Thursday, March 3, 2011

eschatological motivation

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 believed that since all the events in God's salvation plan were fully accomplished in Christ, the return of Christ could occur at any time. It is what we think of as "imminence". The ESV Study Bible provides good insight into why this thought was important for Peter to share at this point:

"4:7 'The end of all things is at hand' does not mean Peter was expecting Christ to return in a few weeks or months. It means, rather, that all the major events in God's great salvation plan--culminating in the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ and the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost--had already occurred. Therefore Christ's return could happen at any time: it was "at hand" in Peter's day, and it still is today. But the imminent arrival of the end is not a call simply to look into heaven and wait for Jesus' return. Instead, believers are to be self-controlled and sober-minded , so that they may be devoted to prayer and maximize their usefulness in God's kingdom."

I don't believe that we have to walk around with placards declaring that "THE END IS NEAR". That is really the opposite of what Peter is driving at in his command. Rather, we should live each moment in careful expectation, serious motivation, and personal integrity, knowing Christ could surprise us with His return. So we better be about being the people He calls us to be. And we better be about sharing His message with the world.

- Prepare your minds for action.
1 Peter 1:13

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