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Are You Expecting?

April 20, 2017

In the middle of the first century the apostle Peter wrote a letter to Jewish Christians to encourage them to persevere through intense persecution. Persecution drove the believers out of their homes and across Asia Minor. These Jewish beleivers endured some of the worst persecution in the earliest decades of Christianity. The book of 1 Peter offers comfort and strength for their time of trouble.

In the course of his letter Peter instructs believers how to live in this world, how to interact with fellow believers and how to guard their testimony for Christ. Peter tells them to live this way because “the end of all things is at hand.” His words were not the warning of a sidewalk prophet nor the woes of a despairing apostle. The words of 1 Peter are not words of doom and gloom. The message that the end of all things is for the Christian a wonderful promise of victory and hope.

“The end of all things is at hand” is very similar to the encouragement “there is a light at the end of the tunnel” . The time of darkness and difficulty is limited. There is an end to sorrow.  The trial will come to an close. A conclusion to suffering is coming and, for the child of God, that conclusion will be wonderful. This is not the empty hope of escapism. This is the expectation of a promise to be fulfilled. The words of 1 Peter do not encourage troubled Christians to run away from their troubles. 1 Peter is an exhortation to endure because the time of their trouble is brief and alomst at an end.

The impending demise of all things should continue to fill the Christian with great expectation. This age is coming to an end. The certain end of this world should change the way the Christian lives in this world. Following the promise, “the end of all things is at heand” 1 Peter gives a list of four things that the waiting Christian should be doing.

The expectant Christian should live a self-controlled life regulated by the power of the Holy Spirit. The expectant Christian should live a life guarded by prayer. Above all else, the expectant Christian should love others with fervency. The loving, expectant Christian will be generous towards other believers and diligent in the use of the spiritual gifts within the church. The believer who knows the brevity of this earthly existence will respond to the troubles of this life with a renewed commitment to live for the life to come.

The promse that the end is near is not intended to promote monasticism, hermitism or communalism. Hiding away from the world does not produce genuine godliness. The expectation of the return of Jesus teaches us to live in this world for the One to come. The Christians is called to be a pilgrim in this world traveling through from the promses of God to the promises of God, from glory to glory, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

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