Paul concludes Romans 13, containing his instructions for Christians interacting with the authorities and each other, with a call to action. “Wake up,” he says, “for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is almost gone, the day of salvation will soon be here.” Romans 13:11,12 NLT
Our old life of sin is like dark and dirty clothing, he says, and the sins of this world, with which we are surrounded, is the darkness of night. We are exhorted to strip off our sins, clothing ourselves instead with the shining armor of righteousness. Our lives, even in the brightness of full daylight, should be a model of decency for all to see. And how do we do this? Paul tells us to “clothe ourselves with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (See Romans 13:12-14)
Jesus Christ has the one Righteousness with which God is satisfied. The self-righteousness of the religious leaders of His day was not sufficient to win them God’s favor. They hated Jesus, because He showed up their failures; they tried every trick in the books to break Him down. But Jesus’ righteousness was truly the “shining armor of light”: nothing they tried could ever touch Him.
This Righteousness, the shining armor of light, the presence of Jesus Christ, is made available to us Christians by faith. We can live, indeed we must, in the bright daylight of heaven while still surrounded by the dark night of earth. “I am with you always,” Jesus said, “even to the end of the earth.”