints should active in the exercise of grace, and discharge, of duty; owing no man anything but the debt of love; and that the dawn of grace, and day of spiritual light had broke in upon their souls, and dispelled the darkness of sin, ignorance and unbelief; that the darkness was past, and the true light shined, and the sun of righteousness was risen on them: all which they full well knew and were conscious of, and therefore should observe,

that now it is high time for us to awake out of sleep; since sleep is for the night, and not the day; the Alexandrian copy reads, "for you". This is to be understood, not of the dead sleep of sin, in which unconverted persons are, to be awoke out of which is a work of divine power; but of the carnal security and drowsy frame of spirit which sometimes attend the churches and children of God, the wise as well as the foolish virgins; and lies in grace being dormant in, the soul; in a backwardness to duty, and a slothfulness in the performance of it; in resting in the outward duties of religion; in lukewarmness about the cause of Christ; in an unconcernedness about sins of omission and commission; and in a willingness to continue in such a sluggish frame: all which arise from a body of sin and death, and an over anxious care for the things of the world; from a weariness in spiritual exercises, and an abstinence from spiritual company and ordinances and from outward peace and liberty: such a frame of spirit, when, it prevails and becomes general is of bad consequence to the churches of Christ; the spirit of discerning, care and diligence in receiving members, are in a great measure lost, and so they are filled with hypocrites and heretics; Christ absents himself from them; leanness of soul is brought upon them; and they are in danger of being surprised with the midnight cry: the methods God takes to awaken his people out of such a sleep are various; sometimes in a more gentle way, by the discoveries his love, which causes the lips of those that are asleep to speak; sometimes by severe reproofs in the ministry of the word; and sometimes by sharp persecutions in providence; and at last it will be done by the midnight cry: the argument, showing the reasonableness of awaking out of sleep, and that it was high time to do so, follows,

for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed; by which is meant, not temporal salvation, or a deliverance from the persecution the saints endured in Judea, from their own countrymen, by the departure of them from Jerusalem, a little before its destruction, by the destruction of that city, and the peaceful times of Vespasian; but a spiritual and eternal salvation: not Christ the author of it, who was come to effect it; nor that itself, as obtained, which was now done, finished, and completed; nor the application of it to their souls, which also had been made; but the consummate enjoyment of it in heaven, the salvation of their souls at death, and both of soul and body at the resurrection; consisting in a freedom from every evil, and in a full possession of all that is good and glorious: this is brought nearer to the saints, to their sight and view, as their faith grows and increases; and they are nearer the enjoyment of that than when they first believed; and which is a strong reason why a sluggish, slothful frame should not be indulged; what, sleep, and heaven so near at hand! just at their Father's house, ready to enter into the joy of their Lord, into his everlasting kingdom and glory, and yet asleep!

{11} And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.

(11) An application taken from the circumstances of the time: which also itself puts us in mind of our duty, seeing that this remains, after which the darkness of ignorance and wicked affections by the knowledge of God's truth is driven out of us, that we order our life according to that certain and sure rule of all righteousness and honesty, being fully grounded upon the power of the Spirit of Christ.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Romans 13:11. For compliance with the preceding exhortation to love, closing with Romans 13:10, Paul now presents a further weighty motive to be pondered, and then draws in turn from this (Romans 13:12 ff.) other exhortations to a Christian walk generally.

