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.  The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.  Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.  But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. (ESV)
If each of us submitted our favorite Advent or Christmas verses, this passage probably wouldn’t be included! Admittedly, the message here, at first glance, doesn’t seem to be related to Christ’s arrival. But here’s why this passage is important: Since Jesus has come, we must respond by living in His light.
The main theme in this week’s readings is Hope. When the prophets spoke long ago, they prophesied the coming of the Messiah to people long trapped in patterns of sinful disobedience. The prophets spoke often of the One God would send to deliver His people from their sins. The Messiah’s arrival would be like light breaking into a darkened world.
The Apostle Paul says “salvation is nearer now” and “the day is at hand.” By saying this, Paul summons us to look by faith towards the second arrival of Jesus, when salvation will be forever secured and our war with indwelling sin is finally over and done. The second arrival of Jesus is so near that it’s like the sun that will certainly come up tomorrow and dispel the darkness of this cold night.
Do you live with that hope? Even though you feel the brokenness of this world, even though you experience the war inside you of the Spirit of God vs. your flesh, do you have the hope of Jesus Christ and His imminent return? If so, put off the sinful activity you are burdened by, rejecting that sin like you would cast off old, soiled clothing that stinks. And instead spend time with the Lord Jesus. Worship Him today in song. Tell Him how thankful you are that He has come. Trust Him and by faith obey Him, saying “no!” to your sin and saying “yes!” to all He says He will do for you. This is “putting on the Lord Jesus Christ.” And this is how we respond to His arrival.