Romans 13:12 Commentary

To go directly to that verse

Romans 13:12 The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: e nux proekopsen, (3SAAI) e de hemera eggiken. (3SRAI) apothometha (1SAMS) oun ta erga tou skotous, endusometha (1PAMS) [de] ta hopla tou photos

Amplified: The night is far gone and the day is almost here. Let us then drop (fling away) the works and deeds of darkness and put on the [full] armor of light. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

GWT: "The night is almost over, and the day is near. So we should get rid of the things that belong to the dark and take up the weapons that belong to the light.

NLT: "The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So don't live in darkness. Get rid of your evil deeds. Shed them like dirty clothes. Clothe yourselves with the armor of right living, as those who live in the light." (NLT - Tyndale House)

Phillips: "The night is nearly over, the day has almost dawned. Let us therefore fling away the things that men do in the dark, let us arm ourselves for the fight of the day!" (Phillips: Touchstone)

Wuest: The night has long been on its way, and the day has arrived. Therefore, let us at once and once for all put off the works of the darkness, and let us at once and once for all clothe ourselves with the weapons of the light. 

Young's Literal: the night did advance, and the day came nigh; let us lay aside, therefore, the works of the darkness, and let us put on the armour of the light;

Romans 1:18-3:20 Romans 3:21-5:21 Romans 6:1-8:39 Romans 9:1-11:36 Romans 12:1-16:27
God's Holiness
God's Grace
God's Power
God's Sovereignty
Jew and Gentile
Gods Glory
Object of
of Sin
of Grace
Demonstration of Salvation
Power Given Promises Fulfilled Paths Pursued
Restored to Israel
God's Righteousness
God's Righteousness
God's Righteousness
God's Righteousness
God's Righteousness
Slaves to Sin Slaves to God Slaves Serving God
Doctrine Duty
Life by Faith Service by Faith

Modified from Irving L. Jensen's excellent work "Jensen's Survey of the NT"


THE NIGHT IS ALMOST GONE: e nux proekopsen (3SAAI):


Night (3571) (nux/nýx) is literally the period between sunset and sunrise, that part of the day that lacks light. Metaphorically (as in this verse) nux/nýx describes the time of moral and spiritual darkness that enshrouds this present world and is radically, irrevocably opposed the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ (2Co 4:4-note, 2Ti 1:10- note) and the Light of the world (John 8:12) and to His "light people" who are left in the world (Jn 17:15, 16, 17) to be spiritual lights ( their good [God/supernatural] works which draw attention not to the natural man but to the Supernatural God = Mt [supernaturally enabled] not grumbling which causes us to appear as lights in the world = Php 2:14, 15-note). And so in this passage, Paul refers to the spiritual darkness of this present evil age (Gal 1:4) using the metaphor of night.

TDNT has an interesting note on nux/nýx...

nýx (nux) means “night,” “darkness,” “the dark,” and figuratively “blindness,” “harm,” or “death.” In mythology deified Nýx is a dreadful figure. Night is a time for demons and hence for magic. But it is also a time for revelations, especially by dreams as the consciousness is released from the empirical world....

Figuratively, night is a time when there can be no work (Jn. 9:4) and also a time of defective spiritual understanding (Jn 11:10). In Paul it is the time before the consummation of God’s rule (Ro 13:12). Believers already stand in the light (Ed: See following quote from 1Thessalonians 5) in contrast to those who are spiritually asleep or are drunk. As children of light, they are to walk in the light (cf. Ro 13:11.).

In First Thessalonians Paul describes believers no longer as "night people" but now positionally in Christ as those who are "light people"...

But you, brethren, are not in darkness (skotos), that (Ed: term of explanation = Explaining one of the benefits of being "light people") the day (Ed: What day? When you encounter an expression of time always interrogate it with the 5W/H'S = "The day" when the spiritual night of this present age disappears in the light of the glory of the coming King and His glorious Kingdom of light - cp Mt 24:27, 29, 30 Rev 1:7-note) should overtake (katalambano = "surprise") you like a thief (simile); for (term of explanation = explaining why the end of the spiritual night of this world should not surprise us) you are all (no exceptions - all believers are) sons of light and sons of day. (Ed: And expected now to live like we are of the day. Our belief must always be linked with and impact our behavior. Cp our familiar saying "Like Father, like son"!) We are not of night nor of darkness; so then (term of conclusion = Because of who we are and "Whose" we are - not our own but Christ's - 1Co 6:19-note, 1Co 6:20-note, Titus 2:14-note) let us not sleep as others do (Ed: Referring to "spiritual sleep" in a moral/ethical sense, doing what comes naturally [i.e., according to the flesh] - in short "others" refers to those who are not regenerate and thus belong to the spiritually dead [Ep 2:1-note] dark world system), but (contrast = not in spiritual stupor but...) let us be alert (gregoreuo in the present tense = continuously awake and able to rightly assess what is happening in the spiritual dimension) and sober (nepho in the present tense - see comment below). For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night. But (contrast) since we are of the day, let us be sober (see comment below), having put on (enduo = same verb used here in Ro 13:12. Here in First Thessalonians Paul describes this "putting on" as a past completed action = this is the believer's armor which God gave us the moment we believed in Christ! PTL!) the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation (Ed: Notice the great "triumvirate" of our salvation = faith, hope and love!). (1Th 5:4, 5-note, 1Th 5:6, 7-note, 1Th 5:8-note)

Comment: Notice that in this short description of light people, the charge to be "sober" is issued twice by our "commanding general", the apostle Paul. Therefore it behooves us to fully comprehend what it means to be sober in a figurative sense (albeit it is imperative of course to be sober in the literal sense!). In brief, the verb nepho means to be free from every form of mental and spiritual "intoxication". The idea is to be calm and collected in spirit, self-controlled, well-balanced, clear headed. Be self-possessed (even better be "Spirit" possessed) under all circumstances and with all people. It speaks of exercising self-restraint (enabled by the Spirit) and being free from excess, from evil passion, from rashness, etc. To conduct ourselves soberly in this intoxicating world means to be circumspect, always careful to consider all circumstances and possible consequences, being prudently watchful and discreet in the face of danger or risk of being ensnared by the lures and enticements of the the world, the flesh (cp Jas 1:14-note) and the devil .

John makes a similar allusion to the spiritual darkness of this present world and how "light people" are to behave in the midst of "night people"...

On the other hand, I am writing a new (kainos - "fresh") commandment to you (Ed: to love one another = "the fulfillment of the law" = cp Ro 13:8, 9-note, Ro 13:10-note), which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away (present tense = continuing to pass away = a process that is progressing) and the true Light is already shining (the process of removing the darkness has already begun and light people, who are letting His love shine, are impacting the darkness, a process which will come to consummation when the Redeemer returns to the earth to finally and fully eliminate spiritual darkness). (1Jn 2:8)

Comment: D. Edmond Hiebert (See his excellent comments on the entire epistle of First John) explains that the commandment to love "is not a recent innovation, yet it is qualitatively new as experienced in Christ." In other words although God had given this same command in Lev 19:18, it is now new because of Christ's incarnation, death, burial and resurrection, and because of the fact that now believers are new creations in Christ (2Co 5:17-note) in the new covenant and now possess a new heart and new power (Ezek 36:26, 27), they can now obey this old command to love in a "new" way. As Jesus declared to His disciples...

A new (kainos - "fresh") commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you (Ed: Note this "new" qualifier - disciples are called now to love like He loved!), that you also love one another. By this (Quality of supernaturally enabled love) all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (Jn 13:34, 35)

The spiritual darkness of this sin dominated world is passing away because the Light of Jesus came into the world as the Light of the World (Jn 1:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, Jn 8:12). Christ is now in us as the hope of glory and so His light is in us (we are "light in the Lord" Ep 5:8-note) and His light should shine through us into the darkness. Later in this same passage Ro 13:12, Paul exhorts believers to put on the full armor of light.

John is saying in essence that the lives of those who have trusted Christ ought now to be manifestations of Christ's light (Ed: Note that the new commandment in 1Jn 2:8 is "to you" - you believers) and His love (E.g., Jesus' quality of love = Jn 15:13, 1Jn 3:16!).

Charles Simeon explains why the old commandment is new: It was new as it respected the Lord Jesus Christ, who had proposed His own conduct as the model (which, of course, it could not be, till He Himself had completed His work on earth), and had enforced it with His own authority as Mediator, which also must be subsequent to His entrance on the mediatorial office. And it was new also as it respected us, because it was never before conceived to extend to the “laying down of our lives for the brethren,” and because it was enjoined with new motives, such as could never have existed before, even the testifying of our love to Christ, “who has loved us, and given himself for us.” Previous to the coming of our Lord, a veil of obscurity hanged over these things: but now they were made clear, “because the darkness was past, and the true light now shined.” (The True Light)

In short, every believer should live a life of Spirit enabled love “because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining”. When we were born again, the "love of God (was) poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who was given to us." (Ro 5:5-note). Now as those who are "light in the Lord" are to "walk as children of light" (Ep 5:8-note) and make the daily, moment by moment choices (those "choices" even enabled by God's grace - Php 2:13-note) to walk by His Spirit (Gal 5:16-note), being continually led by Him (Gal 5:18-note), we are enabled to bring forth the peaceful fruit of righteousness, the "fruit of the Spirit (which is) love" (Gal 5:22-note) and light to the spiritually dark world.

Is the light of your Spirit empowered love shining into the increasingly dark night of this world? Are you walking in the light, as a "light person"? May we be willing to let our lifestyle and our relationships (loving or not loving) answer that question, knowing that our life speaks louder than our lips! Are you as convicted as I am beloved?!

John Stott elaborates on the contrast between day and night in Scripture noting that...

the Bible divides history into two ages or ‘aeons’. From the Old Testament perspective they were called ‘the present age’ (which was evil, Gal 1:4) and ‘the age to come’ (which would be the time of the Messiah [Ed: see discussion of Millennium]). Moreover, the two ages were sometimes portrayed in terms of the night and the day. The present age was like a long dark night, but when the Messiah came, the sun would rise, the day would break, and the world would be flooded with light (Lk 1:78, 79 [Ed: see also Is 9:2, Mt 4:16, Jn 1:9, 3:19, 20, 21, 8:12, 9:5, 12:46, 2Ti 1:10-note]).

The Bible also teaches that Jesus Christ is that long-awaited Messiah, and that therefore the new age began when He came. He was the dawn of the new era. He ushered in the day (Ed: cp Lk 17:21). He proclaimed the break-in of the kingdom of God (Mk 1:14, 15). At the same time, the old age has not yet come to an end. As John put it, ‘the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining’ (1Jn 2:8). So, for the time being, the two ages overlap. Unbelievers belong to the old age, and are still in the darkness. But those who belong to Jesus Christ have been transferred into the new age, into the light. Already in Christ we have ‘tasted … the powers of the coming age.’ (He 6:5-note) Already, God has brought us ‘out of darkness into his wonderful light’ (1Pe 2:9-note). Only when Christ comes in glory will the present overlap then end (Ed: Mt 24:30). The transition period will be over. The old age will finally vanish, and those who belong to it will be destroyed. The new age will be consummated, and those who belong to it will be fully and finally redeemed.

