Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy.
In Romans 13:12, Paul said, “The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.” When Paul talked about putting on the armor of light, putting on new behavior, he was not talking about imputed righteousness–the gift that God gives us the moment we trust in Christ. Instead, he was talking about ethical righteousness. That refers to our acts after we are Christians, not to earn our salvation but out of appreciation for what God has done for us.
What kind of garments do we need to remove? He said, “Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy” (13:13). Paul said there are three kinds of behavior every Christian needs to lay aside. First, we need to lay aside uncontrollable pleasure. “Carousing and drunkenness” refer to activities of the nighttime. Some people desire to anesthetize themselves to the pain of life, and they do so with alcohol, drugs, and partying. More often than not, they engage in these activities at night, when they would never think of doing them in the day. My parents used to say to me, “Robert, remember this: nothing good happens after midnight.” That was what Paul was saying here. That behavior is not suitable for the daytime. Second, he said we need to lay aside “sexual promiscuity and sensuality.” These are things that are done in secrecy under the cloak of darkness. Paul said to lay aside unrestrained immorality. Third, he said we need to lay aside “strife and jealousy.” Isn’t it interesting that Christians say sexual immorality is terrible, but it’s okay to resent other Christians or have outbursts of anger or harbor bitterness in your heart? No, God says. You need to lay aside unresolved anger too. Why? Because Christ is coming back.
There is another set of garments you need to put on. If I had been writing this letter, I would have probably come up with a laundry list of behaviors Christians ought to put on: love, gentleness, self-control, peace–all those sorts of things. But Paul simply said, “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ” (13:14). That is, behave as Jesus would. When you are surfing the Internet, what sites would Jesus look at? When the name of one of your enemies pops up in a conversation and you are tempted to say something, what would Jesus do? Put on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Then Paul added the phrase, “Make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts” (13:14). He was saying, do not rationalize sinful behavior. Do not make any excuses for sin. Instead, give yourself a zero-tolerance level for sin. You cannot sin just a little bit. Sin is addictive. The more you sin, the more you want to sin. Paul said, in light of the fact that Christ is about to appear, it is time to get up, and it is time to get dressed in the behavior of the day.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “It’s Later Than You Think” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.