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Romans 13:12

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

The night is far spent - If we understand this in reference to the heathen state of the Romans, it may be paraphrased thus: The night is far spent - heathenish darkness is nearly at an end. The day is at hand - the full manifestation of the Sun of righteousness, in the illumination of the whole Gentile world approaches rapidly. The manifestation of the Messiah is regularly termed by the ancient Jews יום yom, day, because previously to this all is night, Bereshith rabba sect. 91, fol. 89. Cast off the works of darkness - prepare to meet this rising light, and welcome its approach, by throwing aside superstition, impiety, and vice of every kind: and put on the armor of light - fully receive the heavenly teaching, by which your spirits will be as completely armed against the attacks of evil as your bodies could be by the best weapons and impenetrable armor. This sense seems most suitable to the following verses, where the vices of the Gentiles are particularly specified; and they are exhorted to abandon them, and to receive the Gospel of Christ. The common method of explanation is this: The night is far spent - our present imperfect life, full of afflictions, temptations, and trials, is almost run out; the day of eternal blessedness is at hand - is about to dawn on us in our glorious resurrection unto eternal life. 'Therefore, let us cast off - let us live as candidates for this eternal glory. But this sense cannot at all comport with what is said below, as the Gentiles are most evidently intended.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

The night - The word “night,” in the New Testament, is used to denote “night” literally (Matthew 2:14, etc.); the starry heavens Revelation 8:12; and then it denotes a state of “ignorance” and “crime,” and is synonymous with the word “darkness,” as such deeds are committed commonly in the night; 1 Thessalonians 5:5. In this place it seems to denote our present imperfect and obscure condition in this world as contrasted with the pure light of heaven The “night,” the time of comparative obscurity and sin in which we live even under the gospel, is far gone in relation to us, and the pure splendors of heaven are at hand,

Is far spent - Literally, “is cut off.” It is becoming “short;” it is hastening to a close.

The day - The full splendors and glory of redemption in heaven. Heaven is often thus represented as a place of pure and splendid day; Revelation 21:23, Revelation 21:25; Revelation 22:5. The times of the “gospel” are represented as times of “light” (Isaiah 60:1-2; Isaiah 60:19-20, etc.); but the reference here seems to be rather to the still brighter glory and splendor of heaven, as the place of pure, unclouded, and eternal day.

Is at hand - Is near; or is drawing near. This is true respecting all Christians. The day is near, or the time when they shall be admitted to heaven is not remote. This is the uniform representation of the New Testament; Hebrews 10:25; 1 Peter 4:7; James 5:8; Revelation 22:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:2-6; Philemon 4:5. That the apostle did not mean, however, that the end of the world was near, or that the day of judgment would come soon, is clear from his own explanations; see 1 Thessalonians 5:2-6; compare Hebrews 12:14.

Cast off - Lay aside, or put away.

The works of darkness - Dark, wicked deeds, such as are specified in the next verse. They are called “works of darkness,” because darkness in the Scriptures is an emblem of crime, as well as of ignorance, and because such deeds are commonly committed in the night; 1 Thessalonians 5:7, “They that be drunken, are drunken in the night;” compare John 3:20; Ephesians 5:11-13.

Let us put on - Let us clothe ourselves with.

The armour of light - The word “armor” ὅπλα hoplaproperly means “arms,” or instruments of war, including the helmet, sword, shield, etc. Ephesians 6:11-17. It is used in the New Testament to denote the “aids” which the Christian has, or the “means of defense” in his warfare, where he is represented as a soldier contending with his foes, and includes truth, righteousness, faith, hope, etc. as the instruments by which he is to gain his victories. In 2 Corinthians 6:7, it is called “the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left.” It is called armor of light, because it is not to accomplish any deeds of darkness or of crime; it is appropriate to one who is pure, and who is seeking a pure and noble object. Christians are represented as the “children of light;” 1 Thessalonians 5:5; Note, Luke 16:8. By the armor of light, therefore, the apostle means those graces which stand opposed to the deeds of darkness Romans 13:13; those graces of faith, hope, humility, etc. which shall be appropriate to those who are the children of the day, and which shall be their defense in their struggles with their spiritual foes. see the description in full in Ephesians 4:11-17.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Four things are here taught, as a Christian's directory for his day's work. When to awake; Now; and to awake out of the sleep of carnal security, sloth, and negligence; out of the sleep of spiritual death, and out of the sleep of spiritual deadness. Considering the time; a busy time; a perilous time. Also the salvation nigh at hand. Let us mind our way, and mend our pace, we are nearer our journey's end. Also to make ourselves ready. The night is far spent, the day is at hand; therefore it is time to dress ourselves. Observe what we must put off; clothes worn in the night. Cast off the sinful works of darkness. Observe what we must put on; how we should dress our souls. Put on the armour of light. A Christian must reckon himself undressed, if 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. Put on Christ; that includes all. Put on righteousness of Christ, for justification. Put on the Spirit and grace of Christ, for sanctification. The Lord Jesus Christ must be put on as Lord to rule you as Jesus to save you; and in both, as Christ anointed and appointed by the Father to this ruling, saving work. And how to walk. When we are up and ready, we are not to sit still, but to appear abroad; let us walk. Christianity teaches us how to walk so as to please God, who ever sees us. Walk honestly as in the day; avoiding the works of darkness. Where there are riot and drunkenness, there usually are chambering and wantonness, and strife and envy. Solomon puts these all together, Pr 23:29-35. See what provision to make. Our great care must be to provide for our souls: but must we take no care about our bodies? Yes; but two things are forbidden. Perplexing ourselves with anxious, encumbering care; and indulging ourselves in irregular desires. Natural wants are to be answered, but evil appetites must be checked and denied. To ask meat for our necessities, is our duty, we are taught to pray for daily bread; but to ask meat for our lusts, is provoking God, Ps 78:18.
Ellen G. White
Our High Calling, 187.1

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. Romans 13:12. OHC 187.1

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Ellen G. White
The Publishing Ministry, 312.2

Brethren and sisters, will you put on the Christian armor? “Your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace,” you will be prepared to walk from house to house, carrying the truth to the people. Sometimes you will find it trying to do this kind of work; but if you go forth in faith, the Lord will go before you, and will let His light shine upon your pathway. Entering the homes of your neighbors to sell or to give away our literature, and in humility to teach them the truth, you will be accompanied by the light of heaven, which will abide in these homes. PM 312.2

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Ellen G. White
The Publishing Ministry, 324.3

Bear in mind that concerning the advocacy of truth there should be no jealousy. If this spirit is indulged, your plans, if not killed, will grow into selfishness of large proportions.... The night is far spent. But when the day is fully come, you will discern more fully your neglect of the work which the Lord has appointed to be done by His human agencies, because of your “exclusiveness.” PM 324.3

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Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 1, 67

As the subject was presented before me, the period of Christ's ministration seemed almost accomplished. Am I accused of falsehood because time has continued longer than my testimony seemed to indicate? How is it with the testimonies of Christ and His disciples? Were they deceived? 1SM 67.1

Paul writes to the Corinthians: 1SM 67.2

“But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; and they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not” (1 Corinthians 7:29, 30). 1SM 67.3

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