Although brief, this passage for me describes in a nutshell the essence of Paul’s teachings in all of Romans.
We all of us are human and therefore imperfect. Acknowledging faith in the Grace of God ,who sent his son to die for our sins, involves acknowledging our own death to sin.
Attendance at church ; participation in church activities; and our relationships within any given house of God, though commendable, do not begin to evince our true acknowledgement of God’s grace. They are but way stations in our scheduled journey through life. It is our life’s being that is the focus of Paul’s teachings.
The paths we walk between these way stations must find us “putting on” the Lord Jesus Christ …..sharing God’s love for us with all whom we encounter, be they friend, foe, neighbor, work associate or work competitor. Loving God means loving others. If we covet, harm, or otherwise commit offense to any other, we fail to heed Paul’s point that we must “make no provision for the flesh”. To forget this “golden rule” is allow the sin we profess to deny to resurrect itself in our existence, and to preoccupy it so that our time cannot be fully utilized in loving our brethren.
If we strive for life eternal in the bliss of heaven among the angels and all the saints we revere and recollect, how is it that we ignore the importance of each and every moment in the passing of our own, finite mortal existence in an imperfect society? Paul admonishes us to recognize something obvious…so obvious that we most of us fail to see the ‘minutes for the years.’ “It is already the hour for you to awaken”. Since our sanctification by the sacrifice of Jesus, time has elapsed. The more time elapses from that blessed act of Grace, the closer we come to the “salvation” which is “nearer to us than when we believed”.
“Knowing the time” means realizing each and every moment of each and every day that we draw closer to the light of the kingdom of Jesus from the darkness of our sin, which passes ever further into our past and which can never gain overtake us if we demonstrate our love for god by sharing it through his holy Spirit with our fellow man by loving them as we do ourselves as sanctified children of God.
I attended a lecture once by a famous author. He remarked that several years earlier, a doctor had informed him that he had an affliction which was terminal, and that his doctor had “given me a year to live“. His response was surprising…….he informed us that he was elated!. After all, he said, “no one had ever given me a year to live before!”.
In the ensuing two and a half years this author wrote and published half a dozen novels, including best sellers, one of which was currently being screened as a top ten film in theaters nationwide.
This author had indeed laid aside any sorrow or coveting of the good health of those around him. He had “put on the armor of light” and “made no provision” for the strife and jealousy of his own unhealthy flesh. His literary output delighted millions and employed thousands.
I think Paul’s lesson is that each of us needs to realize that we are no different than this author. Young, old, hale and hearty or old and enfeebled; we each of us need to live our lives by sharing the love of the Holy Spirit with each and every other fellow traveler on the finite road to the day we break loose of these mortal coils.
A life which every conscious moment “puts on the Lord Jesus Christ” and which “makes no provision for the flesh” and its’ imperfections will truly evince acknowledgement of God’s grace and mercy, and a life so lived while it lasts will help to gain eternal Peace for all of us with God in his Heaven to his everlasting Glory