Night...almost gone - Both of these phrases are time phrases. Notice how in the previous passage (Ro 13:11-note), Paul piles up time phrases (the time...already the salvation is nearer...then when…the night is almost gone…and the day is at hand). These time phrases serve to stimulate a sense of urgency regarding how we live life each day, for once that day is gone, it is irretrievable! So one of the first things we as believers need to understand in order to be motivated to live as light people in the midst of night people is that...


Tempus fugit, time flies, and so do the opportunities, specifically in context the opportunities to obey and live godly and holy lives (cp 1Ti 4:7, 8-note, 1Ti 4:9, 10, 11, 12-notes; 2Pe 3:11, 12-note; 2Pe 3:14-note). Apathy and even worse, willful sin, has no place to the life of a follower of Christ, for we are on mission and our "window of opportunity" is limited. The Lord's return is imminent which is a reality, a truth which should serve as a constant motivator toward holy conduct and godliness.

Beloved believer, called out from among the night people and transferred into the family of "light people" (1Pe 2:9-note, Col 1:13, 14-note Acts 26:18), how often do you think about the glorious imminent return of our Bridegroom and King, Christ Jesus, Whose return will bring down the final curtain on this present, passing darkness? Remember that what (Who) you are looking for, will (should) radically alter what (Who) you are living for.



Light people must wake up from spiritual lethargy and love their neighbors while there is still opportunity to do so.

Hughes writes that light people "ought to be like the little boy whose family clock malfunctioned and struck fifteen times, so that he rushed wide-eyed to his mother crying, "Mommy, it's later than it's ever been before!" What sanctifying logic! We should also keep in mind that if Christ does not return in our time, he will certainly come individually for us in death. Each ache, each pain, each gray hair, each new wrinkle, each funeral is a reminder that it is later than it has ever been before. It is time to love our neighbors as ourselves. (Hughes, R. K. Romans: Righteousness from heaven. Preaching the Word. Crossway )

Newell - As long as our Lord was on earth, He was the light of the world (John 9:5). Since He is gone, it is spiritual night. But He now says, “You [believers] are seen as lights in the world, holding forth the word of life” (Phil 2:15-note, Phil 2:16-note, cp Mt 5:16-note). Of course, it was night for the human race from the moment Adam sinned (cp Ro 5:12-note); and deeper night, as sin increased (Ro 5:20-note). Our Lord’s coming brought a brief day—a “day of visitation,” (Lk 19:44) and of actual blessing, if they received Him. His return to earth is spoken of as “the Sun of Righteousness arising with healing in His wings,” (Mal 4:2) when it will again be day! It is good to know, in our wrestling with “the principalities and powers, the world-rulers of this darkness,” (Ep 6:12-note) that the night is far spent, the day is at hand. (Romans 13 Verse by Verse Commentary)

Ray Stedman - If we look around us,...I think we can see that the long, dark night is beginning to lighten. This long, dark night of sin began at the fall of man, at the fall of Adam in the Garden of Eden, when man, through disobedience, passed from life unto death, and was plunged into the dark depravity of fallen human life. Thus he introduced the world into the darkness of night which has been running through the course of history from the very beginning. But now, the dawn of God's day of "peace on earth, good will to men," that was first announced by the angels when Jesus came to Bethlehem {cf, Lk 2:14}, is very near at hand. purposefully and intelligently, Wake up! (Read the full sermon The Demand of the Hour)

Calvin has an interesting comment regarding the meaning of "night" writing that "Ignorance of God is what he calls night; for all who are thus ignorant go astray and sleep as people do in the night. The unbelieving do indeed labor under these two evils, they are blind and they are insensible; but this insensibility he shortly after designated by sleep, which is, as one says, an image of death. By light he means the revelation of divine truth, by which Christ the sun of righteousness arises on us. (Mal 4:2) He mentions awake, by which he intimates that we are to be equipped and prepared to undertake the services which the Lord requires from us. The works of darkness are shameful and wicked works; for night, as some one says, is shameless." (Romans 13)

Is almost gone (4298) (prokopto from pro = before or forward + kopto = to cut, impel) literally means to cut before and then to cut forward in front, to cut forward a way, to advance, to go forward. It can mean to lengthen out by by hammering (as a smith in forging metals). To cut forward (as in a forest), to blaze a way, to go ahead, to make progress.

Prokopto conveys the idea of moving forward or making progress sometimes to an improved state (Jesus' wisdom and stature in Lk 2:52) or other times to an undesirable state (2Ti 2:16, 3:13). In 2Ti 3:13, prokopto is used similarly in the sense of accomplish or to progress in an activity (speaking of the activity of the false teachers - as in 2Ti 3:6, 7, 8-notes).

Prokopto is used here by Paul in a metaphorical sense to describe advance of the night, that "whole period of man's alienation from God" as Vine characterizes it. The idea here is the night has moved forward to a final stage and thus is far gone or drawing to a close.

Wuest writes that prokopto "means “to blaze a way” through a forest, “to cut a pioneer path.”

Vincent on prokopto - The word originally means to beat forward or lengthen out by hammering. Hence to promote, and intransitively to go forward or proceed.

TDNT - This word seems to be originally nautical for “to make headway,” “to forge ahead.”

NIDNTT - prokopto and prokope which both in Stoic philosophy and in Philo denote ethical advance.

Here are the 6 uses of prokopto in the NT...

Luke 2:52 And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

Romans 13:12 The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand. Let us therefore lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.

Galatians 1:14 and I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my countrymen, being more extremely zealous for my ancestral traditions.

Comment: Paul's figure using prokopto is that of a runner in a race cutting ahead of others. Paul was way out in front, already a leader. Saul of Tarsus was so intent in his ambition to further the cause of Judaism that he did not hesitate to "cut down" all opposition and in this respect outstripped (advanced beyond) his contemporaries.

2Timothy 2:16 (note) But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness,

2Timothy 3:9 (note) But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, as also that of those two came to be.

2Timothy 3:13 (note) But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

Since the next great event in God's redemptive plan is the Second coming of Jesus Christ, the night, no matter how long chronologically, is "nearly over." Paul is saying the end of the age, the last age, is near. It has been near all along because no one knew when the end would come, but it is certainly much, much nearer now than when Paul first wrote -- since we can look back across the span of two thousand years of human history.

Lawrence Richards - History may roll on for centuries. But it is still true that "the night is nearly over." In Christ a great light dawns, showing us truth and righteousness and calling us to a faith that transforms us into righteous men and women. How impossible then that we should let ourselves sink back into a darkness corrupted by sinful acts. How overjoyed we should be to clothe ourselves with Christ and live His kind of life in our lost world.

Ray Stedman - It is interesting that thoughtful men (not necessarily Christians) are becoming more and more aware of an approaching climax in human history. You can't read the newspapers without being aware that there is an air of sober experience on every side. You travel about, as I have been privileged to do this last summer, and you get the feeling, as you visit various nations, that things have gotten beyond men's control. We sort of stumbled onto a treadmill which is carrying us with frightening rapidity toward an event from which we cannot escape. Men no longer are in control of their own events. Governments are no longer able to govern by advice and consent; they are governed by crises, muddling through, doing the best they can as each crises develops, and they never know what is coming" (Read the full sermon - The Demand of the Hour)


(play hymn)

by Thomas Kelly

The night is far spent, the day is at hand;
Already the dawn may be seen in the sky;
Rejoice then, ye saints, ’tis your Lord’s own command;
Rejoice, for the coming of Jesus draws nigh.

How bright it will be, when Jesus appears!
How welcome to those who have shared in His cross!
A crown incorruptible then will be theirs,
A rich compensation for suffering and loss.

Affliction is light compared to the day
Of glory that then will from Heaven be revealed!
“The Savior is coming,” His people may say,
“The Lord whom we look for, our Sun and our Shield.”

O pardon us, Lord, that love to Thy Name
Is faint, with so much our affections to move!
Our deadness shall fill us with grief and with shame,
So much to be loved and so little to love!

O kindle within us holy desire,
Like that which was found in Thy people of old!
Who felt all Thy love, and whose hearts were on fire,
While waiting in patience Thy face to behold!

AND THE DAY IS AT HAND: e de hemera eggiken (3SRAI):


The day - "What day?" (See expressions of time) would be the natural question. As discussed above, this day almost certainly refers to the day of the Lord's triumphant return (see Table comparing Rapture vs Second Coming).

R A Torrey - The imminent return of our Lord is the great Bible argument for a pure, unselfish, devoted, unworldly, active life of service.

John Calvin - Christ keeps the minds of believers in a state of suspense until the last day.

J C Ryle - Uncertainty about the date of the Lord's return is calculated to keep believers in an attitude of constant expectation and to preserve them from despondency.

Billy Graham - The subject of the second coming of Christ has never been popular to any but the true believer.

D L Moody - I never preach a sermon without thinking that possibly the Lord may come before I preach another.

C H Spurgeon - If I knew that our Lord would come this evening, I should preach just as I mean to preach; and if I knew he would come during this sermon, I would go on preaching until he did....The fact that Jesus Christ is to come again is not a reason for star-gazing, but for working in the power of the Holy Ghost.

Someone has well said that "When it comes to belief in the Lord's return there are two kinds of Christians—gazers and goers."

John Blanchard - The certainty of the Second Coming of Christ should touch and tincture every part of our daily behavior. (Blanchard, John: Complete Gathered Gold: A Treasury of Quotations for Christians)

As Denny in the Expositor's Greek Testament so rightly puts it "The true day dawns only when Christ appears; at present it is night, though a night that has run much of its course." (Romans 13 - The Expositor's Greek Testament)

The fact that the Lord's return is imminent (see imminency), should serve to motivate us to number our days that we might present to the Lord a heart of wisdom (Ps 90:12-Spurgeon's note). It should serve to cause us to seek to redeem the time for the days are evil (Ep 5:16-see note).

The apostle John alludes to the day of the Lord's return as the believer's great motivation for holy living...

Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. (1Jn 3:2-note, 1Jn 3:3-note)

Comment: As we contemplate the nearness of this day, this glorious truth should renew our minds and motivate us to be holy as He is holy (1Pe 1:14-note, 1Pe 1:15, 16-note, 1Pe 1:17-note, cp Mt 5:48-note, cp Ex 6:7; 19:6, Lv 11:44,45, 20:7,26 ,19:2, Dt 7:6,14:2)

The anticipation of the Lord's return is also frequently mentioned elsewhere in the NT as an incentive for holy living, Paul writing to Titus that "the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing (teaching, disciplining) us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, (eagerly, continually) looking for (and motivated by) the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus. (Titus 2:11-note, Titus 2:12-note, Titus 2:13-note).

The writer of Hebrews admonishes believers to "consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day (the day of Christ's return) drawing near (eggizo in the = it is continually on its way!) (He 10:24, 25-note).

