Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.” (Romans 13:11, NASB95)

“Salvation is nearer,” writes Paul.  The “nearer” here means nearer in point of time, rather than physically closer.

The Christian concept of time is not circular, as, for instance, the Hindu understanding of time.  God created the world (and time!) and ever since then time has been marching forward towards the cross and subsequently towards the salvation that awaits us at the end of the ages.  Salvation is nearer to we who believe now, than it was to Paul at the time he wrote this statement.

God is the author of time and is sovereign over time and men and nations.  He has a goal in mind: the summing up of all things in Christ and the salvation of his people, or as Paul puts it:

Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:17, ESV)

This is salvation.  This ushers in the end of history.  This is God’s great aim and purpose of the universe: to draw men to himself so that they will always be with the Lord, and to raise up Christ as the Name above all names:

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9–11, ESV)