Romans

13:11-14

Exhortations12:1-15:13

i] The marks of a Christian community, 12:3-13:14

e) Put on the Lord Jesus Christ

Argument

Paul now concludes the general ethical section of his letter, encouraging his readers to recognize that their salvation is nearer now than when they first believed; "the night is far gone, the day is at hand." Therefore, they are to put off drunken revelries, sexual sins and sins that destroy relationships, and put on Christ. When Paul speaks of putting on Christ he is speaking of putting on Christ-likeness, of living under Christ's guiding hand rather than the impulses of the flesh.

 
Issues

i] Context: See 12:1-2.

 

ii] Background: See 1:8-15.

 

iii] Structure: This instruction toward putting on the armor of light presents as follows:

Proposition:

The return of Christ is near at hand, v11-12a.

Instruction:

Be clothed in light; "behave decently", v12a-13b;

Put off orgies, drunkenness, immorality quarreling ....v13b;

Put on Christ rather than the desires of the flesh, v14.

 

iv] Thesis: See 3:21-31.

 

v] Interpretation:

The immediacy of the second coming is not as pressing as in his letters to the Thessalonians, but none-the-less Paul gives due weight to the return of Christ in this letter to the Romans. A believer needs to live in the expectation that the hour is neigh. The "this", touto, in v11, is backward referencing, probably encapsulating the totality of the ethical instructions covering 12:1-13:10. We are to do "this" because the dawn of the new age is upon us, the dark night is nearly over. We are to put off darkness and put on light; put off drunken orgies, unrestrained promiscuity, and jealous strife; we are to put on Christ-likeness rather than gratify the desires of the flesh. We are to clothe "ourselves in the moral habits of him who is the Captain of our salvation", Hunter.

 

vi] Exposition: A simple exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.

 
Text - 13:11

Ethics and the coming of Christ, v11-14. Paul places discipleship in the context of Christ's return. Knowing that Christ will one day return serves as an effective motivator for Christian service, cf. 1Thess.5:1-11. "Since the end of the world is coming soon, Christians should not linger in sin, but take very seriously the call to show actual righteousness and goodness in their lives", Best.

Kai touto "and do this" - and this. "And this" is a particular Greek form used to further develop a previous point; "besides this ....", ESV. Possibly referencing all of the ethical instructions covering 12:1-13:10, so Schreiner. The NIV follows Moulton in expressing the verse as an imperative with poieite assumed. Not necessarily an imperative, so possibly the indicative legw, "I say this". The developed point being made is that we are to love our neighbor in the knowledge that Christ's return is near.

eidonteV (oida) perf. part. "understanding" - knowing. Usually treated as a dramatic perfect. The NIV treats the participle as adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of doing "this", but a simple indicative (Jewett, cf. MHT 1), or imperative is possible; "In doing this you must know that the decisive hour has come", TNT.

ton kairon (oV) "the present time" - the time, season, fitting season. Paul is encouraging us to read what is going on around us, the intertwining of circumstance in the passing of time. Christ's death and resurrection would be central to understanding the big picture. Paul, in the early part of his ministry, expected Christ's return during his own lifetime. Later, he accepted that he would not be alive at the time of the second coming. Here Paul is non committal, but he certainly sees the time getting away. The present moment is not a time for sleep; it is a time to be prepared. Of course, given that life is short, the day of judgement is indeed drawing near. "It is high time", Cranfield.

oJti "-" - "that. Introducing a dependent statement of perception expressing the content of their knowledge of the time, namely that the hour has come ....

wJra egerqhsai (egeirw) aor. pas. inf. "hour" - hour [already for you out of sleep] to be awakened. The infinitive following this noun "implies (a temporal) necessity", Burton. "It is time [for you to wake up......]" The accusative subject of the infinitive is uJmaV, "you".

ex + gen. "from [your slumber]" - out of [sleep]. Expressing separation.

gar "because" - Introducing a causal clause explaining why a believer should awake from their sleep (their lack of "readiness for the imminent crises", Cranfield), namely, "because" of the immanent return of Christ.

egguteron (egguV) comp. adv. "nearer" - [now our salvation] closer. The comparative adjective is used for an adverb. Paul is most likely speaking of the parousia in time terms. He sees Christ's return as very close.

hJ "than" - or. Here the disjunctive is used as a comparative.

oJte "when" - Temporal conjunction.

episteusamen (pisteuw) aor. "we first believed" - [than when] we believed. The aorist is obviously ingressive; "when we began to believe / became believers", Morris.

 
v12

Paul encourages his readers to put aside evil behavior and strive for righteousness. To make his point, he uses images of light and dark. The darkness is of this age, while the light is of the age to come. This age conforms us to its ways, and they are the ways of selfishness. The age to come is of goodness and we must be transformed into its ways. So, let us put on the life-style of the age to come as we put on clothes, or as in this case, as we put on armor.

