1 Peter 4:7-9
How to Live in Light of the End
If you knew that the Lord was coming very soon—within a year or so—would it change the way you live? The right answer is that it shouldn’t since you are living a God-pleasing life right now. But if indeed a change needed to take place in your walk before the Lord, what would such a walk look like?
Peter begins saying that “the end of all things is near.” Since the coming of our Lord and his death, resurrection, and ascension to the right hand of Power, the world is living on borrowed time. Everything in Scripture has been fulfilled but his return and gathering of his chosen ones. When he shall do this, only God knows; however, that does not change the fact that the trumpet may blow any second and “the clouds be rolled back as a scroll.” The Apostle wants us to live in the light of this reality.
And how does one so live? Peter answers: “Be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.” I don’t know what you might have been expecting, but here it is. It seems such a simple answer, and yet so profound. “Be self-controlled” speaks to what he said just before “no longer living for human passions.” The Christian is to leave behind the old life and take up the new, put self to death and live to God out of love for God. It is such sober and godly living that makes our prayers effective for others, for even the man born blind knew that “God does not listen to sinners” (John 9:31). And we do not mean by this some stoic lifestyle, for we shall be compassionate and not without feeling. But by shedding sinful passions, we make our lives more available for God’s grace whereby we may bless others. And there is something wonderful about Christian love, that is, love inspired by Christ himself, and it is simply this: As Christ’s love covers our sins, so we cover the sins of others as we love and forgive them. Indeed, it is in the sharing of this kind of love that we are most Christlike. And such love does one more thing: It serves the brethren through hospitality. Hospitality is not valued today as it was then. Ancient and Medieval Christians would not recognize us. And remember, we might entertain angels (Hebrews 13:2).
So, this is how one should live in the shadow of our Lord’s return. You need not become a street preacher or missionary. You need not sell all you have and give to the poor (unless the Lord has so called you to do). You need do what Peter says here—and that’s a tall enough order. And we start today!