καὶ τοῦτο] our and that, i.e. and indeed, especially as you, etc. It adds something peculiarly worthy of remark—here a further motive particularly to be noted—to the preceding. See on this usage, prevalent also in the classics (which, however, more frequently use καὶ ταῦτα), Hartung, I. p. 146; Baeumlein, Partik. p. 147. Comp. 1 Corinthians 6:6; 1 Corinthians 6:8; Ephesians 2:8; Php 1:28; Hebrews 11:12. That to which here τοῦτο points back is the injunction expressed in Romans 13:8, and more precisely elucidated in Romans 13:8-10, μηδενὶ μηδὲν ὀφείλετε, εἰ μὴ κ.τ.λ. The repetition of it is represented by τοῦτο, so that thus εἰδότες attaches itself to the injunction which is again present in the writer’s conception, and hence all supplements (Bengel and several others, ποιεῖτε; Tholuck, ποιῶμεν) are dispensed with. The connection of τοῦτο with εἰδότες (Luther, Glöckler) complicates the quite simple language, as is also done by Hofmann, who makes τὸν καιρόν the object of τοῦτο εἰδότες, and brings out the following sense: “and having this knowledge of the time, that, or, and so knowing the time, that.” Even in Soph. O. T. 37 ΚΑῚ ΤΑῦΤʼ is simply and indeed; the use of τοῦτο as absolute object is irrelevant here (see Bernhardy, p. 106; Kühner, II. 1, p. 266), because τοῦτο in the sense of in such a manner would necessarily derive its more precise contents from what precedes. That which Hofmann means, Paul might have expressed by κ. τοῦτο εἰδ. τοῦ καιροῦ; Kühner II. 1, p. 238.

ΕἸΔΌΤΕς] not considerantes (Grotius and others), but: since you know the (present) period, namely, in respect of its awakening character (see what follows).

ὅτι ὥρα κ.τ.λ.] Epexegesis of ΕἸΔΌΤ. ΤῸΝ ΚΑΙΡΌΝ: that, namely, it is high time that we finally (without waiting longer, see Klotz, ad Devar. p. 600) should wake out of sleep. ἤδη does not belong to ὭΡΑ, but to ἩΜᾶς ἘΞ ὝΠΝΟΥ ἘΓ., and by ὝΠΝΟς is denoted figuratively the condition in which the true moral activity of life is bound down and hindered by the power of sin. In this we must observe with what right Paul requires this ἐγερθῆναι ἐξ ὕπνου of the regenerate (he even includes himself). He means, forsooth, the full moral awakening, the ethical elevation of life in that final degree, which is requisite in order to stand worthily before the approaching Son of man (see immediately below, νῦν γὰρ κ.τ.λ.); and in comparison with this the previous moral condition, in which much of a sinful element was always hindering the full expression of life, appears to him still as, ὕπνος, which one must finally lay aside as on awakening out of morning slumber. The Christian life has its new epochs of awakening, like faith (see on John 2:11), and love to the Lord (John 14:28), and the putting on of Christ (Romans 13:14). This applies also in opposition to Reiche, who, because Christians were already awakened from the ethical sleep, explains ὝΠΝΟς as an image of the state of the Christian on earth, in so far as he only at first forecasts and hopes for blessedness,—quite, however, against the Pauline mode of conception elsewhere (Ephesians 5:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:6 ff.; comp. also 1 Corinthians 15:34).

νῦν γὰρ κ.τ.λ.] Proof of the preceding ὭΡΑ Κ.Τ.Λ. The ΝῦΝ is related to ἬΔΗ not as the line to the point (Hofmann, following Hartung), but as the objective Now to the subjective (present in consciousness); comp. on the latter, Baeumlein, Partik. p. 140 ff. νῦν is related to ἌΡΤΙ (comp. on Galatians 1:10) as line to point.

ἩΜῶΝ] Does this belong to the adverb ἘΓΓΎΤΕΡΟΝ (Beza, Castalio, and others, including Philippi, Hofmann), or to Ἡ ΣΩΤΗΡΊΑ (Luther, Calvin, and others, following the Vulgate)? The former is most naturally suggested by the position of the words; the latter would allow an emphasis, for which no motive is assigned, to fall upon ἩΜῶΝ.

