Awake, O Sleeper

I bought this alarm clock seventeen years ago when I was training for my first job. Every day it has awoken me to the dulcit tones of Radio 4’s Today Programme. It cost ten pounds, I think, and was a good investment.

Over the past few months, however, I’ve noticed the time has been wrong. The alarm goes earlier each morning. It seems to gain about 20 seconds per day; it is ‘fast’. I’ve reset it, but the same thing happens. After seventeen years of good service from a cheap radio alarm clock, you might well think I’ve had a good enough run for my money. Its days, though, are numbered.

It reminds me of the conscience without Christ. Paul, in Romans 2, clearly states than unbelieving gentiles have in-built moral guides, both condemning and sometimes affirming their actions. The conscience, though, is warped and unreliable. My alarm clock clearly states one time though it deceives me. It is not entirely wrong- the hour is usually correct but the minutes are out. This might make all the difference as to whether one catches that train.

I’ve even learned to live by this false measurement of time. Knowing it’s unreliable, I turn over in my bed when the alarm first sounds. Although I have an awareness that the time for rising is somewhere near, I know its inherent wrongness is reason to ignore it. Likewise, the unregenerate conscience gives us an awareness of sin, but it lacks the accuracy and honesty to truly make us grieve for it. It wakes us up for a time but cannot get us out of bed.

Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you (Eph 5:14, ESV).