When Jesus departed from this earth, and the disciples were left looking at the sky, an angel appeared to them saying,
Men of Galilee…why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11)
Luke tells us that hearing this they returned to Jerusalem with great joy worshiping continually in the temple (Luke 24:52-53), and they also waited for the coming of the Spirit (Acts 2). And when the Spirit came, they went out and turned this world upside down.
Now, years after this event, Paul brings all this back to mind, saying,
And do this (i.e., love each other), understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. (11-12)
In other words, knowing that the day of Jesus’ return is coming soon, we are to be awake, alert, and ready. I love the ESV translation of verse 12.
The night is far gone; the day is at hand.
Paul’s saying, “The time when Satan ruled is long past. The Day of Christ is at hand.”
He then takes the metaphors of night and day, and says,
So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. (12b)
In short, since the time of Satan’s rule has passed, and the time of Christ is at hand, let us put aside the deeds associated with that time of darkness, and instead put on the deeds associated with the light. What are the deeds of darkness? He tells us in verse 13,
Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.
Most people, when they do evil, do it in secret, in darkness. But Paul says here to step out into the light. Act as you would when you know the whole world is watching. More, act knowing that God is watching and sees all you do.
Note also that though Satan’s time has passed, though he has already lost because of the cross, nevertheless, he continues to fight. So we are to be prepared for battle wearing the armor of light. We are to have on the helmet of salvation, the shield of faith, the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth, the sword of the Spirit, and our feet fitted and prepared to take out the gospel. (Ephesians 6:14-17)
Paul then concludes by saying,
Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature. (14)
We are to be people clothed Jesus Christ himself. His power and his character should be resting upon us as we live each day. And if we are clothed with him, then there is no room for feeding our sinful nature.
Again, I like the ESV which puts it,
Make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. (14b)
So knowing that Christ is coming soon, let us be like the 12 disciples, living each day in joy, filled with the Spirit, and turning this world upside down for the sake of Christ. Let us embrace the Day.