And this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
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Paul says that the time has come when we must hasten to obtain our reward. This is what it means to wake up from sleep—to do good as if it were day, i.e., openly…. It is clear that if we live well after baptism and strive for love we are not far from the reward of the promised resurrection. For the good life of a Christian is the sign of future salvation. For when a person is baptized he is forgiven but not rewarded. Later, as he walks in newness of life, he is near to eternal life. Commentary on Paul’s Epistles.
When we realized what the advantages of good works are, the message of salvation became easier to understand than it was when we first believed. For when we believed in Christ we did not immediately acquire an exact understanding of what we should be doing, nor was it clear to us what we should stop doing and what we should continue doing. .
Now our salvation is nearer than when we believed. Some will have the sense to be, that our salvation is now nearer, when the gospel is preached, and Christ offers us his graces, than when we believed the Messias was to come. Others expound it, that the more of our life is spent, we come nearer to the judgment of God, and to the salvation promised in heaven. (Witham)
The time is short…. The day of resurrection and of the terrible judgment is fast approaching…. If you have done everything that was asked of you and are prepared for it, then you have nothing to fear, but if you have not, then look out! Paul is not trying to frighten his hearers but to encourage them, so as to detach them from their love of the things of this world. It was not unlikely that at the beginning of their endeavors they would be more dedicated and slacken off as time went on. But Paul wants them to do the opposite—not to slacken as time goes on but to become even more dedicated. For the nearer the King is, the more they ought to be ready to receive him.
1060. After showing how man should behave in a pious manner toward God by using His gifts properly and paying his neighbor the debts owed him, the Apostle now shows how he should act with probity in regard to himself. With respect to this he does two things: first, he proposes the suitability of the time; secondly, he exhorts them to virtuous works [v. 12b; n. 1070]. In regard to the first he does three things: first, he mentions the suitability of the time; secondly, he assigns the reason [v. 11b; n. 1063]; thirdly, he employs a figure of speech [v. 12; n. 1066]. 1061. First, therefore he says: We have stated what you should do. And you should do it not only for the reasons already given, but also because you know what hour it is, i.e., you ought to consider the nature of the present here, because as it says in Ec (8:6): "Every matter has its time and way"; "Even the stork in the heavens knows her times; and the turtledove, swallow and crane keep the time of their coming; but my peopl...