Knowing The Time!
Time, and the importance of knowing the time are essential to a successful life. We often talk about time management, or wasting time, or saving time, or quality time, or spare time–the Bible speaks about ‘redeeming the time’ (Eph. 5:16)–and we’ve all felt that sinking feeling when we start to run out of time! Some always seem to know the time exactly, others only ever know it to the nearest five minutes, others just never seem to know it! Some think it is a virtue to be on time (early) every time, others think it is a virtue to be 5 minutes late every time.
Spiritually speaking it is essential that we ‘know the time.’ I recently enjoyed Paul's encouragement to the Romans to ‘know the time’ (Rom. 13:11). ‘What time’, you ask? Paul answers this directly–time to wake up from spiritual slumber. In the KJV this is translated as ‘knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep.’ Notice the repeated use of the English word, ‘time.’ In Greek it is not the same word and could be translated like this. ‘Knowing the age, it is the moment to wake up.’
I often think it would be nice to be oblivious to the spirit of the age, and ignorant to the scheming of the Devil–but actually, I think that the verse is telling us that we must ‘know the age.’ Sometimes a refusal to know the time might be convenient–we are enjoying the world too much, and a conscience free way to continually justify our behaviour is to convince yourself that the world is not as sinful as people say–but mostly, it is just a lack of awareness. You might think ignorance is a good thing, and in many ways it is–we are instructed to think on things that are pure (Php. 4:8)–but here are two reasons, direct from the pen of Paul the apostle, as to why we need to ‘know the age.’
Firstly, if we know the age, then we will awake from spiritual slumber (sleep). One of the problems of being oblivious to the world around us is that it can promote a spiritual lethargy. When spiritual lethargy sets in it ruins spiritual productivity, and productivity is the purpose of the christian life. We work now, to receive reward in eternity. So Paul uses the participle ‘knowing’ to give the reason to wake up. It could be rendered this way, ‘because you know the time.’ In reality, all of us know the spirit of the age, the question is, will we wake up?
Secondly, knowing the time is essential because we are running out of time. Paul says: “The night is far spent, and the day is at hand.” The night is a metaphor for the current age, and Paul tells us that it is nearly finished. We would only know this if we know the spirit of the age. But more, if the night is far spent, then the day of our salvation is almost here! The day of Christ is almost here!
This is the Christian hope, the time of our full salvation and final spiritual assessment. But we are running out of time! It is time to wake up! Dear christian, know the spirit of the age and awake from spiritual slumber!
Mervyn Hall is in fellowship with his wife in the assembly that meets in Hebron Gospel Hall in Bicester (UK) and is employed as a business consultant to the Healthcare industry.