The end of all things is at hand…
In this passage the Apostle Peter is further seeking to shape the way his readers understand themselves. This time he directs their attention to the coming judgement and “the end of all things.” This eternal perspective which has as its focus on life in the age to come is essential for Christians, who because of their status as strangers and aliens, are never quite at home in this sinful world.
The four exhortations in this passage are predicated upon the knowledge that the risen Jesus will return to judge the living and the dead (vs. 5) and then inaugurate his everlasting kingdom in the new creation (vs. 7). The biblical teaching on the end times (eschatology) is never given so that God’s people can busy themselves making charts and predicting dates. Repeatedly, eschatology is used as a means to encourage believers to live in a way that honors Christ, serves the family of believers, and advances the gospel.
As one New Testament scholar has stated, “What one believes about the future shapes how one lives today” (Jobes, 274). Belief in a future which is essentially full of loss and despair will produce a particular kind of living. On the other hand, the Christian confidence in eternal life in the blessed presence of God in the new creation should produce an alternate society which is noticeably distinct from the surrounding world. The Apostle Peter uses this passage to describe the pattern of life which characterizes that alternate society, the church.