Romans 13:11, “And this do, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.”
Christians everywhere are looking for a last great awakening. Most seem to think God will pour out His Spirit and we will all be super Christians in the blink of an eye. They wait for an hour to come when that happens. However, Paul says the hour has already come for us to awaken from sleep. He says emphatically, “The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand,” Romans 13:12a. He doesn’t tell us to wait for the awakening, he tells us to wake up now and lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light, vs. 12b.
I am aware that some, myself included, have been calling the latter rain an awakening, but I am also aware the church is the body of Christ and is to grow to maturity. In this verse Paul is referring to waking up from an immature state of judging, criticism, disobedience to laws, and all other things done by those who still tiptoe in darkness. He is saying we must begin walking in the light of day as mature Christians, loving one another from a pure heart and sincere dedication to the Lord. That to Paul is truly awakening.
I believe we should take his admonition to heart and open ourselves to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to reveal the things in our hearts that are still hidden from the light of Christ, things we may have put off dealing with. I believe we should apply ourselves and remove every hindrance that stands between us and our complete surrender to the Lord.
I believe one hindrance that often goes unnoticed is the emphasis on the teachings that we must do so much before the Lord can do anything with us. It is an indisputable truth that our salvation is in Jesus, and not in anything we do; for the Bible plainly says, “Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, that we might bear fruit for God,” Romans 7:4.
We were crucified on the cross with Christ that we might be joined to the risen Christ and bear fruit for God. It is already finished. We need only endure to the end. And I believe that, as you endure, you will find, as I did, that if you trust in Jesus and walk in obedient submission to Him, you are already dead to the world and are bearing fruit for God. Yes, you may slip at times, but that is part of growing up. We must learn to walk before we can run.
We were formerly darkness, but now we are light in the Lord; let us walk as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), proving what is pleasing to the Lord, Ephesians 5:8-10. And, “… all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says, ‘Awake sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you,’” Ephesians 5:13,14.
God has already poured out His Spirit upon mankind. Jesus has fulfilled His ministry. He is seated at the right hand of God. He has overcome the world. His light shines today for anybody who will walk in it. The time for us to awaken from sleep is now. We are not to wait for God to wake us up, we are to lay aside the deeds of darkness and walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, and we are to do it today.
I fear if we don’t awaken now, we will find ourselves in a perpetual wilderness with no rock from which to drink and no manna to sustain us. For to sit and wait for God to awaken us is, in effect, to dismiss the Holy Spirit who says, “Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts….”
Also, nowhere in the Bible have I found the latter rain being referred to as an awakening. To my knowledge, this is a term that has come from man. If this is true, and we do not wake from sleep before the latter rain arrives, will we even know it is raining?
(“Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his garments, lest he walk about naked and men see his shame,”) Rev 16:15.