Salvation is Nearer

Romans 13:11 – …The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed

Paul reminds all those who are still not secure in their salvation to awake. They are to step away from the sleep of carnal security…that rest that causes them to keep one foot in the world while pretending to live like a Christian.

Do you know people like that? They go to church regularly on Sunday. Some of them even serve on our church board and yet…they practice life as the world does every other day of the week. They cheat on their taxes, curse a co-worker who bungles his assignment or even cheat on their wives.

What? Do they think that God doesn’t know what they’re doing? Do they think that their actions are hidden from everyone? Others may not know the exact circumstances of their life but you can be sure that if any of them are walking closely with the Lord, they sense that duplicity is near.

Jerome drove into the rally, his wife sitting behind. Their excitement at being at this particular rally was evident as they stepped off the bike to register. She had her camera ready and he was prepared for something different than the old humdrum lifestyle they lived at home.

Registration complete, they noticed a couple over to one side. He had a cross on his vest and she wore something similar on hers. They were handing out water and smiling at a couple of good ole boys who’d just ridden in. “Let’s get out of here,” Jerome stashed his wrist band into his vest pocket. “You’d think we could get away from these holy rollers at a rally at least.”

“There’re so many people here, one couple is not going to spoil our having a good time. Now quit grousing and let’s go find a good spot to set up camp. I want to be close to the action so I can get lots of pictures.” She straddled the bike behind him and the two set off.

Jerome rode down the road that took them into the midst of the action. Bikes were everywhere and there seemed to be thousands of tents set up in every conceivable spot. “We’ll be lucky to find a place near the parade route.” He grumbled and then looked over his shoulder for a quick glance. “If you hadn’t wanted to shop at that last town…”

Sheila pointed toward her left. “There. There’s a great spot.” Jerome pulled the bike to a stop in front of the site. He began unloading as soon as Sheila stepped off. Before long, they had a small fire going, hot dogs ready for roasting, and their lawn chairs positioned just so. The parade would be beginning soon. Sheila had her camera ready.

Jerome sat back in his chair, chugging on a bottle of cold beer. “The guys back home would never believe that we’ve come to this rally. They think we’re dull…don’t know a good time when we see one.”

Sheila chuckled. “The women at the Ladies Aid are all old biddies. They think that being a Christian has to be dull. Their husbands are the same. Well, I’m glad we still know how to have fun. Besides what they don’t know won’t hurt…us.” She laughed and set about preparing a hot dog for roasting. “I’m starved. What about you?”

Jerome and Sheila played the part of Christians when they were at home but as soon as they got out of town…most of the time…they turned into people as common as any in the world. They fit right in. Anyone seeing them in action away from home would not even know that they attended church regularly. They partied right along with the rest of the bikers that weekend and made sure to keep their head down whenever they saw those people with Christian patches on their back. Somehow they seemed ashamed of their activities. That should have said something to them.

Too many of us believe that it’s possible to sit on a fence, one foot living the Christian lifestyle, the other walking the way of the world. Paul says it’s time we woke up and smelled the roses. God sees everything and since He’s all that matters, who are we trying to fool? We know, the minute we act in a way that’s inappropriate to our Christian walk, that we aren’t doing the right thing. But we try to convince ourselves otherwise.

Look where you are and remember who, as a Christian, you represent. People are watching…whether we know them or not. Non-Christians understand…better than some of us do…how we should act and expect us to do so. When we fail to adhere to those values, we besmirch the name of Jesus. One day we will be held accountable for that.

Father, help me live a consistent lifestyle. Keep me accountable, not only to You but also to those who watch the steps I take. Place in my heart the need to take my Christian walk and Salvation seriously, to awake as Paul said, and know that it won’t be long till I meet You face to face. Amen.

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