James calls on us to "Be patient, (aorist imperative = command to make this a top priority) therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. You too be patient; strengthen (both verbs are commands - aorist imperative) your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. (Jas 5:7, 8).

Peter warns his readers that "The end of all things is at hand (cp "the night is almost over"); therefore, be of sound judgment (aorist imperative = command speaking of an urgent need) and sober spirit (aorist imperative = command speaking of an urgent need) for the purpose of prayer. Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins” (1Pe 4:7, 8-note).

Paul reminds us that as believers there is a solemn day in eternity future when "we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ (bema), that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad (phaulos).” (2Co 5:10-note).

In light of the imminent return of our Lord, Peter gives us the following exhortation "And so we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. (2Pe 1:19-note)

Is at hand (1448) (eggizo from eggús = near) means literally to move nearer to a reference point, to come near, to approach, to be at hand, draw near or be nigh.

Eggizo in Ro 13:12 is in the perfect tense which depicts the truth that this day "has drawn nigh" and is still nigh. Paul is saying that Christ's glorious return could be at any moment. This is a vivid picture!

The verb “is at hand” (eggizo) is used in the New Testament of the approach of the kingdom of God in relation to the First Advent (cf. Mt 3:2; 10:7; Mk 1:15, Luke 10:9, 11) as well as the Second Advent (Rom 13:12; Heb 10:25; James 5:8). The verb means “to approach, to draw near”; in the perfect tense, it portrays the event in view as having drawn near and now being in a position as near at hand, ready to break in. It thus depicts the return of Christ as impending.

William Newell characterized Christ's return as “the next thing on the program.” This statement expresses the conviction of the early Christian church (Ro 13:12; 1Co 7:29; Php 4:5; Heb 10:25; Jas 5:8, 9; Rev 1:3; Rev 22:20).

Christ’s anticipated return was

always near to the feelings and consciousness of the first believers. It was the great consummation on which the strongest desires of their souls were fixed, to which their thoughts and hopes were habitually turned. (Nathaniel M Williams)

Eggizo - 42x in the NT -

Mt. 3:2; 4:17; 10:7; 21:1, 34; 26:45, 46; Mk. 1:15; 11:1; 14:42; Lk. 7:12; 10:9, 11; 12:33; 15:1, 25; 18:35, 40; 19:29, 37, 41; 21:8, 20, 28; 22:1, 47; 24:15, 28; Acts 7:17; 9:3; 10:9; 21:33; 22:6; 23:15; Ro 13:12; Php 2:30; Heb. 7:19; 10:25; Jas. 4:8; 5:8; 1Pe 4:7

Newell - It is good to know, in our wrestling with "the principalities and powers, the world-rulers of this darkness, " that the night is far spent, the day is at hand. The word translated at hand is from the verb to "draw nigh, " as in Mt 21:1. Paul uses it in Heb 10:25 (note): "So much the more as ye see the day approaching": and it is the same word in 1Pe 4:7 (note): "The end of all things is at hand" (drawing nigh). No matter what others say about the second coming of Christ, the apostles and the early Church lived in the expectation of it! (Romans 13)

In light of the "lateness of the hour" take a moment, beloved, to ponder the profound words of Adoniram Judson who literally gave up his life and worldly fame and success to take the gospel light to the spiritual darkness of Burma ...

A life once spent is irrevocable. It will remain to be contemplated through eternity...the same may be said of each day. When it is once past, it is gone forever. All the marks which we put upon it, it will exhibit forever...each day will not only be a witness of our conduct, but will affect our everlasting destiny....How shall we then wish to see each day marked with usefulness...! It is too late to mend the days that are past. The future is in our power. Let us, then, each morning, resolve to send the day into eternity in such a garb as we shall wish it to wear forever. And at night let us reflect that one more day is irrevocably gone, indelibly marked.

Robert Morey -If I could preach a sermon in every church in the world next Sunday it would be, “Wake up! Wake up! Wake up! Precious people are being lost while we are fiddling around in our churches amusing ourselves with worthless programs and meaningless trivia.” (Morey, R. A. Satan's devices. Breaking free from the schemes of the enemy. (164). Las Vegas, NV: Christian Scholars Press)

Puritan Thomas Brooks - Your time is short, your task is great, your Master is urgent, and your reward is sure. The devil makes all the haste he can to outwork the children of light—in a speedy despatch of deeds of darkness, because he knows his time is short. He will not let slip any opportunity whereby he may do mischief. Oh may you not let slip any opportunity wherein you may honor a good God, and be serviceable to your generation. (Hypocrites Detected)

Spurgeon writes that believers must ...

First, Listen To The Morning Call. I have shown you that the hour of the day is that in which men should rise and begin their daily service; and its first seasonable duty is to awake — “It is high time to awake out of sleep.” (Ro 13:11) When day begins sleep should end. The bugle sounds in the camp,

“Awake! Awake!“

But are not all Christians awake? Yes, from the sleep of death, but not from other kinds of sleep. Many need rough shaking and loud calling before they will be thoroughly awakened. Beloved brethren, I speak to you upon whom the light has arisen, and who are now delivered from the power of darkness (Acts 26:18), for you will not deny that it is high time for you to shake off the bands of slumber. You should rise from the sleep of inaction. Do not let your religion consist in receiving all and doing nothing. Work while it is called to-day (Jn 9:4KJV), and as you wish to be faithful servants of your gracious Lord be up at once.

It is time for you to stir yourselves, and see what can be done with the golden hours for the glory of your Redeemer’s name.

Go forth and see what herbs are to be planted, what weeds are to be rooted up, what part of the garden needs watering, and which of the vines need pruning. Your Master’s vineyard needs constant labor, for he himself keeps it with unceasing care.

Up, then, gird up your loins and yield your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God (Ro 12:1).

Leave also all lethargy behind you. At night a man may yawn and stretch himself as he likes; but when the morning comes, good sir, have done with yawning, and display energy. Look about you and be brisk, for the day will be none too long. Does not the song of the birds and the glitter of the dew bid you shake off your slumber and have done with listlessness? Oh, I hate to see some professing Christian people go about the Lord’s work in such a languid way, as if it did not matter how their Lord was served. Ah me! If God was obeyed with half the activity with which the devil is served we should soon see a change in church life. Men are wide awake enough when they are serving themselves. Jingle a guinea (unit of value equal to one pound and one shilling) seven miles off and they will hear it; but if service is to be done for Christ you must put the clarion (medieval trumpet with clear shrill tones) to your mouth and blow a blast as loud as the judgment summons before you can wake men up to hearty enthusiasm.

It is high time that we woke out of half-heartedness.

Moreover, it is time to have done with dreaming. That is proper for the night, but not for the morning. An ungodly man’s pursuits are mere dreams; he hunts after shadows, he feeds upon ashes; his weightiest business is a mere vision, a thing of nought. You who are not of the night, must not dote on the world’s shadows, but look for heavenly substance.

Live for eternal realities.

Set about business that is real in God’s sight, such business as you will think worthy of your heart when you come to die and when you stand before the judgment seat of God (2Co 5:10). Have done with day dreams as well as night dreams and come to stern matters of eternal fact. Trifle no longer; the time past may suffice you for that. Be earnest! Be all awake, put forth all your powers, arouse all your faculties. It is high time to awake out of sleep. (Romans 13:11-14 Dressing in the Morning)

Rise Up, O Men of God
Classic tune at Cyberhymnal
YouTube Version by Phil Keaggy

Rise up, O men of God!
Have done with lesser things.
Give heart and mind and soul and strength
To serve the King of kings.

Rise up, O men of God!
The kingdom tarries long.
Bring in the day of brotherhood
And end the night of wrong.

Rise up, O men of God!
The church for you doth wait,
Her strength unequal to her task;
Rise up and make her great!

Lift high the cross of Christ!
Tread where His feet have trod.
As brothers of the Son of Man,
Rise up, O men of God!

THEREFORE LAY ASIDE THE DEEDS OF DARKNESS: apothometha (1SAMS) oun ta erga tou skotous:

(Play Hymn)

by Fannie K Allen

A servant of Jesus am I,
To you this message I bring:
The night is far spent, the day dawns at length;
Get ready to welcome the King!

Get ready to welcome the King,
Get ready to welcome the King;
The night is far spent, the day dawns at length,
Get ready to welcome the King!

Dark evil has long held its sway;
Its end is coming and near,
For Jesus, God’s Son, shall come to His throne,
The Savior to sinners so dear.

All power to Jesus is giv’n,
Ascended to Heav’n again;
He humbled Himself to die on the cross,
But soon He is coming to reign.

Therefore (3767) (oun) means consequently, for that reason, because of that, etc (see term of conclusion). In other words because of the nearness of the day of Christ's return, lay aside those deeds associated with your former life lived in spiritual "darkness" even as as nightclothes are laid aside in the morning.

D Edmond Hiebert writes that

Therefore (oun) grounds the duties now depicted (Ed: Cp Ro 13:12, Ro 13, 14-note) in the consciousness of the impending end. In the New Testament this eschatological (Ed: prophetic, "last things") hope is frequently used to motivate Christian conduct (Mt 24:45 thru Mt 25:13; Ro 13:11, 12, 13, 14; 1Co 15:58; 1Th 4:18; Heb 10:25; Jas 5:8, 9; 1Jn 2:28; 1Jn 3:2).

The return of our Lord
has always furnished the supreme motive
for consistent Christian living.


The proper apprehension of this hope does not lead to uncontrolled excitement and fanatical disorder (cf. 2Th 2:1, 2, 3; 3:6-16) but rather to self-discipline and mutual service. (Selected Studies from 1 Peter Part 3 Living in the Light of Christ’s Return An Exposition of 1 Peter 4:7-11 by D. Edmond Hiebert)

The Amplified version renders this graphically "Let us then drop (fling away) the works and deeds of darkness..."

In Ephesians Paul has a similar thought: "You were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord. Walk (present imperative = Command to make this your lifestyle. Speaks of direction, not perfection!) as children of Light (Ep 5:8-note)

Paul is calling all saints to an attitude of watchfulness, with a view to holiness in all aspects of life, on the grounds that the day is at hand.

MacArthur - The imagery here pictures a soldier who has been engaged in a night orgy and drinking bout and, still clad in the garments of his sin, has fallen into a drunken sleep. But the dawn is approaching and the battle is at hand. It is time to wake up, throw off the clothes of night, and put on the battle gear.

C H Spurgeon asks...

When awake, what is the next duty? Is it not to cast off your night clothes? Our text says,

Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness.

The man who is just awakened, and finds that it is morning light, must first of all put off the garments which covered him during the night. He quits his bed, and in so doing shakes off his bed clothes and leaves them. Your friends do not come down stairs wrapped in the sheets which wrapped them at night; we should suppose they were seeking their graves if they did so. The coverlet of night is not our covering by day. There must be a putting off in the morning before there can be a putting on; there is a measure of undressing before we commence to dress.

Simple and homely as the figure is, it conveys a lesson which I pray you to remember.

