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The Meaning of "Now"

A story from Reader's Digest in 1996 told of a dad who often complained about the problems he had getting his son to clean his room. The son would always agree to tidy up, but then wouldn't follow through. After high school the young man joined the Marine Corps. When he came home for leave after basic training, his father asked him what he had learned in the service so far. “Dad,” he said. “I learned what 'now' means.”

I believe that most of us have had similar experiences in trying to get our children to do the work that needs to be done around the house, and it truly seems they do not appreciate the meaning of the word “now.” But if we are honest, we all will have to admit that the same thing is true with most of us in regard to spiritual matters.

We understand that we glorify God by good works. Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16 KJV). But we have a tendency to put off doing those good works that we ought to be doing now. Therefore, we are to do good works now that we might glorify God now!

Paul emphasized the importance of “now” when he told the church at Rome, “Rom. 13:11 - ”And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed." Paul uses the word “sleep” metaphorically of a state of inaction in this passage. Many are asleep spiritually speaking and are thus wasting the time God has allotted them for their preparing for the time of judgment and we might receive the glorification of eternal salvation at the coming of Jesus. Those to whom Paul was writing had no time to lose, they needed to arouse themselves from their inactivity, and they needed to do it now!

To these same brethren, Paul had told them earlier in the epistle, “I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness” (Romans 6:19). There was and is the same immediacy for yielding oneself to God as His children to do His will. While children of Satan, they had yielded their body to uncleanness from one point of sin to another, and now they needed to yield themselves to obey God. Before we can really yield ourselves to righteousness, we must put away all evil from our lives, and the best time to do that is now! The Christian life is a daily thing and we need to begin now to put away evil and begin the practice of good.

- Tim D. Shoemaker, Birmingham, AL


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