Romans 13:10-14 Love does no harm to its neighbour. Therefore love is the fulfilment of the law. And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armour of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
The verb ‘to save’ occurs in the New Testament in three tenses: sometimes in the perfect tense, ‘I HAVE BEEN saved’, signifying a present status based on a past, completed action; sometimes in the present tense, ‘I AM BEING saved’, expressing an ongoing process; and sometimes in the future tense, ‘I WILL BE saved’, looking forward to something yet to happen.
In effect, they are referring to our JUSTIFICATION (perfect tense), SANCTIFICATION (present tense), and GLORIFICATION (future tense).
It is the third sense that Paul has in mind when he says that our salvation is ‘nearer than when we first believed. Yes, we CAN be sure of heaven because our justification is complete, based on what Christ HAS DONE for us on the cross, and the process of sanctification continues in us as the Holy Spirit fashions us each day to be more like Christ; but the whole ‘package’ of SALVATION is not complete until we go to be with Christ, or until he returns – which ever happens first.
So, in today’s verses, Paul is reminding us of Jesus’ many warnings throughout the Gospels: to be READY and found DOING his will when he comes in power. In the light of all this, how are you going now in the sanctifying phase of your salvation package? Paul goes on to point out, with some urgency, aspects of our lives and behaviour that might need to be dealt with at present, concluding with the words: “Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not [even] THINK about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” I inserted the word ‘even’ because I think that is what Paul is trying to get across. Are WE in constant READINESS for the Lord’s Return?
– Bruce Christian