Sins and follies are to be cast off when we put on the garments of light. I have known a man profess to be converted, but he has merely put religion over his old character. He has been a passionate man with bad companions, and all he has done is to carry his bad temper into a church-meeting. He has been accustomed to drink more wine than is good for him, and all the change is that he drinks it in respectable company or in secret. He has taken up the saint without casting off the sinner. The rags of his lust are rotting under the raiment of his profession. This will never do;

Christ has not come to save you in your sins
but from your sins.

Anger and drunkenness, and such like, must be got rid of; Christ never came that you might christen your anger by the name of warmth, and your drunkenness with the name of liberty. I have heard of persons living unclean lives who have heard that faith in Jesus Christ would save them who have misunderstood this doctrine so grievously that they have thought of believing in Christ, and continuing in their evil ways. That attempt will be their ruin. Rahab the harlot was saved by faith; but she was saved from being a harlot any longer.

The rags of sin must come off
if we put on the robe of Christ.

There must be a taking away of the love of sin, there must be a renouncing of the practices and habits of sin, or else a man cannot be a, Christian. It will be an idle attempt to try and wear religion as a sort of celestial overall over the top of old sins. The King’s daughter is all glorious within, or she would never have received her clothing of wrought gold. The vision of Zechariah teaches us the way of the Lord: when he saw Joshua clothed with filthy garments, the Lord did not put upon him a goodly vesture over these; but he first said, “Take away the filthy garments from him,” and then he added, “Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.”

You must be cleansed in the blood of Jesus before you can be clothed in the white linen which is the righteousness of the saints. See to it that, being awakened out of your sleep, ye put off all the garments of the night.

What were they? We find a list of them in the third chapter of the epistle to the Colossians. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.”

Were we fond of the joys of the ungodly? Put them off. Did we speak things which are untrue? Put them off. Could we sing a loose, lascivious song? Put it off. Were we angry, morose, malicious? Put it off. Were we greedy, grasping, covetous? Put it off. Alas, many professors are as greedy of gain as ever they were; but they wear religion over the top of their miserly rags, and want you to call the churl generous, though he is as stingy as he can be. Whatever it is that is unworthy of the light of day, let us put it off.

The apostle says, “cast off.” Let the habits of “your sinful nature be henceforth regarded as cast-offs: put them right away and say “I have done with them!

There will not be another night for me, and therefore I shall not want them. Bury them, burn them; they are my cast-offs.” Let us only remember our evil habits to weep over them; let us only speak of them to warn others, and to glorify the grace of God. As to ever bringing out our ill habits, and trying to put them on occasionally, God forbid it should be so! (Romans 13:11-14 Dressing in the Morning)

Lay aside (659) (apotithemi from apo = away from, state of separation + tithemi = to place) was used to describe the laying off of clothes by Olympic runners who then competed nearly nude. What are the saints in Rome (and us) to lay aside? Paul eliminates guesswork by listing some major categories in Ro 13:13 (note).

Apotithemi - 9x in the NT - Mt. 14:3; Acts 7:58; Ro 13:12; Ep 4:22, 25; Col. 3:8; Heb 12:1; Jas 1:21; 1Pe 2:1. In Acts 7:58 we find an interesting literal use of apotithemi Luke recording that...

when they had driven (Stephen) out of the city, they began stoning him, and the witnesses laid aside (apotithemi) their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul (Whose name was later changed to Paul).


Eph 4:22-note Old self...lusts of deceit
Eph 4:25-note Falsehood
Col 3:8-note Anger , wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech
Heb 12:1-note Every (all) encumbrance

Why? So you can run with endurance the specific race (agon) God has set out before you!

Jas 1:21-note All filthiness and all that remains of wickedness

Why? So you can receive the Word implanted which is able to save your soul!

1Pe 2:1-note All guile and hypocrisy and envy and all slander

Why? So you will long for the pure milk of the Word and by it's intake you will grow in respect to salvation (i.e., be sanctified)!

Lay aside is in the aorist tense which speaks of an effective, once for all action.

Wuest's translation nicely conveys the sense of the aorist tense here rendering it:

let us at once and once for all put off

The middle voice speaks of the subject initiating the action to lay aside and participating in the action. The middle voice conveys the "reflexive" sense, and so the idea is "you yourself lay aside".

Picture yourself taking off a filthy, foul garment. Are you going to simply slip out of this garment and gently lay it down at your side? I doubt it! More likely you will rip it off and fling it as far away as possible so that you can put some distance between you and the stench! That's a picture of the "reflexive" action called for by use of the middle voice. This illustration also gives you a sense of the action associated with the prefix ("apo" = marker of dissociation implying rupture from a former association) in apotithemi which pictures a state of separation of one thing from another by which the union or fellowship of the two is destroyed. Compare the use of "apo" translated "far away" in (Lk 16:23).

John MacArthur - Lay aside here carries the idea of forsaking, or renouncing, and in this context obviously refers to repentance from the deeds of darkness, a general term that includes all sins in which a believer may indulge. The Lord is grieved by all sin, but the sins of His own children bring special grief to "the Holy Spirit of God, by whom [we] were sealed for the day of redemption" (Eph 4:30-note). David spoke of a man who "clothed himself with cursing as with his garment" (Psalms 109:18-note). We sin by choice, voluntarily clothing ourselves with its evil. In the Spirit’s power we can reverse that decision and lay aside sin, disrobe ourselves of it. (Romans 9-16. Chicago: Moody Press)

Matthew Poole - Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness; i.e. all our former sins, which are called works of darkness, here, and in Eph 5:11. They are so called, because they are usually committed by those that are in ignorance and darkness; and because some sins, such as he speaks of in the next verse, were wont to be committed in the darkness of the night, men being ashamed of them in the day time: see Job 24:15; 1Th 5:7. These he exhorts the believing Romans to cast off: the word implieth, haste and hatred, Isa 30:22; 31:7. (Romans 13 - English Annotations on the Holy Bible)

Moule writes we are to lay these things aside "as if they were a foul and entangling night-robe, the works of the darkness, the habits and acts of the moral night."

Peter gives a similar exhortation to the saints...

Therefore (based on the truths about salvation in the previous 12 verses), gird your minds for action, keep sober (nepho in the present tense = continually) in spirit, fix your hope (aorist imperative = command speaking of an urgent need) completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed (suschematizo) to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, (1Pe 1:13, 14-note)

Comment: The hope (absolute assurance) of future grace when Christ returns is a truth that should motivate us to gird, keep sober, fix hope completely.

In Ephesians Paul writes "Let no one deceive (Command to stop letting this happen) you with empty (futile, vain, words with no truth or reality) words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore (term of conclusion) do not be partakers with them Command to stop letting this happen); for (term of explanation = explaining why you should not share in their deeds of darkness) you were formerly darkness, but now (contrast = radical contrast = now in Christ by grace through faith) you are light in the Lord (Position of all believers); walk (command to make this your lifestyle) as children of light (Practice called for now in all believers) (Eph 5:6-not, Ep 5:7, 8-note)

Deeds (2041)(ergon) means that which one undertakes to do or the result of such undertaking. (English > "ergonomics").

Ergon is used in several combinations in the NT ("works of God", "good works", "works of faith").

Matthew Henry on deeds of darkness "Sinful works are works of darkness; they come from the darkness of ignorance and mistake, they covet the darkness of privacy and concealment, and they end in the darkness of hell and destruction.

Darkness (4655) (skotos from skia = shadow thrown by an object. Skia it can assume the meaning of skotos and indicate the sphere of darkness) is literally that sphere in which light is absent.

In this verse we understand that darkness is the natural habitat of evil, so that "deeds of darkness" are wicked works and as such are to be decisively (as indicated by Paul's use of the aorist tense) put off and away from the believer. Such "garments" are no part of the spiritual wardrobe for those who have presented themselves to God as living, holy sacrifices (Ro 12:1-note, Ro 12:2-note).

Here are the 32 uses of skotos in the NT (Note Jesus' first 3 uses) -

Matt. 4:16; 6:23; 8:12; 22:13; 25:30; 27:45; Mk. 15:33; Lk. 1:79; 11:35; 22:53; 23:44; Jn. 3:19; Acts 2:20; 13:11; 26:18; Rom. 2:19; 13:12; 1 Co. 4:5; 2 Co. 4:6; 6:14; Eph. 5:8, 11; 6:12; Col. 1:13; 1 Thess. 5:4, 5; Heb. 12:18; 1 Pet. 2:9; 2 Pet. 2:17; 1 Jn. 1:6; Jude 1:13

NIDNTT explains that "In classic Gk. darkness applies primarily to the state characterized by the absence of light (phos) without any special metaphysical overtones. The thought is chiefly of the effect of darkness upon man. In the dark man gropes around uncertainly (Plato, Phaedo, 99b), since his ability to see is severely limited. Thus the man who can see may become blind in the darkness, and no longer know which way to turn. Hence darkness appears as the “sphere of objective peril and of subjective anxiety” (H. Conzelmann, TDNT VII 424). Since all anxiety ultimately derives from the fear of death, the ominous character of darkness culminates in the darkness of death which no man can escape (cf. Homer, Il., 4, 461). Darkness is therefore Hades, the world of the dead, which already reaches out into our world in the mythical figures of the Eumenides, the children of Skotos and Gaia (Soph., Oedipus Coloneus, 40). Freed from their proper, temporal sense, the words of this group can be used in a metaphorical sense to describe human ways of life and behaviour. Thus they can describe a man’s seclusion or obscurity. They can also indicate the secrecy, furtiveness or deceitfulness of his activity, the abstruseness of his speech, lack of enlightenment, insight and knowledge. “The word does not attain to high conceptual rank in philosophy. Mention of darkness serves to set off light; it has no philosophical content of its own” (TDNT VII 425 f.). (Brown, Colin, Editor. New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986. Zondervan)

Skotos can refer to literal darkness as occurred on the day of Jesus' crucifixion (Mt 27:45) or darkness as opposed to light in the creation (2Cor 4:6).

Skotos figuratively refers to spiritual or moral darkness (including a lack of understanding) as in the following passages...

"(Jesus declared) And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil. (John 3:19)

"(the gospel would) to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, in order that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.' (Acts 26:18)

If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth (truth is not only something we should believe and teach but also something we should practice, otherwise our life is a "lie") (1John 1:6)

And do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; (Ephesians 5:11-note)

For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, (Col 1:13-note)

Absence of light leaves room for evil and sin. In this sense darkness may be described as evil.

In his first epistle Peter used skotos figuratively explaining to the believers that...

you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness (the moral and spiritual condition that enshrouds this present world and all those who do not know Christ) into His marvelous light (1Pe 2:9-note)

Horatius Bonar...

Let the saints, then, be warned. Let them be zealous and repent and do their first works. Come out, be separate, touch not the unclean thing!

Put off the works of darkness;
Put on the armor of light.