proekoyen (prokoptw) aor. "nearly over" - [the night] has advance, gone forward [and the day has drawn near]. The perfective aspect of the aorist doesn't work in English if we want to express the sense "advance", so requiring the perfect "has advanced", but better as NIV.

oun "so" - therefore. Drawing a logical conclusion; inferential.

apoqwmeqa (apotiqhmi) aor. mid. subj. "let us put aside" - let us put away. Hortatory subjunctive with the aorist being punctiliar / constative.

tou skotouV (oV) gen. "[the deeds] of darkness" - the works [of the darkness]. The genitive is adjectival, descriptive / attributive, limiting works, "dark works" / idiomatic, "works which are characteristic of the dark." They are dark works, satanic, works of the Devil.

enduswmeqa (enduw) aor. mid. subj. "put on" - [and] let us put on. As with apoqwmeqa, "put aside, cast off", a hortatory subjunctive, middle = "ourselves", the aorist being punctiliar, expressing decisive action. The Christian life is one of warfare and so we put on this goodness in the midst of a battle which propels us, "conforms" us, toward darkness. We clothe ourselves with goodness by putting on the righteousness of Christ, by grace through faith, and then look to him to work his work of renewal in our lives - to make us what we are.

tou fwtoV (wV wtoV) gen. "[the armor] of light" - [the weapons] of the light. The syntax as for "of the darkness." A category of military equipment, armor, that which is required for battle, cf. Eph.6:13.

 
v13

The believer is to live a Christ-like life-style in the present moment as if they were living in the age to come, the age of light.

peripathswmen (peripatew) aor. subj. "let us behave" - let us walk about. Hortatory subjunctive with the aorist being ingressive. Referring to the Christian walk, ie. behavior, conduct. Paul illustrates the darkness with three pairs of evil behavior: drunken revelries, promiscuous debauchery and jealous brawling. Of course, drunkenness is the mother of all these.

euschmonwV adv. "decently" - becomingly. Modifying the verb "walk / behave"; used originally of graceful dress, but later of decent conduct.

wJV "as" - Adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of the walk, so Cranfield, cf. MHT III p158; "As (if walking) in the light of day", Cassirer. A temporal sense for the construction is suggested by Turner; "during / while in the day."

en + dat. "in" - in. Local, expressing space/sphere.

hJmera/ (a) dat. "the daytime" - day. Most commentators suggest that "the day" is the eschatological day; "under the sign of the new day", Kasemann. Given the now / not yet reality of the new age, realized / inaugurated, although we live in the darkness of this age, we also live in the brilliance of the new age, and therefore we should live, not as children of the dark, but of the light.

mh kwmoiV (oV) dat. "not in carousing" - not in orgies. This adverbial dative, as with the other listed evils, is modal, expressing manner. "We can't afford to waste a minute, we must not squander these precious daylight hours in frivolity and indulgence, in sleeping around (mh koitaiV, "not bed" = sexual intercourse) and dissipation, bickering and grabbing everything in sight", Peterson.

kai "and" - and [drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in strife and jealousy]. The three sets of nouns joined by kai my well be hendiadys, each pair expressing a single idea. So we may have "drunken orgies", Dunn, "unrestrained promiscuity", Harvey, and "jealous strife", Cranfield.

 
v14

Instead of focusing on the dark, "how to gratify the desires of the flesh", Paul instructs his readers to clothe themselves with Christ. The idea here is likely to be more practical than subjective; it entails dispensing with the works of darkness and practicing the works of light, "actively renounce sin and vigorously embrace righteousness", Schreiner.

alla "rather" - but. Adversative; "but put on the Lord Jesus Christ", ESV.

endusasqe (enduw) aor. mid. imp. "clothe yourselves" - put on [the Lord]. The aorist, being punctiliar, expresses decisive action, while the middle voice gives the sense "put on yourselves", as NIV. Given the context, it is likely that the idea of putting on Christ is not of putting on his righteousness, ie., Paul is not talking about justification. The identification in this passage has ethical / moral implications, a striving to put on a Christ-like lifestyle. Paul is concerned here with the impartation of Christ's righteousness whereby we die to the power of sin and rise to new life, renewed daily by the indwelling Spirit of Christ. In practical terms it would be foolish for a believer, renewed by the Spirit, to "deliberately make provision for the satisfaction of the flesh's desires", Cranfield.

Ihsoun Criston "Jesus Christ" - Standing in apposition to "Lord".

pronoian (a) "[do not] think about" - [and do not be making, giving] a forethought, provision. We are to focus on Christ rather than let our mind run loose and plan for sinful gratification.

thV sarkoV (x koV) gen. "[the desires] of the flesh" - of the flesh. Emphatic by position in heading the clause, as is epiqumiaV, "desires, lusts", by ending the clause - impossible to express in English. The genitive is usually taken as verbal, objective, "no provision for the flesh for its lusts"; "no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires", ESV.

eiV "-" - to / for [lusts]. Here expressing purpose, "a provision for / for the purpose of the lusts."

 

Romans Introduction.

Exposition

 

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