What does Romans 13:11 mean?
ESV: 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.
NIV: And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.
NASB: Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we first believed.
CSB: Besides this, since you know the time, it is already the hour for you to wake up from sleep, because now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.
NLT: 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.
KJV: And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
NKJV: And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.
Verse Commentary:
Paul prefaces his statement here with "besides this." The "this" in question seems to be everything Paul has written from the start of chapter 12 through the previous verse. He has described what it means to live as a Christian on this side of eternity. Using a series of commands, many of them difficult to follow, Paul has painted a picture of a believer as a person who sets himself aside for the good of others and radically trusts God to provide all that is needed.

Now Paul begins to describe why it is so essential for Christians to live this way. Time is of the essence. The world is changing right now. Paul writes to the Roman Christians that the hour has come for them to wake up, in the sense that the sun is about to rise. It's time to get to work.

The schedule of day and night drastically controlled the world of Paul's day. With no artificial lighting, firelight—feeble by modern standards—was all that stood between people and darkness. Most work stopped as soon as the sun went down and started again when the sun rose. Paul is urging Christians to see, in a spiritual metaphor, that the sun is about to rise. It's time to get up.

What does it mean that the sun is rising? Paul describes the moment as one in which salvation is closer now than when his readers first trusted in Christ. Does this mean that Paul did not think of Christians as being saved? Not at all. The New Testament often describes salvation as something that has happened, is happening, and will happen. In this case, Paul is referring to salvation in the sense that all who are in Christ will have reached eternity, that the time of ultimate victory and judgment is fast approaching.

Paul believed that day could come at any time. Two thousand years later, we are still looking forward to it.
Verse Context:
Romans 13:8–14 describes the Christian obligation to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. To do this is to fulfill the law of Moses, because love itself never hurts anyone. The time has come for believers to cast off any works of darkness, including drunkenness, immorality, and jealousy. Instead, we should live as people who walk in the light, taking on the spiritual armor of light and Christ Himself.
Chapter Summary:
Romans 13 tackles three big areas that living-sacrifice Christians must address. First, since God puts every human authority in place to serve His purposes, Christians must submit to them; this idea comes with a particular context. Second, we must love our neighbors as ourselves. Third, we are called to live as people of the light and throw off works of darkness like drunkenness, sexual immorality, and jealousy. We are to take on the armor of light against the darkness and, in fact, take on Christ Himself instead of serving our own desires.
Chapter Context:
The prior chapter described the ideas of becoming a living sacrifice for Christ and being transformed by that relationship. In chapter 12, Paul gives certain applications of what this looks like for Christians who have received God's great mercy. Paul instructs believers to live in submission to human authorities in government because God has put them there for His purposes. Loving our neighbors as we love ourselves is the ongoing obligation of every Christian. Finally, we must throw off any works of darkness we have been taking part in and take defensive positions against the darkness in spiritual armor of light. The time has come to take on Christ and stop arranging our lives to serve our own desires.
Book Summary:
The book of Romans is the New Testament's longest, most structured, and most detailed description of Christian theology. Paul lays out the core of the gospel message: salvation by grace alone through faith alone. His intent is to explain the good news of Jesus Christ in accurate and clear terms. As part of this effort, Paul addresses the conflicts between law and grace, between Jews and Gentiles, and between sin and righteousness. As is common in his writing, Paul closes out his letter with a series of practical applications.
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