Paul uses two terms, aptly applied, to describe the present situation in human history: night and darkness. These concepts are consistently expressed as colorful explanations of where we are in human history (in fact, these terms can be said to describe all of human history). We are in night; we are living in a time of darkness. These are days of biblical and theological ignorance, cold hearts, disrespectful communication, lost priorities, war and bloodshed, confused ethics, and contradicting post-modern morality (or, shall we say non-morality, or perhaps a-morality, or even pan-morality which is no morality at all?). Self-centeredness, godlessness, and growing manipulative power, all flavor today's world. What a time of darkness this is!
But the Bible text before us describes this also as a time of nearing salvation. History is not cyclical but linear. We are pressing forward on a historical timeline that is purposeful and divinely ordered. The times in which we live seem to be controlled by the enemy of all that is good and right, but the circumstances are NEVER out of God's control. God was not elected to office, and He cannot be voted out. He needs no referendum, and He is absolutely, undeniably, and immutably GOD! The time when our salvation is going to be complete is getting closer and closer and closer. It won't be long before the easter sky brightens with a holy and glorious coming. Soon all the powers of darkness will be banished into that one eternal victorious day, and all the earth will ring with the praise of the King of kings and the Lord of lords.
So, what are Christians to do now? How are we to live? What should we be doing in light of these wonderful truths? There are several things I think are clearly given in the Scripture in Romans 13:11-14 that respond to these questions.
1. We must know the time, recognizing where we are in history, what kind of day it is, and what is coming. This requires discernment that is identified with spiritual liveliness. We must see all things through the perspective of our Christian faith and teaching.
2. We must wake up. The term "sleep" is used in this passage as a metaphor for apathy, indifference, and neglect. Christians must not be passive, afraid, or uninvolved. We must act in accordance with the teaching of Scripture.
3. We must live our lives in the knowledge ofd who we are, whose we are, and where we are going. We are told in this passage to put on the Lord Jesus Christ, which is defined in six ways: (1) Live with God's future applied victory clearly in your vision for life.
(2) Refrain from all things that represents spiritual and moral darkness. Christians must never be associated with darkness.
(3) Live with purposeful intent disciplining yourselves as watchful servants of Christ.
(4) Refrain from fleshly lusts.
(5) Control your anger, demonstrating Christian love and respect to others
(6) Live your life manifesting your understanding of what matters and what is valuable (do not be jealous)
The Christian life is not a categorical part of who we are as Christians. The Christian life is our life; it is all that we are. We cannot think or act in a way that is contrary with who and what we are in Christ. Christ is our life (Colossians 3:4). Until the eschatological light dawns, let us live as people of light in an age of darkness.