11 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 11 is a summons to action based on the coming of Christ. Verses 12 to 14 delve more deeply into this action.
11 And do this,
“Do this” refers to the Christian’s duty to follow all the exhortations from 12:1-13:10. The believer is to do this by keeping in view the imminent return of Christ in the Rapture.
knowing the time [kind of time],
Christians are to know the time in which they live. The word “time” refers to the kind of time (a particular kind of season), not the chronology of time. Here “time” refers to the character of the coming of Christ. This is a strategic, special season of time. “Time” here has ultimate import and significance in the working out of God’s design for us. It is time charged with issues of practical moment. That is why we need to wake out of our sleep. The alarm is ringing; the moment has arrived.
1 Chr 12:32, of the sons of Issachar who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, their chiefs were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their command;
“Time” is the completion of the salvation process and is bound up with our hope in Christ. “Time” here is the conclusion of the three phases of salvation:
Christ saved us in the past from our sins.
He is saving us in the present from the power of sin over our lives.
He will save us in the future from the very presence of sin.
“Now” here means already; the moment has arrived. There must be no delay, no neglect of the important issues at hand. The word “now” indicates the urgency of waking out of spiritual slumber and lethargy.
it is high time
“High time” is significant time in the present. The imminent coming of Christ and our ultimate salvation at hand is the momentous time.
to awake out of sleep [slumber];
Spiritual vigilance is necessary because Jesus might come at any moment. “Sleep” is a vivid picture of indifference and delay. Many today live in spiritual lethargy.
Eph 5:14, Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.”
We do what we do because of the significance of time from God’s viewpoint.
Christians need to be wide awake for a major event in history. If they do this, they will orient themselves to eternity ahead. When Christ comes again, it will be a new day for every believer. Night will yield to the day, the day of final salvation. We wait for that day. God will deliver us from the very presence of sin.
To sleep in the Christian life is to disregard God and become indifferent to His requests. The believer must not be lulled to sleep by indulgences of this world.
Christians need to understand the critical nature of the time they have left on earth. We cannot satisfy ourselves with things of this world (Ph 3:18-21).
Many Christians today have plunged into deep spiritual sleep. They have forgotten what it took to save their souls. We need to wake up and take action about our spiritual lethargy. Boredom retreats into sleep. The problems of life cause some to retreat into slumber.
Paul does not set a date for the Lord’s return. He does say that the time is nearer than when we believed.