“The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.”1 Peter 4:7
The first Epistle of Peter, in many parts is really a series of prayers, but this one in chapter 4 verses 7-11 has some very interesting things to say to us about some elements in our life that i think are simply crucial. Other people say that the New Testament obviously is wrong to say that the end is at hand; they say “it’s been 2000 years now since Jesus died, the end hasn’t been here and i guess they were just mistaken”. But as i have looked through church history and throug the Word of God, i think this great anticipation of the Second Coming is a promise that God gives to His children in every generation. We don’t know when the Lord’s coming back. It may be tonight, or it may be in a long, long time in the future. But you know what? Each one of us ought to live in the atmosphere that the Lord’s coming back soon. I think our life would take more of a fervor and commitment, and diligence and dedication on God’s work if we thought the night was coming when no man works, and we’ve got to work while it’s yet day. If we really believe that, and we long to see Him face-to-face, and we expect that one day the eastern skies will roll up and time will be no more, when the Lord’s coming to get us to take us home with Him, and the judgment will take place, i think we’d be a little more conscientious about being a Christian and what it means to be a child of God. When it says, “the end…”, it’s of course talking about the Second Coming, as it’s Peter’s way of expressing that the earth will be burnt with intense heat (cf. 2nd Peter 3:10). He’s talking about temporal things. He’s talking when time will be no ore. He’s talking about history as we know history will cease, and eternity as we can only imagine begins. He’s talking about this old earth with its sin, with its corruption, with its death, with its evil will be completely destroyed and God’s Kingdom will come in its fullness and completeness. All things are going to be new, if you please. The phrase, “…is at hand” is used by John the Baptist (cf. Matt. 3:2) when he said “the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”. In effect he was saying “Jesus Christ is already here”. Now the same thing is true of the Second Coming; in a real sense we have experienced some of the joys of heaven right now. Our salvation is not a ‘pie in the sky’ by and by kind of faith. We believe that God is going to consummate all His promises one day, but we believe that right now we have a foretaste of the inheritance or the promises of the Kingdom of God. In a real sense the Kingdom of God is active, and alive, and well in our hearts. In a real sense Jesus has never left us. You see, talking about the Second Coming is a bit strange because the Spirit of Christ has never left us. The Second Coming of Christ is not going back into human history, but God simply consummating His promises toward His church and about His Kingdom.
Notice as it says, “…be ye therefore sober (sound judgment)” – this is an imperative and it’s talking about being of a sound mind, keeping a sense of perspective of the truth. Don’t be carried away by every doctrine of movement that comes along but keep a worldview that takes into account that we’re living in the end-times. It takes into account that God is in control of history, He is Sovereign, and He has a plan for your life. The word ‘sober’ is also a word that means calm and collected. It is often used to describe the opposite of drunkenness. A Christian who is anxious is a contradiction in terms. A Christian who keeps on wring his hands in nervousness hasn’t realized the peace of God that passes all understanding. We need to be calm and collected in the assurance that God’s promises are true. God will never leave nor desert you. Have no fear. What can evil men do to you when God’s on your side. So we need to be calm and collected about every circumstances in life because we know God is in control. The winds of evil men may blow across our lives, and we may have to suffer persecution, and distress, and pressures, but God is in control. Our treasure is not on earth but in heaven, and we don’t have to be fearful. We have to be of a sound mind because of the purpose of prayer. We are to pray with the characteristics of a sound mind and clear-headed. We don’t have to pray wondering if God will respond, because we know that God hears our prayer. We know that God loves us and we know that He is going to answer our prayer in the best way for Him, and in the best way for us. So we can relax and be comfortable, and be contented. When our perspective is right, and our emotions are under control, we come to God in this beautiful thing called prayer for prayer changes things.