WONDERFUL THING IN THIS PASSAGE – Let me give you a hint: it’s not by storing up food and ammo in a bunker under your garage. Peter provides a better getting-ready-for-the-end checklist:
“The end of all things is near; therefore, be alert and sober-minded for prayer. Above all, maintain constant love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve others, as good stewards of the varied grace of God. If anyone speaks, let it be as one who speaks God’s words; if anyone serves, let it be from the strength God provides, so that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ in everything” (1 Pet 4:7-11).
When Peter says the end of all things is near, I think he’s not so much referring to sequential history, as a string of years, but to redemption history, as a string of events. In God’s grand plan to redeem humanity, all the major events except one have been completed:
- The creation and the fall,
- The selection of a chosen people and their failure,
- The birth of the Messiah and His sinless life,
- His sacrifice as the Lamb of God to take away sin,
- His resurrection to initiate eternal life,
- His ascension to His throne to oversee the final age, and
- His sending of the Spirit into His church to complete His ministry.
We have already passed every one of those milestones in this marathon. Only the finish line remains, and that is the triumphant return of Christ. We’re in the final stretch and may, at any moment, round a corner and be gathered up into His heavenly kingdom for eternity.
WONDERFUL THING IN OUR LIVES – So, Peter tells us how to run these last few miles. “The end of all things is near; therefore…”
- Be alert – Watch where you’re going. This is no time to text while you run. There are pitfalls to avoid and detours to ignore. And there are weaker runners to help get back in the race.
- Be sober-minded for prayer – There will be times for serious prayer, acknowledging that you are beyond your limits and that only the intervention of God will see you forward.
- Maintain constant love for one another – This kind of love covers a multitude of sins, both of the one who loves and of the one who is loved. And there will be plenty of sins to cover as you bump into one another and sometimes tripping over one another.
- Take care of one another – Being hospitable can have unforeseen benefits: “Don’t neglect to show hospitality, for by doing this some have welcomed angels as guests without knowing it” (Heb 13:2).
- Serve one another – That’s why God has given you so many gifts, so that you could use them to serve others. Do it in the name of Christ, using His words with His strength.
Here’s the end purpose for finishing the race with these five disciplines: “that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ in everything.” Let’s run the last few miles well.