7 But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. 8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” 9 Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. 10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 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. Amen.
The Apostle Peter is known as the brutally honest Apostle. No made-up book would demonstrate the humiliation and brash honesty of its participants such as Peter. He tells it like it is.
Peter is often referred to by scholars as the “primus inter pares” or first among equals. He was most often in the leadership role among the apostles. He shared special moments with Jesus and witnessed most miracles and teachings first-hand. Though Peter’s writings are already extremely credible, they are even more so via the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
In this passage Peter, via the Holy Spirit, informs us where we’re at in history, how we should act, and why:
First, he tells us the “end of all things is at hand.” This is not end of time like we think of it, but instead indicates a goal being achieved, or the final consummation. God is long suffering and wants all to come to repentance, however the time will come for Jesus’ return. That time is now. Peter is affirming that Jesus’ return and reclamation of the earth, the final consummation, is close at hand.
Second, in light of the consummation, Peter details how the Christian should act.
- Be serious – Maintain a proper perspective on life. Christians are pilgrims, we are not to get swept up in the world or worldly affairs. Our eyes are on our Lord, the kingdom, and heaven. We participate in the world, but from a perspective of sharing the gospel, exercising our talents and love. Being caught up in worldly affairs is a waste of our talents and resources.
- Be watchful in prayer – Our prayers should focus our hearts and minds on our Lord. We cannot be in prayerful communion with God if focused on earthly pursuits. A proper attitude and perspective in prayer breeds fullness in our relationship with Him, which in turn produces great joy.
- Fervently love on another – Meaning to stretch or strain like a runner stretching to cross the finish line first. Our love for one another should involve our maximum effort in understanding and restraint. We are to love others like Jesus loved us when we were yet sinners. We are instructed to love others in the same way we are loved by Jesus in our faults. In our rebellion we have treated, and sometimes still do treat, our Lord in ways far removed from how He deserves be treated. We are to love our neighbors, Christian or not, in the same way Jesus loves us, forgiving insults, disdain, and unfair treatment for their spiritual good.
- Use your God-given gifts – God has given each one of us specific gifts with the expectation we exercise them towards the furtherance of the kingdom. We are given the wonderful opportunity to contribute to the world God created. He allows us to be a part of His plan and wants us to use the gifts He has given us. We use these gifts to build up others or contribute to the declaration of the word. These gifts are not to be used to draw attention to ourselves, we only exercise what we have been given.
Third, we learn why. Everything we do is for the glory of God. We have been given an incomprehensible gift in Christ Jesus. Everything we do is to elevate our Lord, whom all the glory belongs.
In this passage we learned from one of the most credible sources that we are near the end. This is even more true today. All the pieces are in place for Jesus’ return! We are instructed how to act in light of this fact, to be serious, watchful in prayer, loving and to exercise the free gifts provided to each and every one of us. Finally, we are told why. We don’t merit His favor. He deserves, and must be given, all the glory now and forever.
God bless you,