J. Gordon Duncan

Culture, Business, Fitness, Etc.

Putting on Christ Part 2 of 3

Part One of this post can be found here.

11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. 12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand.

Paul quite clearly says to each and every one of us:  wake up.  Now is the time for you to wake up and realize what is at hand.  Salvation here implies the return of Jesus Christ – the ultimate realization of our salvation.  Let me go old school here for a moment:  Jesus is returning.  He will bring salvation and life to those who have faith in Him, and He will bring judgment and death to those who have not.  Metaphorically, the night is gone and the day is at hand.  Your expressions of love and mercy to your neighbor are extensions of the invitation of Jesus Christ to those who do not know Him.  The paying of your debt of love is the sharing of the Gospel to those who do not yet know Jesus Christ and a demonstration of Jesus’ love to those who do.

Now why would Paul tell the Romans, and subsequently you as well, to wake up?  Because quite simply, we’ve forgotten.  Other things have our attention.  Have you ever been separated from a loved one for a significant amount of time?  Do you remember what it was like to long for their return?  I’ve told this story before but never grow tired of it.  I remember waiting for Amy to return from England when we were engaged.  She was gone for 4 months and I was a depressed puppy.  At any point in the journey I could tell you how many days until she would return.  This was when there was no cell phone, no email…just snail mail and dialing 13 digit numbers over and over again at 5am just to get 5 mins to talk.  There was no one any more ready for her return than I.

That is the sense of expectancy for the return of Jesus that we are called to have.  But nearly every moment of every day in this world seeks to drag you away from the central task of loving others with the goal of proclaiming Jesus Christ with the expectation of His return.  Every thing from cleaning the house to paying the bills to picking the kids up from school to facebook to taking out the trash to doing the laundry seeks to distract you from loving others in the name of Christ in the hopeful expectation of His return.

Now some of those things are completely fine and even essential to our day to day living.  You have to do laundry.  You have to educate your children.  You have to eventually clean your house.  You have to pay your taxes.  And in the course of most of our days, it so easy to set our focus on the performing of the thousands of tasks that are our responsibly and not setting our mind to loving our neighbors in the name of Christ in expectation of His return.

When trying to get the kids out the door and into the van, it’s difficult to have any time built in to speak to your neighbor.  When picking your children up from school, the ocus is either getting home or to the next errand and not to love and serve the principal and teachers.  In the grocery store, what’s your primary concern?  Making sure your kids don’t make too much noise or being nice to the other customers or getting to know the cashiers.  We have our salvation for which we are thankful but the worries of this world drown us out so getting around to weeping for people who don’t have salvation is often far from our minds.  Where our personal sacrifice meets the loving of our neighbor is where we find out just how much we have been personally impacted by Jesus Christ.  When we realize that much of our life is carving out comfort for our little corner, Paul says to us, “Wake up.”  Look what Paul calls this reorienting of our life…

So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.

Waiting expectantly for Jesus’ return is loving your neighbor but it is also, casting off the works of darkness and putting on the armor of light.  This is serious language for serious times.  This is Paul’s straightforward command of walking in repentance, turning away from sin, and striving to live a Godly life.  And just in case we don’t know what sins Paul is talking about, he gives us a list of them to which we should avoid and repent.   What we have here is the extreme of several good things.  That’s what sin does.  It takes a healthy thing and distorts it by taking it to extremes.

Sex, completely healthy in the marital realm, gets turned into orgies when tainted with sin.  Alcohol completely healthy and even commended in scripture gets turned into drunkenness when tainted when sin.  Pleasure gets turned into sexual immorality and sensuality when tainted with sin.  Relationships get turned into quarreling and jealousy when tainted with sin.

Well, you might say, “Okay, I know I shouldn’t get drunk, quarrel and be jealous, but at least none of us have to worry about orgies.”  Not so fast.  If you are married and engage in any pornographic activity watching other people have sex, you are involved in an orgy.  If you are married and engage in any flirting or fantasizing with another person you have involved you and your spouse in an orgy.  The marital relationship is about the fidelity of two people to each other.  Two becoming one, forsaking all others and clinging to one another.

How about drunkenness?  The Bible commends the use of alcohol on Proverbs 31:6 and I Timothy 5:23.  It is a good thing however that can be easily abused and requires the same amount of self control that sex and relationships require.  Now the amazing thing is I know a bunch of people who drink but I’ve hardly met any one who has gotten drunk.  Everyone says, “No I wasn’t drunk.  I can handle my drinks.”  Good I hope you can.  But if alcohol is the only way you can relax or calm down or take a break mentally, then that is drunkenness.  Paul would say cast that behavior off.

How bout quarreling and jealousy?  Quarreling and jealousy are when you can’t see beyond your own desires.  Are you guys familiar with Winston Churchill’s famous speech following Operation Dynamo?  In it he said, “We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”  If you take that attitude and apply it to your personal life, what you get is quarreling and jealousy.   When you look around at the people in your life (your parents, your children, your spouses, your employees, your co-workers, your bosses, your neighbors) and you think, “First and foremost, I’m going to protect myself,” then you get quarrels and jealousy.  Basically, whenever you miss out on loving others as you love yourself, quarreling and jealousy are all that remain.

These will be the things to completely take you away from you preparedness for Jesus’ return.  Sexual sin, drunkenness, quarreling and jealously are all selfish, self-pleasuring sins that reflect a worship of self and a complete lack of love for one’s neighbor.

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February 15, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] Putting on Christ Part 3 of 3 Part One of this post can be found here. Part Two of this post can be found here. […]

    Pingback by Putting on Christ Part 3 of 3 « J. Gordon Duncan | February 15, 2010 | Reply


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