“Oh, no! We overslept!” Just like Home Alone—those were the first words out of my mouth on January 1st four decades ago. We had 25 minutes to get the airport. Within seconds, the house was a flurry as everyone rapidly dressed and scooped belongings into suitcases for a harrowing ride to catch the flight.
It was an abrupt end to a memorable celebration with college friends who had flown from Nebraska to spend the holiday with us. Their tickets were cheap, but the downside was a 6:00 AM departure on New Year’s Day; and, we’d attended a church event until well after two o’clock in the morning.
Somehow, I managed to navigate the icy roads without mishap. Our friends reached the gate moments before the aircraft door closed.
It’s a story we rehearse every time we’re together. They would have missed their flight had we not finally heard the alarm.
Looking forward to the year 2020 on the Gregorian calendar, the apostle Paul’s words are like a blaring alarm clock that Christians in the 21st century dare not ignore.
ROMANS 13:11-14 (CJB)
“ . . . you know at what point of history we stand; so it is high time for you to rouse yourselves from sleep; for the final deliverance [the Rapture] is nearer than when we first came to trust.
The night is almost over, the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and arm ourselves with the weapons of light. Let us live properly, as people do in the daytime — not partying and getting drunk, not engaging in sexual immorality and other excesses, not quarrelling and being jealous.
Instead, clothe yourselves with the Lord Yeshua the Messiah; and don’t waste your time thinking about how to provide for the sinful desires of your old nature.”
Paul speaks to Christians who—though they are indeed authentic Believers—are sound asleep because they failed to recognize the significance of the times. (1)
Unlike the persecution our brothers and sisters around the world are experiencing, for most in North America and Europe, Christianity is easy and the sacrifice for following Christ is small. Consequently, the peril of falling asleep is great.
ROUSE FROM SLEEP—WAKE UP!
Paul says, Look what time it is! Rouse yourself from sleep. It’s high time to wake up! The relevance of the apostle’s warning is becoming increasingly obvious with the players of Ezekiel 38 posturing on the world stage.
Prophetic alarm bells are sounding loudly today. Predictive passages of Scripture are coming to life. The hornet’s nest of the Middle East is buzzing. Those threatening to destroy Israel as described in Ezekiel 38-39 are in position as the preliminary stages of the prophecy are unfolding in real time before our eyes (Ezek. 38-39).
New information technology that is making intercontinental networking faster, easier and more intrusive is undoubtedly paving the way for the final global empire described in Scripture (Rev. 13:16).
The prophetic Scripture coupled with world events scream, Wake Up!
The mental image Paul creates is unmistakable. He urges, “cast off the works of darkness” (Rom. 13:12, NKJV). Once we are fully awake, the next step is throwing off the encumbering blankets that the apostle calls, “works of darkness.” Although momentarily comforting and even enjoyable, the works of darkness are unfulfilling and worthless.
Heavy blankets represent spiritual inactivity—lethargy, apathy, indifference and laziness—with regard to living an authentic life of faith. Stifling influences keep us satisfied with mediocre Christianity. Paul urges us to decisively cast off the works of darkness. And then, get up!
Next, Paul logically tells us to get dressed for action and, “arm ourselves with the weapons of light” (v. 12). You’re not dressing for a picnic or day on the beach. You’re preparing for spiritual warfare. The spiritual life is described as a battle where Christians are commanded to fight our adversary, the devil, who walks around devouring like a roaring lion (1 Pet. 5:8).
His minions will do all in their power to cause us to waver in the faith and silence our testimony.
Without the armor of light, we face the enemy in spiritual pajamas that are inadequate protection from Satan’s fiery darts (Eph. 6:16). That may explain why the church has had so little influence on prevailing culture. In a spiritual battle, spiritual weapons are an absolute necessity. (6:10-18).
In his concluding remarks, Paul clarifies that armed with weapons of light, we become a visible testimony of our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Those who are alert to prophetic signs know that the hour is late. With the consummation of our faith so close at hand, there is no time for idle slumber (Rom. 13:12). Christians must rise to the challenge. We have work to do. Now that you’ve heard the alarm, warn everyone to wake up, get up and get dressed.
1) Conversely, unbelievers are spiritually dead (Eph. 2:1-9).
Copyright © 2019 Charles E. McCracken, devotional comments only. Repost/Reprint with permission from the author via Contact Form under ABOUT. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Charles E. McCracken is an international Bible teacher, long-time friend of Israel and advocate for the Jewish people. Rev. McCracken authentically communicates biblical truth making his presentations relevant for those seeking to understand the significance of Israel and the church in Bible prophecy. He staunchly supports the nation of Israel and the Jewish people’s right to exist and live in peace.