One year for Easter, I decided to wear a sweater vest that had been sitting in my closet for a couple of years. I had been waiting for the right opportunity to wear it and so I decided that Sunday morning was the day! Now this may be a stretch, but perhaps when I first came into possession of the sweater vest it might have been in style. I emphasize the word “might.” Regardless, for the remainder of the day I endured much good-natured mocking and teasing from my closest friends. There were many “Carlton” jokes and much singing of the Tom Jones classic, “It’s Not Unusual” (if you’re familiar with the ‘90s sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” you get the joke). Don’t get me wrong, I had a ton of laughs at my own expense and it was a super fun day, but by the end of it I couldn’t wait to take off that sweater vest and toss it in the trash!
We all know the sensation of wanting desperately to get an article of clothing off of us, to cast it away from us as quickly as possible. It is with this urgency in mind that Paul wrote in Romans 13:12, “The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness.” The Greek phrase for “cast off” can also be translated, “to put off or put away,” like a piece of clothing. The idea is that works of darkness are inappropriate attire for followers of Christ. When our clothing is dirty, stained, worn out, or like my sweater vest, just plain outdated, we don’t continue wearing it! Instead, we take those clothes off in order to put on something much better. In the same way, we are to take off the clothing of darkness and sin, so that we can put on a better covering—Jesus!
Notice the sense of urgency in verse 12—“the day is at hand.” If you’ve ever stayed up all night or been awake while it was still dark outside, you’ve seen the exact moment when the night is ending and the day is about to dawn. You can sense that time is running out for the night. There is a change in the air as the rays of the sun begin to shine over the horizon and the darkness fades away. Paul is reminding us there is not a moment to be wasted because the true Son is about to rise in the sky. Jesus Christ will be returning soon to claim His bride, the church, and we need to be dressed appropriately!
So let’s cease being distracted by the things of this world. Let’s cast off with enthusiasm and urgency the works of sin and darkness. How can we do this? Galatians 5:16 says, “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Our salvation is near, the dark night is almost over, our Savior is coming, it’s time to wake up and get dressed. So cast off that ugly sweater vest of sin and toss it in the trash once and for all!