Ἡ ΣΩΤΗΡΊΑ
] the Messianic salvation, namely, in its completion, as introduced by the Parousia, which Paul, along with the whole apostolical church, regarded as near, always drawing nearer, and setting in even before the decease of the generation. Comp. Php 4:5; 1 Peter 4:7; see also Weiss, bibl. Theol. p. 426. Not recognising the latter fact,—notwithstanding that Paul brings emphatically into account the short time from his conversion up to the present time of his writing (νῦν),—commentators have been forced to very perverted interpretations; e.g. that deliverance by death was meant (Photius and others), or the destruction of Jerusalem, a fortunate event for Christianity (Michaelis, following older interpreters), or the preaching among the Gentiles (Melanchthon), or the inner σωτηρία, the spiritual salvation of Christianity (Flacius, Calovius, Morus, Flatt, Benecke, Schrader, comp. Glöckler). Rightly and clearly Chrysostom says: ἐπὶ θύραις γὰρ, φησὶν, ὁ τῆς κρίσεως ἕστηκε καιρός. Comp. Theodore of Mopsuestia: σωτηρίαν δὲ ἡμῶν καλεῖ τὴν ἀνάστασιν, ἐπειδὴ τότε τῆς ἀληθινῆς ἀπολαύομεν σωτηρίας. But the nearer the blessed goal, the more wakeful and vigilant we should be.

ἢ ὅτε ἐπιστ.] than when we became believers; 1 Corinthians 3:5; 1 Corinthians 15:2; Galatians 2:16; Mark 16:16; Acts 19:2, and frequently.Romans 13:11-14. In the closing verses of the chapter Paul enforces this exhortation to mutual love as the fulfilling of the law by reference to the approaching Parousia. We must all appear (and who can tell how soon?) before the judgment-seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in the body: if the awe and the inspiration of that great truth descend upon our hearts, we shall feel how urgent the Apostle’s exhortation is. καὶ τοῦτο: cf. 1 Corinthians 6:6; 1 Corinthians 6:8. In classical writers καὶ ταῦτα is commoner. It sums up all that precedes, but especially Romans 13:8-10. εἰδότες τὸν καιρόν: ὁ καιρὸς is not “the time” abstractly, but the time they lived in with its moral import, its critical place in the working out of God’s designs. It is their time regarded as having a character of its own, full of significance for them. This is unfolded in ὅτι ὥρα ἤδη κ.τ.λ. ἤδη (without waiting longer) is to be construed with ἐγερθῆναι: “it is time for you at once to awake” (Gifford). No Christian should be asleep, yet the ordinary life of all is but drowsy compared with what it should be, and with what it would be, if the Christian hope were perpetually present to us. νῦν γὰρ ἐγγύτερον ἡμῶν ἡ σωτηρία: for now is salvation nearer us than when we believed, ἡ σωτηρία has here the transcendent eschatological sense: it is the final and complete deliverance from sin and death, and the reception into the heavenly kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. This salvation was always near, to the faith of the Apostles; and with the lapse of time it became, of course, nearer. Yet it has often been remarked that in his later epistles Paul seems to contemplate not merely the possibility, but the probability, that he himself would not live to see it. See 2 Corinthians 5:1-10, Php 1:23. ὅτε ἐπιστεύσαμεν: when we became Christians, 1 Corinthians 3:5; 1 Corinthians 15:2, Galatians 2:16.11–14. Christian practice: duty enforced by the prospect of the Lord’s Return

11. And that, &c.] In this last section of the chapter, St Paul enforces all the preceding precepts (of cch. 12, 13) by the solemn assertion of the approach of the eternal Day of Resurrection and Glory. Then all that was painful in effort would be over, and the results of “patient continuance in well-doing” would be realized for ever.

Language such as that of this passage is often taken to prove that St Paul expected an imminent return of the Lord, and taught it as a revealed truth. But the prophetic part of ch. 11 is sufficient to shew that he looked for an extended future. And the expectation here expressed, as a main item of Christian truth, by this great prophet of the Gospel, has been accepted ever since by successive generations of believers as the just expression of their own attitude of hope.