He is calling on them to get up to a higher level in the spiritual life, to be done with wavering, indecision, and compromise. He is calling on them to consider the apostle and High Priest of their profession and walk in His steps. He is calling on them to look at the cloud of witnesses, and lay aside every weight, especially that sin (of unbelief) which does so easily beset them, and to run with patience the race set before them- "looking unto Jesus." Church of the living God! Be warned. Please not yourself, even as Jesus pleased not Himself. Live for Him, not for yourself, for Him, not for the world. Walk worthy of your name and calling, worthy of Him who bought you as His bride, worthy of your everlasting inheritance. Up, too, and warn the world! The chastisements that are falling so thickly on you are forerunners of the fiery shower that is preparing for the earth. Up, then, and warn them- urge and entreat them to flee from gathering wrath. They have no time to lose, neither have you. The last storm is on the wing. Its dark skirts are already visible in the heavens. Judgment has begun at the house of God, and if so, what shall the end be of them that obey not the Gospel of God! (The Night of Weeping)

F B Meyer - The metaphor is a military one. A Roman cohort has been marching all day in the sultry heat, but the baggage train has gone on before, and when the day's mileage is covered, the troops may reckon on comparative comfort and refreshment. At last, on the skyline, the prepared camp can be described, and soon the heavy armor has been unlaced and laid aside and the troops regale themselves according to their bent. Those tents may become scenes of uproar and revelry. Drunkenness and debauchery may steal in under the shadow of darkness. Quarrelling and disputing may alienate comrade from comrade. Finally the whole camp sinks into the silence of sleep, except where the sentry goes to and fro upon his beat. Hour passes after hour till the first glint of dawn appears on the eastern sky, and the voice of the watchman breaks in on the silence of the camp with the cry: "The night is departing, the day is advancing. Arise, comrades, and prepare to meet the light." Immediately the camp is astir. Undesirable people creep out of the tents, screened by the twilight. The soldiers put off the garments of the night and begin to clean and burnish and then to assume their armor, so as to meet the inspection of the General as he comes slowly along the line. They do not fear, for their armor glistens speck-less in the sunny light. "Similarly," cries the apostle, "let us put off whatever is inconsistent with the inspection of the day." Each of us knows what is the special work and disposition which to him or to her is "a work of darkness." It may be a secret sin which we nurse in the dark, and which almost instinctively rises to our thought when we approach the Lord's table, or attend a convention for the promotion of Christian living, or watch in the silent chamber of mortal sickness (F. B. Meyer. The Call and Challenge of the Unseen)

PUT ON: kai endusometha (1PAMS):

Ron Mattoon - We are to put on the armour of light as a garment. Ancient Jewish rabbi's spoke of true worshipers as putting on the cloak of the Shekinah glory of God. They were to reflect and be like the Lord they worshiped. Paul addressed this in Ephesians 6 where the armour of the Christian is described. (Treasures From Romans)

Put on (1746) (enduo from en = in + dúo = to sink, go in or under, to put on) means to sink down into, then to put on or to clothe oneself

Put on is in the aorist tense which conveys the sense of "Do this now". The middle voice conveys a reflexive sense, indicating that each one needs to personally initiate this putting on, participating in the results thereof. Wuest says that the idea of the aorist tense here is "let us at once and once for all clothe ourselves."

Enduo is used in the NT sometimes literally as in (Mt 27:31, Acts 12:21) but as in the present passage is also used figuratively (The following are also figurative uses - Lk 24:49, 1Co 15:53,54, 2Co 5:3, Gal 3:27, Eph 4:24, 6:11,14, Col 3:11,12, 1Th 5:8).

Enduo - 27x in the NT - Mt 6:25; 22:11; 27:31; Mk 1:6; 6:9; 15:20; Lk. 8:27; 12:22; 15:22; 24:49; Acts 12:21; Ro 13:12, 14; 1Co 15:53, 54; Gal. 3:27; Ep 4:24; 6:11, 14; Col 3:10, 12; 1Th 5:8; Rev. 1:13; 15:6; 19:14

MacArthur - Paul uses the imagery of a soldier who had dressed himself in party clothes and spent the night in reveling. As the day dawns, the commander orders him to wake up, take off his night clothes, and put on the armor he needs to fight the day’s battle. Armor is made for warfare, and its purpose is to protect the one who wears it. By the indwelling Spirit working through our new nature in Christ, we not only have every resource necessary to forsake the deeds of darkness but also every resource we need to put on the armor of light.

Enduo - 88x in the Septuagint (LXX) -

Gen. 3:21; 27:15; 38:19; 41:42; Ex. 28:41; 29:5, 8, 30; 40:13f; Lev. 6:10, 11; 8:7, 13; 16:4, 23f, 32; 21:10; Num. 20:26, 28; Deut. 22:5, 11; 1 Sam. 17:5, 38; 2 Sam. 6:14; 14:2; 1 Ki. 22:30; 1 Chr. 12:18; 2 Chr. 5:12; 6:41; 18:9, 29; 24:20; 28:15; Est. 4:1, 17; 5:1; Job 8:22; 10:11; 29:14; 39:19; Ps. 35:13, 26; 65:13; 93:1; 104:1; 109:18, 29; 132:9, 16, 18; Prov. 23:21; 31:25; Cant. 5:3; Isa. 22:21; 49:18; 50:3; 51:9; 52:1; 59:17; 61:10; Jer. 10:9; 46:4; Ezek. 7:27; 9:2, 3, 11; 10:2, 6f; 16:10; 23:6, 12; 38:4; 42:14; 44:17, 19; Dan. 5:7, 16, 29; 6:3; 10:5; 12:6f; Jon. 3:5; Zeph. 1:8; Zech. 3:3, 4; 13:4

The Septuagint (LXX) translators used enduo figuratively to describe the coming of the Spirit upon several men in the OT, and so in a sense "clothing" them. E.g. see Gideon (Jdg 6:34).

So the Spirit of the LORD came upon (Hebrew = labash = clothed with; Lxx = enduo = put on like a garment) Gideon; and he blew a trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called together to follow him.

Even as Israel of old was called out of the world to be a kingdom of priests (Exodus 19:6) and even as the Levitical priests in order to function before a holy God, had to put on their linen robes (Leviticus 6:10 "put on" is translated with "enduo" in the LXX) so too believers as God's "royal priesthood" (1Pe 2:9-note) are called to put on Christ's garment of righteousness.

When we are justified by faith (Past tense salvation), we are declared righteous (Ro 3:24-note), but this privilege brings responsibility. And so believers are commanded to continually "work out our salvation with fear and trembling" (Php 2:12-note). Enabled by His Spirit (Who puts the desire and power in our heart - Php 2:13-note) we then work out our salvation in the daily challenges we all face and our experience will be ever increasing fruit of righteousness (cf Phil 1:11-note, Ep 5:9, Heb 12:11-note, Jas 3:17,18) which is known as progressive sanctification ("Present tense salvation"). The bride of Christ who eagerly awaits her Bridegroom will be about the business of clothing herself with fine linen garments white and clean which represent her righteous acts (Rev 19:7, 8-note).

Matthew Henry - "What we must put on." Our care must be wherewithal we shall be clothed, how shall we dress our souls? Put on the armour of light. Christians are soldiers in the midst of enemies, and their life a warfare, therefore their array must be armour, that they may stand upon their defence-the armour of God, to which we are directed, Ephesians 6:13, etc. A Christian may reckon himself undressed if he be unarmed. The graces of the Spirit are this armour, to secure the soul from Satan's temptations and the assaults of this present evil world. This is called the armour of light, some think alluding to the bright glittering armour which the Roman soldiers used to wear; or such armour as it becomes us to wear in the day-light. The graces of the Spirit are suitable splendid ornaments, are in the sight of God of great price.

THE ARMOR OF LIGHT: ta hopla tou photos:

Armor (3696) (hoplon) originally referred to an "implement" and then was specialized to mean any tool or implement for preparing a thing, such as a ship's tackling, a cable, a rope, a tool of any kind (blacksmith tools, sickle, staff) and then when used in the plural it referred to weapons of warfare including "armor" as translated in the present passage. It is used once in the NT of actual weapons (Jn 18:3) and elsewhere, metaphorically to describe either the members of the body as instruments of unrighteousness (Ro 6:13-note) and as instruments of righteousness, the "weapons" of righteousness (2Co 6:7) and finally the "weapons" of the Christian's warfare (2Co 10:4-note).

Hoplon - 6x in 6v in the NT - Jn. 18:3; Ro 6:13; 13:12; 2 Co. 6:7; 10:4

Hoplon is used once in the NT to describe literal physical weapons (Jn 18:3) but more often is used figuratively to describe...

  • members of the body = "instruments of unrighteousness" (Ro 6:13-note)
  • armor of light (Ro 13:12),
  • weapons of righteousness (2Co 6;7-note)
  • weapons of the Christian's warfare (2Co 10:4-note).

John MacArthur - Armor is made for warfare, and its purpose is to protect the one who wears it. By the indwelling Spirit working through our new nature in Christ, we not only have every resource necessary to forsake the deeds of darkness but also every resource we need to put on the armor of light. God's own light provides divine protection in our battle against Satan's supernatural powers of darkness as well as against the natural darkness of human sin, to which, even as believers, we still are so prone. (MacArthur, J: Romans 9-16. Chicago: Moody Press)

Puritan Thomas Watson - It is light for beauty, and armor for defense. A Christian has armor of God's making, which cannot be shot through. He has the shield of faith, the helmet of hope, the breastplate of righteousness. This armor defends against the assaults of temptation, and the terror of hell. (The Godly Mans Picture) This armor is of God's making, and the Lord, with His armor, gives strength. Alexander the Great might have given armor to a coward—but he could not give him courage. But God infuses a spirit of magnanimity into His people. With His armor He conveys strength. "My strength is made perfect in weakness," 2 Corinthians 12:9. When a Christian has on God's armor, and goes forth in the power of His might, nothing can hurt him. The wicked one touches him not, that is, with a deadly touch. Grace is bullet-proof armor; it may be shot—but it cannot be shot through. This spiritual armor is not burdensome; a Christian may run his race in it—as well as fight. The more the armor of God is struck at—the stronger it is; the more faith is assaulted—the more vigorous it is; the more zeal is opposed—the hotter it is. This excellent armor makes a Christian steadfast in religion. Hypocrites wear Christ's colors—but lack His armor; therefore, they fall away. The righteous man never gives over the spiritual combat, until the trophies are hung up and the palm branches are put in his hand in token of victory! (A Plea for the Godly)

C H Spurgeon...

If, indeed, you are but journeying through this present world, do not allow your hearts to be defiled with its sins; do not learn the manner of speech of these aliens through whose country you are passing. Is it not written,

“The people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations” (Numbers 23:9)?

“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2Co 6:17, 18).

They that lived before the coming of Christ had responsibilities upon them, but not such as those which rest upon you who have seen the face of God in Jesus Christ, and who expect to see that face again. You live in light that renders their brightest knowledge a comparative darkness: therefore, “walk as children of light” (Eph 5:8). You stand between two mornings, between which there is no evening. The glory of the Lord has risen upon you once in the incarnation and atonement of Christ Jesus: that light is shining more and more. Soon there will come the perfect day that will be ushered in by the Second Advent. The sun will no more go down, but it will unveil itself and shed an indescribable splendor upon all hearts that look for it.

