For the Will of God (1 Peter 4)

by Dec 26, 2023

The end of all things is near; therefore, be alert and sober-minded for prayer. (1 Peter 4:7)

Scholars think that Peter wrote this first epistle from Rome (referred to as “Babylon” in 5:13) to the churches in what is today the territory of Turkey (verse 1:1). He is sending a disciple named Silvanus and, by the order that he lists the provinces in verse one, it looks like his journey with the letter is to begin in Pontus on the Black Sea in northeast Turkey. The internal indications in the letter do not support the idea that there was a widespread persecution at the time (A.D. 62 – 63), either in the Roman Empire in general or in the region receiving the letter. But the brethren were probably being discriminated against in some social, familial and economic circumstances. And as should always be the case, the Christians were drawing attention to themselves by their moral lifestyles, charitable activities and communal love for one another.

In Chapter 3:13 – 17, Peter encourages the churches to not be afraid or surprised if they “suffer for righteousness’ sake,” but to always be “prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” He then reminds them (4:1 – 6) that Jesus himself suffered opposition and death in response to his righteous life and ministry. And by that death, resurrection and ascension he secured eternal salvation for all who believe. Therefore we are to live, not for the satisfaction of the flesh but for will of God.

This brings us to verse 4:7 – “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.” Is Peter prophesying that the Second Coming of Christ would happen any day now? In Matthew 24:36 Jesus says, “no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” The Apostle Paul wrote his second letter to the Thessalonians primarily to calm that church which was in a panic that they might have missed the Second Coming. Here in First Peter he has already pointed out that from Noah to Abraham and on through the Old Testament Prophets, the righteous have suffered. But that now, in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, all the prophesies have been fulfilled and all penalties for sin have been paid. The next event in God’s countdown to eternity is that Second Coming. And whether it happens today or tomorrow, next year or next millennium, we are to live daily in expectant obedience (4:8 – 11), regardless of the lost “Likes” on social media or lost promotions at work or lost relationships anywhere, “…in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”