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4. Living for God

1Forasmuch then as Christ suffered in the flesh, arm ye yourselves also with the same mind; for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; 2that ye no longer should live the rest of your time in flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. 3For the time past may suffice to have wrought the desire of the Gentiles, and to have walked in lasciviousness, lusts, winebibbings, revellings, carousings, and abominable idolatries: 4wherein they think strange that ye run not with them into the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: 5who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6For unto this end was the gospel preached even to the dead, that they might be judged indeed according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. 7But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore of sound mind, and be sober unto prayer: 8above all things being fervent in your love among yourselves; for love covereth a multitude of sins: 9using hospitality one to another without murmuring: 10according as each hath received a gift, ministering it among yourselves, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God; 11if any man speaketh, speaking as it were oracles of God; is any man ministereth, ministering as of the strength which God supplieth: that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, whose is the glory and the dominion for ever and ever. Amen. 12Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial among you, which cometh upon you to prove you, as though a strange thing happened unto you: 13but insomuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings, rejoice; that at the revelation of his glory also ye may rejoice with exceeding joy. 14If ye are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are ye; because the Spirit of glory and the Spirit of God resteth upon you. 15For let none of you suffer as a murderer, or a thief, or an evil-doer, or as a meddler in other men's matters: 16but if a man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God in this name. 17For the time is come for judgment to begin at the house of God: and if it begin first at us, what shall be the end of them that obey not the gospel of God? 18And if the righteous is scarcely saved, where shall the ungodly and sinner appear? 19Wherefore let them also that suffer according to the will of God commit their souls in well-doing unto a faithful Creator.

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7 But, or, moreover, the end of all things is at hand Though the faithful hear that their felicity is elsewhere than in the world, yet, as they think that they should live long, this false thought renders them careless, and even slothful, so that they direct not their thoughts to the kingdom of God. Hence the Apostle, that he might rouse them from the drowsiness of the flesh, reminds them that the end of all things was nigh; by which he intimates that we ought not to sit still in the world, from which we must soon remove. He does not, at the same time, speak only of the end of individuals, but of the universal renovation of the world; as though he had said, “Christ will shortly come, who will put an end to all things.”

It is, then, no wonder that the cares of this world overwhelm us, and make us drowsy, if the view of present things dazzles our eyes: for we promise, almost all of us, an eternity to ourselves in this world; at least, the end never comes to our mind. But were the trumpet of Christ to sound in our ears, it would powerfully rouse us and not suffer us to lie torpid.

But it may be objected and said, that a long series of ages has passed away since Peter wrote this, and yet that the end is not come. My reply to this is, that the time seems long to us, because we measure its length by the spaces of this fleeting life; but if we could understand the perpetuity of future life, many ages would appear to us like a moment, as Peter will also tell us in his second epistle. Besides, we must remember this principle, that from the time when Christ once appeared, there is nothing left for the faithful, but with suspended minds ever to look forward to his second coming. 4646     There is no ground to suppose, as Hammond, Macknight, and some others have supposed, that “the end of all things” was the end of the Jews as a nation, the destruction of the temple and its worship. And it is strange that such a notion should be entertained, especially when we consider that the Apostle refers to the same subject in his Second Epistle, where the end of the world is plainly spoken of. — Ed.

The watchfulness and the sobriety to which he exhorted them, belong, as I think, to the mind rather than to the body. The words are similar to those of Christ:

“Watch ye, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of Man cometh.” (Matthew 25:13.)

For as an indulgence in surfeiting and sleep renders the body unfit for its duties, so the vain cares and pleasures of the world inebriate the mind and render it drowsy.

By adding prayer, he points out an exercise especially necessary, in which the faithful ought to be particularly occupied, since their whole strength depends on the Lord; as though he had said, “Since ye are in yourselves extremely weak, seek of the Lord to strengthen you.” He yet reminds them that they were to pray earnestly, not formally.




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