“Therefore...let us put on the armour of light” (Ro 13:12).

What a grand expression! Helmet of light, breastplate of light, shoes of light—everything of light. What a knight must he be who is clad, not in steel, but in light, light that flashes confusion on his foes! There ought to be a holy light about you, O believer in Jesus, for there is the appearing of grace behind you and the appearing of glory before you. Two manifestations of God shine upon you. Like a wall of fire, the Lord’s appearings are round about you; there ought to be a special glory of holiness in the midst.

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Mt 5:16).

That is the position of the righteous according to the text, and it furnishes a loud call to holiness. (Spurgeon, C. H. The Second Coming)

Spurgeon writes...

So far we have described our getting up: first, we awake, and then we cast off the garments of darkness. Now we must put on our morning dress. The believer should at once look to his toilet and array himself for the day: “Let us put on the armor of light.” “What,” says one, “armor? Why, I thought my danger was over. The darkness has departed, and I am no longer afraid of thieves and robbers, for the daylight has come? Why, then, should I put on armor?” Is it not instructive that no sooner do we awake than we have to put on “the whole armor of God”? Does it not warn us that a day of battle is coming?

Brethren, you may as well expect a conflict,
for it is sure to come,
and it will be wise to put on your harness for the fight.

Dress according to what you will meet with during the day. You are not at home yet; the land of peace is yet beyond you. Young converts think that they have got to heaven, or very near it; but it is not so: you will get there one day; but the time is not yet. You are in an enemy’s country: put on the armor of light.

Perhaps before you get down to breakfast an arrow will be shot at you by the great enemy; or you may come downstairs after your morning prayer feeling as safe as if you were among the angels, and yet you will not get through the first meal in the day without an assault from the arch-enemy, or an outburst of your own corruptions, or an attack from the world. Your foes may be found in your own household, and they may wound you at your own table. Before you leave your bed-chamber you had better put on girdle, helmet, breastplate, shield-you had better take the complete panoply.

A Christian is never safe unless he is protected from head to foot by grace, for in such a world as this you know not behind what bush the assassin may be lurking, or from what corner the fatal bolt may fly. Go forth as a mailed knight to the war, for the battle rages on all sides, and you need the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left. The saint must be a man of war from his youth, he must pray that his hands may be taught to war and his fingers to fight.

The Greek word, however, may be understood to signify not only armor, but such garments as are fitted and suitable for the day’s work.

These should be put on at once,
and our soul should be dressed for service.

Pray God to clothe you in such style that you may be ready for whatever comes. You are not a gentleman on the parade, but a workman in his workday clothes. Some people are too fine to do real service for the Lord. When the Duke of Wellington asked one of our soldiers how he would like to be dressed if he had to fight the battle of Waterloo again, he answered that he should like to be in his shirt sleeves. How I wish that Christians would get into their shirt sleeves, as if they meant work for Jesus. I like to see the carpenter with his apron on bending down to his work, and not sitting on the bench swinging his legs all day. Alas, that some Christians should be usually seen in this latter posture! O brethren, it is morning with you, and I beseech you, by the mercies of God, array yourselves to do your Lord’s bidding. What said God to Jeremiah?

“Gird up thy loins and arise.”

Brace your soul to action: there is work for you to do to-day which angels might well envy you. Go forth like a man ready for work. The Lord would have us live with our loins girt about, our lamps trimmed and our lights burning, because we have come to an hour when idleness and inaction are out of place, and earnest, watchful diligence is required of us. Let us put on the habiliments of light, and let us work while it is day; for our Father works hitherto, and Jesus works. (Romans 13:11-14 Dressing in the Morning)

Moule writes we are to be "arming ourselves, for defense, and for holy aggression on the realm of evil, with faith, love, and the heavenly hope. So to the Thessalonians five years before (1Th 5:8-note), and to the Ephesians four years later (Ep 6:11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17-see notes), he wrote of the holy Panoply, rapidly sketching it in the one place, giving the rich finished picture in the other; suggesting to the saints always the thought of a warfare first and mainly defensive, and then aggressive with the drawn sword, and indicating as their true armour not their reason, their emotions, or their will, taken in themselves, but the eternal facts of their revealed salvation in Christ, grasped and used by faith (Moule, H. The Epistle to the Romans)

William Newell writes that put on the armor of light...

is a marvelous exhortation! Modern warfare has contemplated throwing upon the enemy mighty electric lights of such overwhelming brilliancy as to completely dazzle them. We all know how approaching automobile lights often ‘blind us. In the remarkable passage of Lk 11:33, 34, 35, 36, our Lord says:

If therefore thy whole body be full of light, having no part dark, it shall be wholly full of light, as when the lamp with its bright shining shall give thee light.

This is the redeemed one whom Satan hates and fears,—one filled with light, armored with light. A blaze of light is harder to approach than swords or bullets. Our Christian armor, piece by piece, is described in Eph 6:11-18. But here it is more our “walking in the light, as God is in the light,” that is in view. Since we are “light in the Lord,” let us so walk and war! (Romans 13 Verse by Verse Commentary)

Denny comments "the Christian's life is not a sleep but a battle."

Adam Clarke - Here is an allusion to laying aside their night clothes, and putting on their day (light) clothes.

The metaphor of Christian armor is also found Paul's letter to the Thessalonians where he tells them in light of the truth that "since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation." (1Th 5:8-note) Writing to the church at Ephesus Paul exhorts them in light of the fact that the believer's "struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places" to "take up the full armor (panoplia from pás = all, every + hoplon = weapon) of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm." (Eph 6:12,13-note cf 2Cor 6:7).

Kenneth Wuest notes that in classical Greek hoplon "referred to the weapons of the Greek soldier. Paul thinks of the members of the Christian’s body as weapons to be used in the Christian warfare against evil. The saint, counting upon the fact that he has been disengaged from the evil nature, does two things, he refuses to allow it to reign as king in his life, and he stops putting his members at its disposal to be used as weapons of unrighteousness. (Wuest, K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Studies in the Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament: Grand Rapids: Eerdmans)

Marvin Vincent writes that hoplon "is used from the earliest times of tools or instruments generally. In Homer of a ship’s tackle, smith’s tools, implements of war, and in the last sense more especially in later Greek. In the New Testament distinctly of instruments of war (John 18:3; 2 Corinthians 6:7, 10:4). Here probably with the same meaning, the conception being that of Sin and Righteousness as respectively "rulers" of opposing sovereignties (compare reign, Ro 6:12-note, and have dominion, Ro 6:14-note), and "enlisting men" in their armies. Hence the exhortation is, do not offer your members as weapons with which the rule of unrighteousness may be maintained, but offer them to God in the service of righteousness." (Romans 13 - Vincent's Word Studies) (Bolding added)

Matthew Poole - let us put on the armour of light; i.e. all Christian graces, which are bright and shining in the eyes of the world, Mt 5:16; and which will be as so much Christian armour, to defend us against sin, and all the assaults of Satan. (Romans 13 - English Annotations on the Holy Bible)

Warren Wiersbe reminds us that the “whole armor of God” as Paul refers to in Eph 6:13

is a picture of Jesus Christ. Christ is the Truth (John 14:6), and He is our righteousness (2Cor 5:21) and our peace (Eph 2:14). His faithfulness makes possible our faith (Gal 2:20); He is our salvation (Lk 2:30); and He is the Word of God (Jn 1:1, 14). This means that when we trusted Christ, we received the armor. Paul told the Romans to...wake up (Ro 13:11), cast off sin, and “put on the armor of light” (Ro 13:12). We do this by putting “on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Ro 13:14). By faith, put on the armor and trust God for the victory. Once and for all, we have put on the armor at the moment of salvation.

But there must be a daily appropriation.

When King David put off his armor and returned to his palace, he was in greater danger than when he was on the battlefield (2Sa 11:1, 2, 3, 4, 5). We are never out of reach of Satan’s devices, so we must never be without the whole armor of God. (Wiersbe, W: Bible Exposition Commentary - New Testament. 1989. Victor or Wordsearch)

Did you put your armor
on this morning?

James Smith - let us therefore watch and be sober, let us cast away the works of darkness and put upon us the armor of light, let us walk honestly as in the day. We have not a moment to call our own, all and each is the Lord's; therefore let us not trifle: we have professedly resigned ourselves and all we possess into the gracious hands of Jesus, therefore let us remember it is sacrilege to lend them to Satan, or employ them in sin. We are the Lord's, so we declared when we put on the profession of his name; let us therefore aim in all things to glorify his name, adorn our profession, and benefit his cause upon earth. We must give an account of ourselves to God; we shall be rewarded according to our works; let us therefore be steadfast, immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as we know, (being informed by the word before hand,) that our labor is not in vain in the Lord. Being loved with an everlasting love, redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, and sanctified by the Holy Spirit—let us so think, speak, and act, that God may be glorified in us, by us, and through us. (Streams in the Desert)

Believer’s Warfare

• Internal, with the flesh Gal 5:17-note

• Not after the flesh 2Cor 10:3-note

• With the armor of light Ro 13:12-note

• External, with the world Jn 16:33

• Not by resistance but submission Jas 4:7-note

• With the armor of righteousness 2Cor 6:7

• Infernal, with the devil Eph 6:12-note

• Not by submission but resistance Jas 4:7-note

• With the whole armor of God Eph 6:13-note

From the Book of 750 Bible and Gospel Studies, 1909, George W. Noble, Chicago

F B Meyer - Our Daily Walk "Beautiful Garments" - PUT ON strength. We have not to purchase it, or generate it by prayers and resolutions, but simply to put it on. As we awake in the early morning hour, and have to pass out into the arena of life, which has so often witnessed failure and defeat, let us put on the strength and might of the living Christ. He waits to strengthen us with all power , according to the riches of His glory (Eph 3:16-note). Do not simply pray to be kept and helped, but put on the whole armour of God. "The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?" (Ps 27:1-Spurgeon's note)

Put on beautiful garments. The emblem of the life of the Christian soul is that of the bridegroom or the bride (Rev 19:7-note) decked with jewels; or a garden filled with beautiful flowers (Isa 61:10,11). We are not only to do right things, but we must do them beautifully; not only to speak the truth, but to speak it in love (Eph 4:15-note); not only to give to those who need our help, but to do it graciously and joyously. We must cultivate the bloom of the soul, which is made up of compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, generosity (Col 3:12-note). The beauty of the Lord our God must be upon us.

We cannot weave these beautiful robes, or fashion them out of our own nature, but they are all prepared for us in Christ, who is "made unto us Wisdom, and Righteousness, Sanctification, and Redemption." (1Cor 1:30) Let us wake up out of sleep (Eph 5:12-note), put off the works of darkness (Ro 13:13-note), and put on the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the armour of Light. (Ro 13:14-note)

PRAYER - Lord of Power and Love! I come, trusting in Thine almighty strength, and Thine infinite goodness, to beg from Thee what is wanting in myself; even that grace which shall help me such to be, and such to do, as Thou wouldst have me. I will trust Thee, in Whom is everlasting strength. Be Thou my Helper, to carry me on beyond my own strength, and to make all that I think, and speak, and do, acceptable in Thy sight, through Jesus Christ. AMEN.

