The night is far gone; the day is at hand. (Romans 13:12)
This is a word of hope to suffering Christians. It’s a word of hope to Christians who hate their own sin and long to be done with sinning. It’s a word of hope to Christians who long for the last enemy Death to be overcome and thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14).
How is it a word of hope for all these?
“The night” stands for this age of darkness and all its sin and misery and death. And what does Paul say about it? “The night is far gone.” The age of sin and misery and death is almost spent. The day of righteousness and peace and total joy is dawning.
You might say, “2,000 years seems like a long dawn.” From one standpoint it is. And we cry, How long, O Lord, how long will you let it go on? But the biblical way to think goes beyond this lament of “How long!” It looks at world history differently.
The key difference is that the “day” — the new age of the Messiah — has really dawned in Jesus Christ. Jesus is the end of this fallen age. That is, the end of this fallen age has, as it were, broken in to this world. Jesus defeated sin and pain and death and Satan when he died and rose again. The decisive battle of the ages is over. The kingdom has come. Eternal life has come.
And when dawn happens — as it did in the coming of Jesus — no one should doubt the coming of day. Not even if the dawn draws out 2,000 years. As Peter says in 2 Peter 3:8, “Do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” The dawn has come. The day has arrived. Nothing can stop the rising of the sun to full day.