The Hour has Come
When I was in college I lived in a fraternity house. Many interesting things happened in that house and some of them involved lots of people and lots of alcohol. At least once a month or so, our fraternity house would invite a sorority house over for a social event on a Thursday night. Often the festivities would extend well into the night. Inevitably, Friday morning would come around and alarm clocks would ring…and ring…and ring. It was the signal that the night is over and the day has begun. And the activities of the day looked much different from the activities of the night before. Guys made their way to the showers, to the dining hall for breakfast and coffee, and loaded up their backpacks to head out for class. And it was clear who had invested a little too heavily in the night activities as it made the day that much harder to take on.
That’s the analogy that Paul is using in this passage to contrast the way you lived before God called you and the way you are to live now that He has. There is a lifestyle he likens to the night and lifestyle that he likens to the day and they are very different. And the alarm clock has sounded and it is time to live according to the day’s demands. The day brings responsibilities which, if not met, bring problems.
By way of recap in our study on Romans, Paul is writing this letter to the church in Rome as preparation for a future, likely, first visit. So he writes a summary of what he teaches and in so doing, spells out for us a thorough examination of the gospel—which is the power of God for salvation—and the consequent life it brings with it to those who believe it.
He begins by exposing the fact that all of us are guilty before God and rightly under judgment. But God reveals his righteousness in the person and work of Jesus Christ and offers that righteousness to those who live by faith in God, who gave his son, the Christ, to stand in the place of those who believe and carry their guilt away by taking the judgment that they deserved upon himself. It is a remarkable exchange that God makes, highlighting his great love for those who believe.
He goes on to explain the change that faith brings upon a person, with the giving of his Holy Spirit, the believer’s life is to be transformed and what that transformation looks like is a work fueled by the Holy Spirit and worked out by the individual, particularly in cooperation with the church. That’s where we are in this chapter.
In view of God’s mercy, we are to be transformed by the renewing of the mind, exercising the gifts God has given to us for the building of his church, and loving the church body as our own body. That brings us to our passage this morning which puts the importance of this new life in perspective by highlighting the hour in which we find ourselves.