“The end of all things is at hand; therefore, be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers” (1 Peter 4:7).
Peter is determined that his audience, who were going through a very tough time that included persecution, would have abundant reason to be thankful. Many in his day thought that the end was near because of trials the Church was experiencing. Many have said to me in the last few months, ‘do you think the end is near because of all that is happening?’ My answer is “Yes and No.” Why do I answer this way? There are several verses that keep this question in tension.
“You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Luke 12:40).
“But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Mark 13:32). This is repeated in Mt. 24:36.
At the same time Jesus balanced all the prophecies and predictions of Scripture with another statement we cannot overlook. “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14). In other words, ‘don’t worry about the day or hour, just be busy with sharing the gospel to every “ethnos or people group” in the whole world!
In view of this and our responsibility as children in His kingdom, Peter wants us to live in these end-times in such a way that we “are good stewards of God’s varied grace.” This word “stewards” means that we have been left in charge of what belongs to God as if we were managing His affairs or household. In verse 10, we have each received “gifts” that are to be used to carry out this stewardship until Jesus comes. Let us be faithful in using these gifts of grace as we wait.
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