I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Romans 12:9-21 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. 14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. 17Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord.
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head."
Paul continues in chapter 13:
Romans 13:8-10 Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9For the commandments, "You shall not commit adultery," "You shall not murder," "You shall not steal," "You shall not bear false witness," "You shall not covet," and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." 10Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
These reminders of the need for light tell us that around us there is going to be darkness. The bridegroom comes at night. Jesus said he would come as a thief in the night--suddenly, unexpectedly, perhaps when the world seems very dark. The darkness is coming, More and more I see and feel the certainty of its coming.
So here Paul makes it plain that we are in a battle: we war against principalities and powers, against rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places. There is an evil day coming, perhaps it is now at hand, and we must be prepared to take our stand against it.
Perhaps we can read them this way. Realizing the modern age’s view of progress is actually backwards from the direction we should be moving, we turn our backs to that, let go of the things that hinder faith, and turn our empty hands up to God in worship. The response to the coming of the night is to worship God.