8 December 2007Romans 13:11-14
''Let us live honourably as in the day'' (v.13)
Paul is reminding the young Church in Rome that being a
Christian and following Christ is not about having the freedom to
do what you want. It is not about saying we are one of Christ's and
then living a life that bears no resemblance to the message that
Christ brought and demonstrated throughout his life.
Other translations (such as the New Living Bible) begin this passage with the words "Wake Up!" To 'wake' in this case is to take action. Paul has listed a series of evils - he is not so much concerned about actions as attitudes. Many Christians, then as now, recognise the wrong of acts of murder and stealing. After all, the early Church had the Judaic Law and the Ten Commandments.
Paul makes a distinction between believing and the day of salvation. For Paul, in many of his writings, we have become believers, but our day of salvation will be when Christ returns. We must be personally ready and the Church must be 'kingdom' ready. Paul writes in Corinthians at great length as to how the Church can be ready and the need for the Church to be one body: for everyone to be brought into the Church and no distinctions made.
This week we have been considering the second coming of Christ and from this passage we can take our message that we are to work for the day of salvation both in our approach and attitude, but also we are to be a beacon to people. If the Church truly becomes a blueprint for the kingdom then we will have prepared the world for Christ to come back and take his place as the head of that kingdom.
In our preparations for Christmas, how are we doing at preparing ourselves for the second coming?
What preparation does our Church need?