"Walk in the light! and you shall know
That fellowship of love
His Spirit only can bestow
Who reigns in light above.

"Walk in the light! and sin, abhorred,
Shall never defile again;
The blood of Jesus Christ, our Lord,
Shall cleanse from every stain.

"Walk in the light! and you shall find
Your heart made truly His
Who dwells in cloudless light enshrined,
In whom no darkness is.

"Walk in the light! and you shall own
The darkness passed away,
Because that light is on you shone
In which is perfect day.

"Walk in the light! and you shall see
A path, though thorny, bright;
For God by grace shall dwell in thee,
And God Himself is Light"

Light And Darkness - Kathleen Matson and her family have moved to Tokyo for 3 years. Because less than 1 percent of the citizens of Japan believe in Jesus Christ, she said that the nation can be considered unreached with the gospel.

"As we make our home in Tokyo," she wrote, "I am especially challenged by Romans 13:12, 'The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.' I need to be a light in the midst of a great darkness. My life needs to be a shining example to those who have never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ."

Kathleen continued, "The task seems overwhelming. . . . How can I possibly do it? How can I 'owe no one anything except to love one another'? (Ro 13:8-note). I can't do it alone. It is only by putting on the Lord Jesus Christ (Ro 13:14-note) that I can meet this urgent need."

The darkness of unbelief is not only to be found in faraway places like Irian Jaya or Tokyo or Tibet. The streets of St. Louis or Miami or New York or Toronto are darkened by unbelief as well. Wherever we are, our witnessing becomes most effective when accompanied with godly living. May we be lights in the darkness--pointing our world to the Source of our light, the Lord Jesus Christ. --D C Egner (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Dim not, little candle,
Show Jesus through me!
Glow brightly till others
The Light clearly see!

The smallest light is seen in the darkest night.

Ray Stedman commenting on "put on the armor of light" asks...

"Now, what does it mean? Well, you remember the words of John in his Gospel about the Lord Jesus: "In him was life and the life was the light of men," {Jn 1:4}. His life is the armor of light that we are to put on. So, when he says here, "Put on the Lord Jesus Christ," he is saying the same thing as when he said, "Put on the armor of light." That is, live in continual dependence upon the risen life within -- this is the only way to love. This is the only possibility of love for this kind of person. You read the four Gospels and all the way through is a manifestation of our Lord loving this kind of people. How did he do it? Well, he said himself, "The works that I do are not mine, the Father who dwelleth in me, He doeth the works," {cf, Jn 14:10 KJV}. It is the Father who loved, and, as Jesus sent us forth, he said, "As the Father has sent me, so send I you," {cf, Jn 20:21}. As the indwelling Father loved through the Son, so the indwelling Son loves through the Christian, through the believer. This is why we are taught that the secret of loving is not to struggle after it, not to work up some affection for somebody, but simply to put on the Lord Jesus Christ {see Col 3:10ff-see notes; Col 3:12, 14-}, make His life available to you, appropriate all that He is, and cast away the works of darkness -- then you begin to love. Do you see how this agrees with what we had in Romans 6? -- "yield not your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but yield yourselves to God ... as instruments of righteousness" {see Ro 6:13-note}.

And in Ephesians, "Put off the old man with his death and put on the new man which after Christ is created in true righteousness and holiness" {see Eph 4:22 23 24}. This is the same exhortation. In other words, you have Christ, now count on Him. Appropriate Him. Use Him! Don't sing, I need Thee, Oh, I need Thee. Every hour I need Thee. Sing, I have Thee, Oh, I have Thee. Every hour I have Thee. And love -- that is what He has come to do! As Paul points out, there is only one thing that is necessary to this -- the desire to break with the old life of lovelessness, selfishness, greed, ambition, and all the other things. It must be a clean-cut thing; there can be no mental reservations about this or any subtle subterfuge. You take Him in all the fullness of His overwhelming adequacy for all your utmost needs, but you are to make no provisions for the flesh to gratify its desires along with it." (Read the full sermon - The Demand of the Hour)

A sermon by Charles Simeon on Romans 13:12...

If you don't know who this great brother in Christ is, you need to take a moment and listen to the Mp3 Audio of John Piper's survey of Simeon's life entitled "Brothers, We Must Not Mind a Little Suffering" (to download to desktop or Ipod right click and select "Save Target As...") - you will be as riveted to your seat as I was when I first heard the powerful and convicting testimony of this saint of old. You can also read a summary but the audio is better - Transcript...

by Charles Simeon

Ro 13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

IT is the distinguished privilege of man that he is able to bring to his recollection things that are past, and to anticipate future events, so as to give them a kind of present existence in his mind. This power is of infinite use to him in the concerns of his soul. By means of it he can ascertain his state before God: he has only to compare the records of conscience with the declarations of God’s word, and he can foresee the issue of the final judgment; and derive to himself the strongest arguments for vigilance and zeal. In this view the exhortation before us deserves our deepest attention: and to impress it on our minds, we shall,

I. Confirm the truth of the Apostle’s assertion—

Our Lord, in reference to the season afforded him for accomplishing his Father’s work, calls this present life, day, and the future, night. (eg Lk 17:34) The Apostle here uses the same metaphors, only reversing the application of them: the present life he designates by the name of “night;” and the future, by the appellation of “day

The present life is called “night,” because it is a state of intellectual and moral darkness. The ungodly “world are altogether lying in wickedness,” (1Jn 5:19) and ignorant of all that it concerns them most to know. The regenerate themselves “see but as in a glass darkly;” (1Co 13:12) and, though they be light as day (Eph 5:8-note, 1Th 5:5-note) in comparison of carnal men (cp Col 1:13-note, Acts 26:18), yet have they but, as it were, the twinkling of the stars, just sufficient to direct their course, or at most but as the early dawn, in comparison of the meridian light which they will hereafter enjoy. Much of sin also yet remains within them: much they do, which they would not; and leave undone, which they would do: by means of which they too often walk in darkness, instead of enjoying the light of God’s countenance.

Our future state of existence is called “day,” because all, whether godly or ungodly, will behold every thing in its true light; and because the empire of sin will be eternally destroyed.

Now this “night is far spent, and the day is at hand.” Considering how short the time is that is allotted us on earth, this may be spoken in reference to those who are even in the bloom of life. Twenty or thirty years cut off from the short span of life, may well be thought a great portion of it: and if those years be doubled, we must say indeed, “The night is far spent.” But whatever be our age, we are equally liable to be called away, and to have our time of probation cut short by death. We ourselves may recollect many, who but a year or two since, appeared as strong and healthy as ourselves, who are now no more. And though we know not whose summons may arrive next, we are sure that, in a year or two more, many (perhaps one in twenty) of us will be fixed in our eternal state.

But this truth being so clear, we may proceed to,

II. Enforce the exhortation grounded upon it—

The idea which the Apostle’s language first suggests to the mind, is, that we are attacked in our camp, and summoned instantly to arise and fight.

The generality are at ease, involved in “works of darkness;” in works that proceed from the prince of darkness; in works that affect concealment; in works that lead to everlasting darkness and despair. From this state they have no desire to come forth. Even the godly have their “sins which most easily beset them,” and in which they are but too apt to indulge security. The wise virgins, as well as the foolish, were defective in vigilance. But, whatever be the works of darkness with which we are encompassed, we should “cast them off,” with a determination never more to sleep upon the post of danger.

In opposition to these, we are required to clothe ourselves with righteousness, which, as “light,” is heaven-born, and approves its own excellence to all who behold it. This, as “armour” to the soul, protects it from the fiery darts of Satan, and aids it in all its conquests. In this we are to be ever clad, that we may be ready for the battle, and not have to look for our armour, when the enemy is at the door. Thus only shall we be “good soldiers of Jesus Christ;” but thus armed, we shall be “more than conquerors through him that loved us.”

Now the urgency of this duty appears strongly as it is connected with the foregoing assertion. For what is the work we have to do? it is no less than “putting off the works of darkness, and putting on the armour of light;” a work which none can perform, except he be strengthened by almighty power. Besides, much of the time allotted for the performing of it, is spent already; and that which remains must be short, and may be terminated in an hour. Is it not “high time then that we should awake out of sleep?” Should we not begin without an hour’s delay, and “work with all our might?” Yes; let us all “gird on our armour, and fight the good fight of faith.”


Have we neglected our spiritual concerns? What have we gained that can compensate for the loss of our precious time? And who is there amongst us that, if his day were now come, would not wish that he had watched and laboured for the good of his soul? Ah! remember that present things, however pleasing, will soon have passed away “as a dream when one awaketh,” and nothing remain to you but the painful recollection, that you have lost the time which you should have improved for eternity.

Are we, on the contrary, attending to our spiritual concerns? Let us expect the present state to be a “night” of trial and affliction: but let us remember that the longest night has an end; and that “if sorrow endureth for a night, joy cometh in the morning.”

A sermon by Alexander Maclaren

The Soldier’s Morning-Call
by Alexander Maclaren

‘Let us put on the armour of light.’—Romans 13:12.

IT is interesting to notice that the metaphor of the Christian armour occurs in Paul’s letters throughout his whole course. It first appears, in a very rudimentary form, in the earliest of the Epistles, that to the Thessalonians. It appears here in a letter which belongs to the middle of his career, and it appears finally in the Epistle to the Ephesians, in its fully developed and drawn-out shape, at almost the end of his work. So we may fairly suppose that it was one of his familiar thoughts. Here it has a very picturesque addition, for the picture that is floating before his vivid imagination is that of a company of soldiers, roused by the morning bugle, casting off their night-gear because the day is beginning to dawn, and bracing on the armour that sparkles in the light of the rising sun. ‘That,’ says Paul, ‘is what you Christian people ought to be. Can you not hear the notes of the reveille? The night is far spent; the day is at hand; therefore let us put off the works of darkness—the night-gear that was fit for those hours of slumber. Toss it away, and put on the armour that belongs to the day.’

Now, I am not going to ask or try to answer the question of how far this Apostolic exhortation is based upon the Apostle’s expectation that the world was drawing near its end. That does not matter at all for us at present, for the fact which he expresses as the foundation of this exhortation is true about us all, and about our position in the midst of these fleeting shadows round us. We are hastening to the dawning of the true day. And so let me try to emphasise the exhortation here, old and threadbare and commonplace as it is, because we all need it, at whatever point of life’s journey we have arrived.

Now, the first thing that strikes me is that the garb for the man expectant of the day is armour.

