In a Rhymes with Orange cartoon, two doomsday prophets are walking down the street. One carries a sign reading, “The end is near.” The other’s sign, by contrast, proclaims, “This will never end.”
Christ’s return is the next major event on God’s redemptive calendar, which is why Peter could write, “The end of all things is near” (v. 7). “End” is used here in the sense of “culmination.” Biblically, the “last days” stretch from Christ’s first advent to His second. We’re living in them now! This is another motivation for us to imitate Christ in our attitudes and actions. We want to be found ready when He returns.
What can we do while waiting? First, we should “be alert and of sober mind so that [we] may pray” (v. 7). Second, we should “love each other deeply” (v. 8; see 1:22). “Deeply” does not mean fuzzy sentiments, but rather “actively” or “fervently,” like an athlete going all-out. Why? Because “love covers over a multitude of sins” (alluding to Prov. 10:12). Forgiveness is a powerful example of love in action. Peter asked Jesus how many times to forgive, to which the Lord answered “seventy-seven times,” essentially meaning “without limit” (Matt. 18:21– 22). Third, we should “offer hospitality to one another without grumbling” (v. 9). And fourth, we should use our spiritual gifts to serve one another (vv. 10–11). This is what it means to be “faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”
This list makes quite a contrast with how people lived in their pagan or pre-Christ days—”debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry” (4:3). Our new priorities are to be alert and prayerful, love one another, show hospitality, and serve one another through spiritual gifts. No wonder Peter broke out in a brief doxology at the end of verse 11!
>> Today is a “choose your own application” day! Pick one item from Peter’s list of four ways to “live as if the end is near” and make a plan to put it into practice.
“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” (Luke 12:48). May we use what You have given us to serve You faithfully.