God created the world in time. He originally intended time as a gift: the necessary condition for man to subdue the earth, to be fruitful and multiply, to enjoy and to grow in communion with God. But because of sin we now experience time as a burden, a task, even a threat. Like the rest of the fallen world, time rebels against us. It eludes and overwhelms us. It brings about erosion, decay, and disintegration. And it has become also the occasion for the evil one to work his mischief. Therefore, Paul observes that the days are evil.
For that reason also he speaks about redeeming time: literally, reclaiming it. The brief phrase is filled with meaning. The entrance of God into time means that the passing of the hours, days, and years no longer brings just continuous disintegration and decay. Since Christ embraces all time, it can now be redeemed – reclaimed. Like the rest of creation, time is both wounded by sin and able to be reclaimed by us, the children of God.
Or rather, we participate in redeeming it, reclaiming it for Christ. This means not doing with time whatever we want – not for accumulating money, power, pleasures – but reclaiming it for God and his glory. A pagan poet said, Carpe diem – Seize the day! But only the Christian can really do so – reclaiming time, taking it in hand, consecrating it to God.
With God entering time in the Person of Christ, the gift of time has been restored to us. It now affords us opportunity for repentance. Put starkly, there is still time for us to turn to Him. Saint Paul exhorts us in this as well: Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. (2 Cor 6:2) We should use the time we have to turn away from sin. (Read more.)