Unlimited: Understand the Present Time
Sep 14, 2023 103
And do this, understanding the present time (Romans 13:11a.)
Paul is reflecting the teachings of Jesus, who rebuked the Pharisees and Sadducees when they came asking him for a sign. He replied to them,
…You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” (Matt 16:2–4).
The religious expectation of “a wicked and adulterous generation” is focused on two things: on present signs and on a future time.
The focus of “this present time” is the age of the Cross first, through which we have been saved, and not on the end of the world.
In the context of Paul’s reference to the “present time” in Rom. 13:11, and Jesus’ statement in Matthew 16, they are both referring to the Cross – Christ’s saving death and resurrection. This definition of the “present time” is made clear throughout the New Testament, as Paul writes to Titus,
…the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people… in this present age (Titus 2:11–12.)
The focus of “this present time” is the age of the Cross first, through which we have been saved, and not on the end of the world. When our focus is on the Cross first, then we will be able to have a right foundation to looking forward to the “blessed hope” of the second coming of Jesus (Titus 2:13.)
What is the primary focus of your Christian experience? Is it the accomplished death and resurrection of Christ for your salvation, or your present struggles, or is it the future end of the world? Which should it be?