It is plain that the Lord Himself both implied and sometimes distinctly foretold a long interval. See Matthew 25:19.

the time] the occasion; same word as Romans 3:26, where see note. The “occasion” is, in fact, the “last days;” the times of Messiah. (See Acts 2:16-17.)

out of sleep] The sleep of languor and forgetfulness.—The Lord had used this metaphor in connexion with His Return; Matthew 24:42; Matthew 25:13. See elsewhere in St Paul, 1 Thessalonians 5:6. Also Revelation 3:3; Revelation 16:15.

our salvation] See note on “salvation,” Romans 1:16. It is here the “salvation” of resurrection-glory.Romans 13:11. Καὶ τοῦτο, and this) supply do, those things, which are laid down from ch. Romans 12:1-2, and especially from Romans 13:8.—καιρὸν) the time [opportunity, season] abounding in grace, ch. Romans 5:6., Romans 3:26; 2 Corinthians 6:2.—ὥρα, the hour) viz. it is. This word marks a short period of time. We take account of the hour for [with a view to] rising.—ἤδη, already) without delay; presently after there occurs νῦν, at the present time [now].—ἐξ ὕπνου, out of sleep) The morning dawns, when man receives faith, and then sleep is shaken off. He must therefore rise, walk and do his work, lest sleep should again steal over him. The exhortations of the Gospel always aim at HIGHER AND HIGHER DEGREES of perfection, [something farther beyond], and presuppose the oldness of the condition in which we now are, compared with those newer things, which ought to follow, and which correspond to the nearness of salvation.—ἡμῶν) construed with ἐγγὺς, which is included in ἐγγύτερον, rather than with σωτηρία; for in other passages it is always called either the salvation of God, or salvation absolutely, not our salvation, [which Engl. Vers. wrongly gives]; comp. on this nearness of salvation, Galatians 3:3; Galatians 5:7. In both places the apostle supposes, that the course of the Christian, once begun, thereupon proceeds onward continually, and comes nearer and nearer to the goal. Paul had long ago written both his epistles to the Thessalonians; therefore when he wrote of the nearness of salvation, he wrote considerately [for he here, after having had such a time meanwhile to consider, repeats his statement], comp. 1 Thessalonians 4:15, note. Observe also: he says elsewhere, that we are near to salvation, Hebrews 6:9 : but here, that salvation, as if it were a day, is near to us. He who has begun well ought not to flag, when he is near the goal, but to make progress [deficere, proficere: not to recede, but proceed].—ἡ σωτηρία) Salvation to be consummated at the coming of Christ, which is the goal of hope, ch. Romans 8:24, and the end of faith, 1 Peter 1:9. The making mention of salvation is repeated from ch. 5 and 8. [Moreover from that whole discussion, this exhortation is deduced, which is the shorter, in proportion as that was the longer.—V. g.]—ἤ ὃτε ἐπιστεύσαμεν) than at the time, when we began to believe at the first, and entered upon the path described, ch. 1–4; so, πιστέυειν, to take up faith, [to accept it, to become believers] Acts 4:4; Acts 4:32, and in many other places. [He, who has once begun well, from time to time approaches either nearer to salvation, or salvation, as it is said here, comes nearer to him. He has no need to feel great anxiety, excepting the eagerness of expectation.—V. g.]Verses 11-14. - There is now interposed among the particular admonitions a call to watchfulness, with a view to holiness in all relations of life, on the ground that the day is at hand. There can be little, if any, doubt that the apostle had in view the second coming of Christ, which he with others supposed might be close at hand, Our Lord had said that of that day none knew but the Father (Matthew 24:36; Mark 13:32; cf. Acts 1:7), and that it would come unexpectedly (Matthew 24:27, 37-44; Mark 13:36). Further, in the same addresses to the disciples before his death in which these things were said, he seems to have disclosed a vista of the future, after the manner of the ancient prophets, in which more immediate and more distant fulfilments of the prophetic vision were not clearly distinguished; so that words which we now perceive to have pointed to the destruction of Jerusalem, which was typical of the final judgments, might easily have been understood as referring to the latter. Such are, "This generation shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled" (Matthew 24:34; Mark 13:30; cf. also John 21:22, 23). Hence it was natural that the apostolic Church should regard the second advent as probably imminent. We find in the apostolic Epistles several intimations of this expectation (cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:13, seq.; 2 Corinthians 5:2-5; Philippians 4:5; Hebrews 10:25; 1 Peter 4:7; 1 John 2:18, 28; Revelation 22:20); and though it was not realized in the event, the authority of the apostles as inspired teachers is not thus disparaged, this being the very thing which Christ had said must remain unknown to all. Nor does their teaching, enforced by this expectation, lose its force to us; for, though "the Lord delayeth his coming," and may still delay it, yet to each of us at least this present world is fast passing away, and the Lord may be close at hand to call us out of it. The duty of watchfulness and preparedness remains unchanged. The Parousia or, as it is called in the pastoral Epistles, the Epiphany (in 2 Thessalonians 2:8, ἐπιφανεία τῆς παρουσίας) of Christ is here, as elsewhere, presented under the figure of the day appearing (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:13; Ephesians 5:14; l Thessalonians 5:4; Hebrews 10:25; 2 Peter 1:19), the previous ages of the world being regarded as the time of night. The figure is found in the prophets with reference to that day - the coming day of the Lord (cf. e.g. Isaiah 9:2; Isaiah 60:1-3; Malachi 4:2), But though the day has not yet come, Christians are viewed as already in the radiance of its dawn, in which they can walk as children of the day, and be on the watch, and not be surprised asleep, or doing the deeds of darkness, when the full daylight bursts upon them. For in the first advent of Christ the day dawned, though, to those who loved darkness rather than light, but as a light that shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not (John 1:5, seq.; John 3:19, seq.; cf. 2 Peter 1:19; 1 John 2:8; and also Luke 1:78, seq.; Luke 2:32). Verses 11, 12. - And that (for a similar use of καὶ τοῦτο, or καὶ ταῦτα, cf. 1 Corinthians 6:8; Ephesians 2:8; Philippians 1:28; Hebrews 10:25; Hebrews 11:12), knowing that it is high time for you to awake out of sleep (more literally, that it is the hour for you to be already roused out of sleep); for now is our salvation nearer (or, now is salvation nearer to us. The salvation here meant is "the restitution of all things" (Acts 3:21), the "manifestation of the sons of God" (Romans 8:19), "the regeneration" (Matthew 19:28), the "gathering together in one of all things in Christ," (Ephesians 1:10), which is yet to come) than when we believed (i.e. than when we first became believers; cf. Acts 19:2; 1 Corinthians 3:5; 1 Corinthians 15:2; Galatians 2:16. Time has been gradually advancing since then, bringing the consummation we look for ever nearer). The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore put off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Former habits of life are here, as elsewhere, regarded as clothing once worn - a man's habitual investment, though not part of his real self - which is to be put off (cf. Ephesians 4:22; Colossians 3:8, 9); instead whereof are to he put on, as a new investment, the graces and virtues, supplied to us from the region of light, which constitute the Christian character (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:8; 2 Corinthians 6:7; Ephesians 6:11, seq.). In all these passages the new clothing to be put on is designated as armour, the idea being carried out in detail in Ephesians 6:11, etc.; and thus the further conception is introduced of Christians being as soldiers on the watch during the watches of the night, awaiting daybreak, equipped with arms of heavenly proof, careful not to sleep on their post, or to allow themselves in revelry or any deeds of shame, such as are done in the night under the cover of darkness. And that knowing the time - now

Referring to the injunction of Romans 13:8. Knowing, seeing that ye know. The time (τὸν καιρόν), the particular season or juncture. Rev., season. See on Matthew 12:1. Now (ἤδη), better, already.

Our salvation (ἡμῶν ἡ σωτηρία)

Others, however, and better, as Rev., construe ἡμῶν of us (salvation of us, i.e., our) with nearer, and render salvation is nearer to us. This is favored by the order of the Greek words. The other rendering would lay an unwarranted emphasis on our. The reference is apparently to the Lord's second coming, rather than to future glory.

Links
Romans 13:11 Interlinear
Romans 13:11 Parallel Texts


Romans 13:11 NIV
Romans 13:11 NLT
Romans 13:11 ESV
Romans 13:11 NASB
Romans 13:11 KJV

Romans 13:11 Bible Apps
Romans 13:11 Parallel
Romans 13:11 Biblia Paralela
Romans 13:11 Chinese Bible
Romans 13:11 French Bible
Romans 13:11 German Bible

Bible Hub
Romans 13:10
Top of Page
Top of Page