"And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed" (Romans 13:11)
What a marvelous truth to understand that our final deliverance from this world is fast approaching. Because of this, we are in a critical hour to recognize reality. We need to awaken from slumber and start advancing the kingdom of God because salvation is near and millions of people are lost.
Jesus spoke extensively about signs of the times and what to watch out for. He told his disciples, "Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door" ( Mark 13:28-29 ). He was speaking of the end of the age telling them the signs that would accompany it. Then he reminded them of the fig tree. The fig tree showed the timeframe for summer had come when leaves appeared. Even so, the events that Jesus mentioned in the Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21 lead to the end of this world. Because of this we know that the hour is at hand and our final salvation in nearer to us than when we first believed.
Jesus went on to say, "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come" ( Mark 13:32-33 ). As believers we need to be ready to go when he comes. We should be standing our ground and advancing the kingdom of God. We should not be hanging back waiting for that day lest Jesus find us asleep or consumed with this world. We should be alert and ready. Jesus told his disciples in Luke's gospel account, "When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near" ( Luke 21:28 ) . Our final salvation, the redemption of our physical bodies will take place unexpectedly; therefore we should always stand looking up in anticipation.
We should be on guard, awake and alert because we also have a job to do. Our job is to preach the gospel to the far reaches of the world. Jesus told the disciples that when this is accomplished He will return for us. "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come" ( Matthew 24:14 ). So the sooner we get moving on our mission, the sooner we will be present with the Lord forever.
Paul reminds us in today's passage that fulfillment of this mission stems our of our love debt to the Lord. He said in the previous verse, "Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law" ( Romans 13:10 ). Then he started this passage with "And do this, understanding the present time..." It is because of our love for God and His love for mankind that we share the good news with everyone around us. Not out of fear, not out of guilt, but out of love and gratitude for Him. We should be burdened to see the lost saved, knowing what an incredible gift our salvation is.
Today, I pray that you are challenged to awaken from normal everyday life being motivated for the kingdom of God. Remember your final salvation is at hand and Jesus is coming very soon. Look up expectantly today, knowing that He is coming back for you. Share this good news in your workplace, with your neighbors, with your family and with your friends. The sooner this mission is accomplished the sooner we are out of here!