Peter firmly believed he was living in these last times (1 Peter 1:20). But that time is now. Most of all, he wrote for us.
“Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin” (1 Peter 4:1). Christ has suffered for us and now we must arm ourselves with the same mind.
Are you armed with the mind of Christ, who suffered mightily for each one of us? We must be armed with His mind to endure our fiery trials.
“But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer” (verse 7).
Again Peter stresses the urgency of the times. The Companion Bible says the phrase at hand means it has drawn near. Thayer’s says it is “concerning things imminent and soon to come to pass.” Vincent’s Word Studies says it means, “literally, ‘has come near.’”
This end doesn’t mean the final death of man and all things. It is referring to the end of man’s rule and the beginning of a new age, ruled by Jesus Christ.
This worst crisis ever is about to give birth to a new and splendid age. There is intense pain, but what a birth!
Why did God allow the apostles to think Christ was coming in the first century? I’m sure it was to ensure that we all focus on Christ’s return! That is our hope! All human history points to that greatest of all events. God let those great men believe it was imminent in order to prod them to bear down and concentrate on Christ’s return.
Today, the end of all things truly is at hand! So we must take Peter’s point to heart: Because time is so short, we must be sober and watch unto prayer.
The fact that Christ’s return is so near should change our behavior.
Because Christ is almost here, we must be very concerned about our prayer life. Carefully watch your prayer life and keep your mind on the return of Jesus Christ. Get your prayer in. Make certain you are talking to God—getting through to Him—every day. Pray until you have living hope! Pray yourself into that living hope, day after day!
Sober means to be of a sound mind, having curbed one’s passions and exercised self-control. Is there a single one of us who couldn’t do a better job of curbing our passions and exercising self-control?
The rsv renders this verse, “The end of all things is at hand; therefore keep sane and sober for your prayers.” Keep yourself stable so that when you talk to God, you don’t waste your prayer life! We can do that! God wants us to be in good condition and focused in prayer, so we can get up from our prayers filled with hope!
Peter admonishes us to examine our lives to see where we can do more. The knowledge of Christ’s imminent return should make us urgent spiritually.
Look at the time frame: Have a sense of crisis—and a sense of hope!
We are facing the worst crisis ever—never has there been anything like it in mankind’s history. Never have men needed God’s warning more than now. And we only have a tiny time span to do this Work.
We need to watch world news and our prayer life. If we aren’t praying properly, we won’t see what is really happening and be urgent about it.
If we are going to become more urgent, we must get our minds on the end of all things—concluded by the return of Jesus Christ.
If we don’t have a sense of crisis, we are out of touch with reality.
The four horsemen of the apocalypse are galloping toward us. The build-up to Armageddon is racing toward its conclusion!
If we aren’t praying intensely in the Spirit, we will get our minds on things and off the trunk of the tree. That will cause us to fall into a panic—terror as the crisis intensifies. Putting things ahead of God is an ineffective escape to help us hide from Armageddon.
Peter shows us how to face man’s worst crisis with abundant hope. Study his book carefully.
We can’t do this job without the power of God. Peter endured trials not through physical strength, but by the power of God. Though we are naturally cowards, we must become great leaders for God. If we are empowered by the Holy Spirit, we will be far different than what we are humanly.
How do we endure trials? Peter says, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy” (verses 12-13).
Trials are meant to try us. When Christ’s glory shall be revealed, we could add that His glory will be revealed in you, according to 2 Peter 1:19. Endure the trial—because when you see the result of it and the wonderful change that will come over you, you will be glad with exceeding joy that you learned the necessary lessons through that trial!
Remember, when God tries us, we are “partakers of Christ’s sufferings.” That is how we need to think of our fiery trials.
“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17). Are we aware every minute of every day that God is judging us now? Every minute we are under God’s careful scrutiny.
This world is not being judged today. So we can’t think like the world. God is preparing us to teach them in the near future, when all people will be judged.
“And above all things have fervent [love] among yourselves: for [love] shall cover the multitude of sins” (verse 8). There should be fervent love among the people of God, between husbands and wives, between ministers and members. God’s Family should be filled with love. The love of God is the foundation of our hope.
“Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:3). God’s ministers are not to “lord it over” God’s people, but to be examples of hope. Lording it over someone causes them to lose hope! The government of God is a service-oriented government; that means serving and loving the brethren and being “helpers of [their] joy” (2 Corinthians 1:24). But it cannot become a permissive government.
“And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:4-8). Over 95 percent of God’s people today have been devoured by the devil. Most of God’s people are Laodicean or worse. What greater evidence do we need of Satan’s devouring power?
“Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world” (verse 9). Are you having some rough trials? So are your “brethren” in the world. All of these people are potential sons of God, the same as you are.
God looks upon the world as our brethren—our future Family of God.
We need Christ’s sacrificing love for this world (John 3:16).
Without this love, Satan will stir up hateful emotions in us, as he does in the world. Then we will be seriously distracted from this noble calling.
“By Silvanus, a faithful brother unto you, as I suppose, I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand” (1 Peter 5:12). We are about to enter a black night of suffering. We stand by focusing on our hope-filled inheritance.
Herod Agrippa cast Peter into prison, from where he was miraculously delivered by an angel (Acts 12:1-11). Shortly after Herod died, Peter reappeared in Jerusalem to continue God’s Work. He relied on God’s power and hope to stand.
God’s ministers must make God’s living hope a part of everything they do. What value is it if it’s not part of our thinking, our counseling, our preaching, our teaching? God’s people must see hope in us! The best way to teach hope is to be an example of hope.
How can you teach hope if you don’t have hope?
Without God’s trials we would not dig out this living hope—the only one there is.
We need what Peter had. In his epistles, he shows how to get it and make it part of our lives. What God is offering is not phony—it is reality: the greatest, most exciting hope our minds could possibly grasp!