But The End Of All Things Is At Hand
It has been nearly 2000 years since those words were spoken. The apostle Peter, writing to the "pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia" seeks to give hope and assurance during difficult times, trials and persecutions. Peter exhorts these Christians to see the power of God's continued care and blessings upon them. They have an inheritance "incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven." (1:4) They are "a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light." (2:9)
In every walk of life they should present themselves as faithful children of God toward government (2:13-17), their masters (2:18-21), their marriage (3:1-7) and to one another (3:8-12). In the midst of their suffering they were to remember the example of Christ and how He suffered "once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit." (3:18) The difficulties they faced were to be tempered by the knowledge that "the end of all things is at hand." (4:7)
The mind of God's people is most concentrated when the knowledge of the end is near. A clearing away of the trappings of the world will bring about the clarity of thought and purpose for which Christ died - eternal life. While Peter wrote these words so long ago, the life of the Christian is still governed by this same truth. Paul wrote in Romans 13:12, "The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light." The early Christians believed in the coming of the Lord and lived with the hope and assurance that He would return soon. They also understood the hope that is found in death. Of these two, their lives were molded in the courage and faith to serve Christ each day.
As Peter wrote his epistle, the Christians were suffering great hardships. He admonishes them to "be serious and watchful in your prayers. And above all things have fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever." (4:7-11) They should not lose sight of the coming of the Lord nor of the reality of death. A serious, sober and sound mind was needed in devotion of prayer for love of one another. This is not a time for grumbling or murmuring. This is a time of unity in the body of Christ.
During difficult times, we need each other. We need to be good stewards of the grace of God towards one another in fervent love. How often in crisis do we find greater love towards one another in our common bond of suffering? Peter exhorts these brethren and all the elect to show their love for one another. The time is near and the end is at hand. While the years have rolled by since the words dried upon the epistle of Peter, we should be serious in our prayers and in our love for one another. We know the reality of death and the hope of the coming of Christ. To face these truths is to do so with fervent prayer and fervant love for one another. Be sober! Pray! Love! Look! Hope!
By Kent E. Heaton Sr.
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