The Approach of Day
Romans 13:11-14
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.…

Sin has been defined as "an act or state inconsistent with the relations" in which we stand. To act as our position demands is to act rightly. The apostle appeals to Christians as reasonable individuals desiring to behave as befits their condition. Incongruities excite ridicule, as when the sailor walks on land as if he had to steady himself against the tossing of his ship. Who has not dreamed of being found in daylight in the street attired in the garments of sleep, and felt the peculiar shame of such an incident? How different the decorations that look well enough by gaslight appear when the scene is surveyed in sunshine! the tinsel and gaudy brilliancy disgust a healthy eye.

I. A CRITICAL SEASON. The daybreak is at hand, when the labourer should be found at work, the soldier engaged in conflict, and the traveller started on his journey. Night is the time in which Christianity has to struggle for existence, its adherents sometimes forced to resort to obscurity for fear of persecution. Christ's departure was the setting as his advent shall be the rising again of the sun; the interval is summer night. Our salvation is nearer than when we began to believe. Faith commenced the process of sanctification, ushered us into that kingdom of God on earth, whose consummation, whose outward triumph and glory, are approaching. The apostle may have deemed Christ's appearance nigh. Like the ancient seers, he viewed coming events in a picture, where the distinction could not always be accurately perceived between the background and the foreground. He knew, however, that certain occurrences must precede the Parousia. Surely this incentive to vigilance should be operative with us, to whom later centuries have rolled. Who shall say when the cry may resound, "Behold, the Bridegroom cometh"? No doubt, too, that the apostle foresaw a rapid extension of evangelistic endeavours. The nearing downfall of Jewish hopes would cause many to turn to the gospel as the only possible fulfilment of their Messianic aspirations. Such times of potency are ever occurring to us individually and collectively. Like ardent men of business, we should be on the look-out to seize our opportunities. Both at home and abroad this is an unequalled season for missionary effort; doors are being opened on every side. To spend the night in rioting is to slumber during the day: the morning will find us heavy-eyed and dull of brain. And to each one the day of death is drawing near - a day of deliverance, of full salvation to the faithful. Who would indulge the ambition of standing before the blaze of glory from the throne in filthy garments, with marks of sin upon the brow, and defiling stains upon the person? This night is our earthly day of service and opportunity. The day of heaven closes for ever the night of earth. The remembrance of wasted moments will diminish the splendour of the heavenly reward. "Work, for the day is coming!" The anticipation of such a season of disclosure is calculated to melt the stoniest heart into contrition. All deeds will stand confessed.

"My conscience hath a thousand several tongues,
And every tongue brings in a several tale."


1. Cultivate a spirit of wakefulness. "When the sun ariseth, man goeth forth to his labour." Those who sleep heavily, like the drunken, know nothing of the signs of dawn, and are surprised that the morning could come without their noting its approach. "Awake thou that sleepest," for thy sleep is that of death! His voice sounding through the cavern shall give thee strength to arise, and in his light thou shelf see all things clearly. It is death to the sentinel to sleep at his post. The lover cannot rest when he pictures the joy of the morrow, and the bride of Christ may well watch with intense delight the multiplying tokens of her Lord's arrival.

2. Indue the appropriate attire. This involves, first, the "casting off" of the vestments of the night, and secondly, the "putting on" of the costume of day. The works of darkness are like an infected garment, which the instructed wearer throws aside as worse than no covering at all. The panoply of light, the faith, hope, and love in which Christ arrays his followers, - this is the armour which will bear the scrutiny of the Captain, and prove a sure defence against the powers of evil. This negative and positive preparation is in essence one and the same, as the entrance of light scatters the darkness. Armour was the favourite dress of Romans, and though they would doff it for night revels, they would scorn to lack their accoutrements in the daytime. The cross of Christ is the tiring-room of his servants; there they die to sin and live unto righteousness; there they "put on Christ," imbibe his spirit, and receive his colours. The Northumbrian earl, conscious of the advent of death, desired to be clothed in the suit of mail in which he had won so many fights; but the eye became glazed, the nerveless hand could not grasp the spear, the ashen hue of mortality overspread his face. The Christian dons his equipment, never to lay it aside; in it he shall join the throng of those who have overcome.

3. Exert a decorous activity. Avoid evil by pursuing good. "Walk honestly," not indulging in intemperance, impurity, and discord, but leading a righteous, sober, godly life. Deeds of darkness are condemned by the light, revealing their hideousness, whilst habits of integrity and virtue shrink not from any scrutiny; they shine most lustrous in the brightest rays. Attain "to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ," "growing up into him who is the Head in all things." We are now weaving and sewing and donning the vestments that shall be our glory or our shame through eternity. - S.R.A.

Parallel Verses
KJV: 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.

WEB: Do this, knowing the time, that it is already time for you to awaken out of sleep, for salvation is now nearer to us than when we first believed.

Sleeping Christians
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