The Whole Earth is on Borrowed Time
“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. 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.” RO 13:11-12
When you follow the Lord Jesus Christ in his earthly ministry ( Matthew , Mark, Luke, and John), the message is, “Repent: The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” That is, God is going to set up his kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. And Jesus Christ came from heaven to earth to set up a kingdom. In Israel's program (laid out time-wise by Daniel) Messiah, the Prince, was to show up and seven years after his coming and dying for his people, the kingdom would be established and everlasting righteousness would be here. That means that after Jesus Christ walked the earth, died, and was buried and rose again, according to the prophetic time table laid out in the Old Testament, the world should have come to an end seven years after Jesus Christ ascended into heaven. But is hasn't happened, has it?
Well, that's when you read about the Apostle Paul. Jesus Christ was in heaven when Stephen, the prophet, was stoned while warning Israel of their last chance. As he was being stoned, he sees Jesus Christ stand up. (When he stands, that's the sign from the Old Testament that he's going to judge the world and return.) But instead of judging the world, Jesus Christ saved the Apostle Paul and revealed to him a new message that he had kept secret before the foundation of the world. Paul was to relay the message of how God wanted both Jews and Gentiles to be saved by his grace and how he would take these believers and make them the body of Christ and seat them in heavenly places.
Now in order to give Paul time to go out and tell this message, God brought in the dispensation of grace, wherein God not only dispensed new information, but interrupted prophecy as well. God got right down to seven years to go, and stopped the clock. He interrupted prophecy and sent Paul out. Now when we read Paul's epistles, (See Romans 11), someday soon, God will start the prophecy clock again. We don't know how long grace is going to last; it's not in prophecy. Paul writes in Romans 11:25: “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved…” God will go back to them. “For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins” RO 11:26. Jesus Christ is going to come back, save the nation of Israel, take away their sins, and set up his everlasting Kingdom.
Now Paul is pondering this and thinks, man, if there's only seven years left when God stopped the clock, no matter where you are in the age of grace, you're at high time; the night is far spent. The wickedness and the evil of this world has now spent most of it's time and every day we get up in the morning and realize we're still here and not raptured out, we're experiencing another day of grace. And, you know, the day of grace isn't going to last forever. As Paul said in this verse, the night is far spent, just think how much more of it is spent today. And certainly, as he said in this verse, now is your salvation nearer than when you first believed. You're not only saved the moment you believe in the cross, but you're going to be saved out of this earth at the rapture and it's now closer than when you first believed, isn't it?
So, the whole earth is on borrowed time. When Paul writes, he writes as if we're living at the end of the world. Do you know what keeps the world going? Nothing but grace. God is just being gracious, and gracious, and gracious because he doesn't want to damn the world; he doesn't want to damn the sinners, he wants all men to be saved. But there is coming a day, because God's got to fulfill his word, that grace will be over. The fullness of the Gentiles is going to come in and then he's going to judge this world and save the nation of Israel and put his kingdom here on earth after a terrible, terrible time of judgement. You can read about it in the Book of Revelations.
Paul tells you as believers, don't be asleep, know what time it is. It's not the time to think you've got plenty of time to serve the Lord; you don't know how long you have to serve the Lord. If you're going to let God's word work in you, and if you're going to be a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, do it now. You don't know if you have tomorrow.
Transcribed and edited in portion from
Tape #37, ROMANS, “What Time is it?”