ROMANS 13:11-14: “This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living. Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.” NLT
OBSERVATION: Should there be a dress code for Christians? As we live our life of faith in Jesus Christ, should we look different? Have we become too casual in our worship? Is it only what is on the inside that matters?
Okay, I am not talking about our physical appearance. While a lot could be said about this, and it is a worthy subject for another time, I am referring to what Paul is talking about in the closing verses of Romans, chapter 13. Just as we put on physical clothes each day that match our activity for the day, so we should put on spiritual clothes each day that match our calling.
Paul begins with the context of these statements with a reminder that we are living in the final chapter of human history.
- “This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here.”
Why is this so important? The time for men and women to place their faith in Jesus Christ is coming to a close. We live in a time of increased darkness. Violent crime is on the increase. Sin is embraced and celebrated. The church is marginalized and disrespected. The only thing standing between this onslaught of darkness is the light of our lives.
Jesus made it very clear!
- “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:14-16 NLT
We are not those who hold the light – we are the light. We are not The Light, but we are filled with His Light and our lives and actions are to shine forth. We are to let His light shine through us to a dark and hurting world.
During the Jesus Movement of the 1970s, a Christian musician named Barry McGuire shared his testimony of a life that was lost in the Hollywood scene and drugs and transformed by the light of Jesus Christ. One day he was gazing up in the sky and someone said to him – “Do you see the sun? We are not the sun. We are like the moon and are meant to reflect the glory of the Son.” Barry McGuire continued looking up toward heaven and said – “Lord, let me be a BIG MOON!”
How do we know if we are living like His lights in this darkened world? Paul uses the analogy of changing our clothes. It is a simple and powerful analogy!
- “So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living. Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.”
I have performed many weddings during my pastoral ministry. I have always enjoyed watching the small ring and flower bearers. They come to the wedding wanting to run and play, yet they act differently because they don’t have their old play clothes on. Dressed in a small tux or fancy dress, hair combed and styled, they walk around with a totally different attitude. In this case, the clothes really do make the man (woman).
Paul is not referring to an outward uniform. Many groups have tried this approach and I think it has failed. It draws attention to the receptacle rather than the light. Paul exhorts us to clothe ourselves with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ! Take a moment to think about this. How would we act if we were standing face to face with our Lord Jesus Christ? How would we live if Jesus was walking beside us every step of the way? And, here is the powerful reality…
THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT HE IS DOING!
Paul is calling us to live our true reality! We are children of the light. Jesus Christ lives within us. Jesus Christ is the Lord of our lives. Just as we would not clean out a septic tank in a formal dress or a tux, so we are not to walk in the pathway of the darkness of our former lives or the false light of this world. We are to throw off these old dirty clothes in the power of His grace. We are to put on the Lord Jesus Christ and live as children of light.
Every Christmas Eve we would celebrate a candlelight service. We would start with the Christ candle, and then pass the light from one person to another. As the light was passed, the dark room became illuminated with the glow of each person’s light. It is always a beautiful sight. Yet, at the end of the service, we would extinguish the candles and go home. I am afraid that is how many of us are living today. It is time to keep the light burning brightly for all the world to see!
IT IS TIME TO CLOTHE OURSELVES IN HIS LIGHT!
Lord, help me to live today in the presence and power of my Lord Jesus Christ. Pour out the oil of Your Holy Spirit upon my life and let me shine brightly. Keep me on the pathway of light and life. May my life be a testimony of your life and love in the midst of this dark and dying world.
In Jesus Name1