Waiting for the End
1 Peter 4:7
But the end of all things is at hand: be you therefore sober, and watch to prayer.…

Like his brother apostle, St. Paul, St. Peter lived in constant anticipation of "the end." This attitude of mind was no doubt encouraged by the discourses of our Lord Jesus, to which Simon Peter had undoubtedly listened. And it must have been confirmed by the state of society both in the Jewish and the Christian world; changes were imminent, and none could say what form these changes might take. In some respects such statements and admonitions as those of the text are even more pressingly appropriate in our times than when they were first penned.

I. THE VIEW WHICH CHRISTIANS ARE TAUGHT TO TAKE OF THEIR EARTHLY CONDITION. The New Testament impresses upon us the transitory and temporary nature of all things earthly. Sound understanding will seek to verify this, not by prophetical and historical dates, but by moral and unquestionably significant facts.

1. There may well have been in the apostle's mind a foresight of the approaching destruction of Jerusalem, the dispersion of the Jewish race, and the abrogation of the Hebrew religion.

2. Yet a larger reference is probable; "the end of all things" can scarcely be limited to the catastrophe which befell the Israelitish people. There is no permanence on earth. The Christian, like the Jewish dispensation, must pass away. When this world has served its purpose - the purpose centring in the moral history of mankind - it will be dissolved. The visible and tangible are not the real, are not the lasting. Moral results will outlast the material framework of their development.

3. Every individual who reflects must feel that his own brief life-history gives point and pathos to the end of all things.

II. THE CONSEQUENT SPIRIT AND DUTY OF CHRISTIANS CHERISHING SUCH CONVICTIONS AND EXPECTATIONS. A superficial observer might suppose that the result of such beliefs must needs be excitement and distress, or, if not distress, solicitude. But this is not the effect designed by our Lord and his apostles. Quite the contrary; for St. Peter, in view of the approaching end, admonishes to

(1) soundness of mind;

(2) sobriety; and

(3) prayers.

Such great and solemn realities as religion unfolds before the mind are fitted to strengthen, steady, and mature the character; and at the same time to inspire with pious desires and petitions. A spirit such as that here enjoined may justly be said both to qualify for this present probation and to prepare for future fruition. For "the end of all things" does not involve the end of God's government, or the end of man's life and spiritual progress. - J.R.T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

WEB: But the end of all things is near. Therefore be of sound mind, self-controlled, and sober in prayer.

Waiting for the End
Top of Page
Top of Page