We might have anticipated something very different in accordance with the thoughts that Paul’s imagery here suggests, about the difference between the night which is so swiftly passing, and is full of enemies and dangers, and the day which is going to dawn, and is full of light and peace and joy. We might have expected that he would have said, ‘Let us put on the festal robes.’ But no! ‘The night is far spent; the day is at hand.’ But the dress that befits the expectant of the day is not yet the robe of the feast, but it is ‘the armour’ which, put into plain words, means just this, that there is fighting, always fighting, to be done. If you are ever to belong to the day, you have to equip yourselves now with armour and weapons. I do not need to dwell upon that, but I do wish to insist upon this fact, that after all that may be truly said about growth in grace, and the peaceful approximation towards perfection in the Christian character, we cannot dispense with the other element in progress, and that is fighting. We have to struggle for every step. Growth is not enough to define completely the process by which men become conformed to the image of the Father, and are ‘made meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.’ Growth does express part of it, but only a part. Conflict is needed to come in, before you have the whole aspect of Christian progress before your minds. For there will always be antagonism without and traitors within. There will always be recalcitrant horses that need to be whipped up, and jibbing horses that need to be dragged forward, and shying ones that need to be violently coerced and kept in the traces. Conflict is the law, because of the enemies, and because of the conspiracy between the weakness within and the things without that appeal to it.

We hear a great deal to-day about being ‘sanctified by faith.’ I believe that as much as any man, but the office of faith is to bring us the power that cleanses, and the application of that power requires our work, and it requires our fighting. So it is not enough to say,’ Trust for your sanctifying as you have trusted for your justifying and acceptance,’ but you have to work out what you get by your faith, and you will never work it out unless you fight against your unworthy self, and the temptations of the world. The garb of the candidate for the day is armour.

And there is another side to that same thought, and that is, the more vivid our expectations of that blessed dawn the more complete should be our bracing on of the armour. The anticipation of that future, in very many instances, in the Christian Church, has led to precisely the opposite state of mind. It has induced people to drop into mere fantastic sentiment, or to ignore this contemptible present, and think that they have nothing to do with it, and are only ‘waiting for the coming of the Lord,’ and the like. Paul says, ‘Just because, on your eastern horizon, you can see the pink flush that tells that the night is gone, and the day is coming, therefore do not be a sentimentalist, do not be idle, do not be negligent or contemptuous of the daily tasks; but because you see it, put on the armour of light, and whether the time between the rising of the whole orb of the sun on the horizon be long or short, fill the hours with triumphant conflict. Put on the whole armour of light.’

Again, note here what the armour is. Of course that phrase, ‘the armour of light,’ may be nothing more than a little bit of colour put in by a picturesque imagination, and may suggest simply how the burnished steel would shine and glitter when the sunbeams smote it, and the glistening armour, like that of Spenser’s Red Cross Knight, would make a kind of light in the dark cave, into which he went. Or it may mean ‘the armour that befits the light’; as is perhaps suggested by the antithesis ‘the works of darkness,’ which are to be ‘put off.’ These are works that match the darkness, and similarly the armour is to be the armour that befits the light, and that can flash back its beams. But I think there is more than that in the expression. I would rather take the phrase to be parallel to another of this Apostle’s, who speaks in 2 Corinthians of the ‘armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left.’ ‘Light’ makes the armour, ‘righteousness’ makes the armour. The two phrases say the same thing, the one in plain English, the other in figure, which being brought down to daily life is just this, that the true armour and weapon of a Christian man is Christian character. ‘Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report,’ these are the pieces of armour, and these are the weapons which we are to wield. A Christian man fights against evil in himself by putting on good. The true way to empty the heart of sin is to fill the heart with righteousness. The lances of the light, according to the significant old Greek myth, slew pythons. The armour is ‘righteousness on the right hand and on the left.’ Stick to plain, simple, homely duties, and you will find that they will defend your heart against many a temptation. A flask that is full of rich wine may be plunged into the saltest ocean, and not a drop will find its way in. Fill your heart with righteousness; your lives—let them glisten in the light, and the light will be your armour. God is light, wherefore God cannot be tempted with evil. ‘Walk in the light, as He is in the light’ ? and ‘the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin.’

But there is another side to that thought, for if you will look, at your leisure, to the closing words of the chapter, you will find the Apostle’s own exposition of what putting on the armour of light means. ‘Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ ’—that is his explanation of putting on ‘the armour of light.’ For ‘once ye were darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord,’ and it is in the measure in which we are united to Him, by the faith which binds us to Him, and by the love which works obedience and conformity, that we wear the invulnerable armour of light. Christ Himself is, and He supplies to all, the separate graces which Christian men can wear. We may say that He is’ the panoply of God,’ as Paul calls it in Ephesians, and when we wear Him, and only in the measure in which we do wear Him, in that measure are we clothed with it. And so the last thing that I would point out here is that the obedience to these commands requires continual effort.

The Christians in Rome, to whom Paul was writing, were no novices in the Christian life. Long ago many of them had been brought to Him. But the oldest Christian amongst them needed the exhortation as much as the rawest recruit in the ranks. Continual renewal day by day is what we need, and it will not be secured without a great deal of work. Seeing that there is a ‘putting off’ to go along with the ‘putting on,’ the process is a very long one. “Tis a lifelong task till the lump be leavened.’ It is a lifelong task till we strip off all the rags of this old self; and ‘being clothed,’ are not ‘found naked.’ It takes a lifetime to fathom Jesus; it takes a lifetime to appropriate Jesus, it takes a lifetime to be clothed with Jesus. And the question comes to each of us, have we ‘put off the old man with his deeds’? Are we daily, as sure as we put on our clothes in the morning, putting on Christ the Lord?

For notice with what solemnity the Apostle gives the master His full, official, formal title here, ‘put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ.’ Do we put Him on as Lord; bowing our whole wills to Him, and accepting Him, His commandments, promises, providences, with glad submission? Do we put on Jesus, recognising in His manhood as our Brother not only the pattern of our lives, but the pledge that the pattern, by His help and love, is capable of reproduction in ourselves? Do we put Him on as ‘the Lord Jesus Christ,’ who was anointed with the Divine Spirit, that from the head it might flow, even to the skirts of the garments, and every one of us might partake of that unction and be made pure and clean thereby? ‘Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ,’ and do it day by day, and then you have ‘put on the whole armour of God.’

And when the day that is dawning has risen to its full, then, not till then, may we put off the armour and put on the white robe, lay aside the helmet, and have our brows wreathed with the laurel, sheathe the sword, and grasp the palm, being ‘more than conquerors through Him who loved us,’ and fights in us, as well as for us.

Torrey's Topic
Warfare of the Saints

  • Is not after the flesh -2 Corinthians 10:3
  • Is a good warfare -1 Timothy 1:18,19
  • Called the good fight of faith -1 Timothy 6:12


  • The devil -Ge 3:15; 2Co 2:11; Ep 6:12; Jas 4:7; 1Pe 5:8; Re 12:17
  • The flesh -Ro 7:23; 1Co 9:25-27; 2Co 12:7; Ga 5:17; 1Pe 2:11
  • Enemies -Psalms 38:19; 56:2; 59:3
  • The world -John 16:33; 1 John 5:4,5
  • Death -1 Corinthians 15:26; Hebrews 2:14,15
  • Often arises from the opposition of friends or relatives -Mic 7:6; Mt 10:35,36


  • Under Christ, as our captain -Hebrews 2:10
  • Under the Lord’s banner Psalms 60:4
  • With faith -1 Timothy 1:18,19
  • With a good conscience -1 Timothy 1:18,19
  • With steadfastness in the faith -1 Corinthians 16:13; 1 Peter 5:9; He 10:23
  • With earnestness -Jude 1:3
  • With watchfulness -1 Corinthians 16:13; 1 Peter 5:8
  • With sobriety -1 Thessalonians 5:6; 1 Peter 5:8
  • With endurance or hardness -2 Timothy 2:3,10
  • With self-denial -1 Corinthians 9:25-27
  • With confidence in God -Psalms 27:1-3
  • With prayer -Psalms 35:1-3; Ephesians 6:18
  • Without earthly entanglements -2 Timothy 2:4
  • Mere professors do not maintain -Jeremiah 9:3


  • Are all engaged in -Philippians 1:30
  • Must stand firm in -Ephesians 6:13,14
  • Exhorted to diligence -1 Timothy 6:12; Jude 1:3
  • Encouraged in -Isaiah 41:11,12; 51:12; Micah 7:8; 1 John 4:4
  • Helped by God in -Psalms 118:13; Isaiah 41:13,14
  • Protected by God in -Psalms 140:7
  • Comforted by God in -2 Corinthians 7:5,6
  • Strengthened by God in -Psalms 20:2; 27:14; Isaiah 41:10
  • Strengthened by Christ in -2 Corinthians 12:9; 2 Timothy 4:17
  • Delivered by Christ in -2 Timothy 4:18
  • Thank God for victory in -Romans 7:25; 1 Corinthians 15:57


  • Girdle of truth -Ephesians 6:14
  • Breastplate of righteousness -Ephesians 6:14
  • Preparation of the gospel -Ephesians 6:15
  • Shield of faith -Ephesians 6:16
  • Helmet of salvation -Ephesians 6:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:8
  • Sword of the Spirit -Ephesians 6:17
  • Called armour of God -Ephesians 6:11
  • Called armour of righteousness -2 Corinthians 6:7
  • Called armour of light -Romans 13:12
  • Not carnal -2 Corinthians 10:4
  • Mighty through God -2 Corinthians 10:4,5
  • The whole, is required -Ephesians 6:13
  • Must be put on -Romans 13:12; Ephesians 6:11
  • To be on right hand and left -2 Corinthians 6:7


  • From God -1 Corinthians 15:57; 2 Corinthians 2:14
  • Through Christ -Romans 7:25; 1Co 15:27; 2Co 12:9; Re 12:11
  • By faith -Hebrews 11:33-37; 1 John 5:4,5
  • Over the devil -Romans 16:20; 1 John 2:14
  • Over the flesh -Romans 7:24,25; Galatians 5:24
  • Over the world -1 John 5:4,5
  • Over all that exalts itself -2 Corinthians 10:5
  • Over death and the grave -Isa 25:8; 26:19; Ho 13:14; 1Co 15:54,55
  • Triumphant -Romans 8:37; 2 Corinthians 10:5


  • Eat of the hidden manna -Revelation 2:17
  • Eat of the tree of life -Revelation 2:7
  • Be clothed in white raiment -Revelation 3:5
  • Be pillars in the temple of God -Revelation 3:12
  • Sit with Christ in his throne -Revelation 3:21
  • Have a white stone, and, in it a new name written -Revelation 2:17
  • Have power over the nations -Revelation 2:26
  • Have the name of God written upon them by Christ -Revelation 3:12
  • Have God as their God -Revelation 21:7
  • Have the morning-star -Revelation 2:28
  • Inherit all things -Revelation 21:7
  • Be confessed by Christ before God the Father -Revelation 3:5
  • Be sons of God -Revelation 21:7
  • Not be hurt by the second death -Revelation 2:11
  • Not have their names blotted out of the book of life -Revelation 3:5
  • Illustrated -Isaiah 9:5; Zechariah 10:5