12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
Submission to Secular Authorities
God has introduced the institution of human government as a restraining influence on sin and has permitted it the use of force. But the function of government is clearly limited: it is commissioned to restrain wrongdoing. Christians are to subject themselves to secular authorities “for conscience sale” and not just for fear of possible punishment. The Christian is to live as a good citizen of his country and society.
1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. … 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
At the same time, God is concerned with far more than good citizenship! God is building a new community: a colony of righteousness, settled in the dark and twisted world of lost men. This community is not marked off by its ideals or even by its rules and high standards: it is marked off by a deep love for one another which makes rules irrelevant.
10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
Love Fulfills the Law
9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
The Day is Near
Paul closes with an urgent call to his readers to awake to the importance of the present time. God calls us, now, to clothe ourselves with Christ, and to build his new community of love.
11 And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.
What you and I can do to build others up is a gift, and we ourselves are God’s gifts to others. Importance of love — It is in the climate of close, loving personal relationships that God’s Spirit works to build up members of the new community.
“Teaching” speaks of helping another believer put God’s truth into practice, and this ministry can take place in the home, at lunch, over the phone, in a home Bible study — or the Sunday school.
Church as a body and growth to build up one another. Each person is a minister. There is no division between “clergy” and “laity,” but growth and health come “through that which every part supplies” (Eph. 4:16). True interdependence is possible only because each individual has an important role to play in the life of others. Like cells in a living body, each of us makes a contribution to health of those around us.
It feels like darkening of the world is accelerating and something really terrible, death itself, is about to happen to us all! Children are being destroyed. Humans are losing their dignity and being turned into dispensable objects.
I wish it’s just a movie I’m watching. I’m holding my breath for the promised Day to come. Apostle Paul is speaking to us at the present time.
11 … The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. It’s time to put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.