“But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. Use hospitality one to another without grudging.” – 1 Peter 4:7-9
Peter could honestly say that the end was near in his day, so how much nearer are we in ours? With this in mind, we should be ever vigilant, preparing our hearts and waiting with anticipation for the coming of our Lord.
In this text we are given instructions which reveal the Devil’s main tactics for preventing us from being ready to meet the Lord at His return. First it says to “be sober“, this means to be focused, attentive, not influenced by any substance, spirit, intoxication, entertainment, or distraction that might cause you to not notice the signs of the times around you or walk in the righteousness required to be counted among the faithful at His glorious coming.
Next it warns us to show charity, or selfless love, toward others in every situation. Even as Christ did, so must the believer who functions as His body in His stead until His return. Upon which we will have to give an account for every idle word spoken while claiming to carry His Holy Name as our own. Note that the passage doesn’t only say to have charity (or love), but to have “fervent” charity. That is to say, a selfless love that goes the extra mile. A love that does not only react but initiates, reaches, changes, and illuminates the darkest of situations and hearts. An uncommon, unconventional kind of love. This kind of love is what sets Jesus apart from every other false deity that came before Him and it is thusly what sets the true Christian apart from every other hypocrite and false religion around them. Wether a person exhibits this love as a fruit of being led of Jesus’s Spirit within them, or not, will be the deciding factor in who is welcomed into glory or cast into damnation on that faithful day. So again be vigilant.
“If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” – 1 John 4:20-21
“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;… For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans (sinners) do the same?” – Matthew 5:43-44, 46
As the time of Christ return gets closer, the days get darker, and the hearts and minds of men grow colder and more wicket, this will be the stumbling block laid before most that will cause many to miss heaven. The more the devil stirs up the wicked to come against the righteous, the more tempted they will become to return the hatred, but they can’t! For the word of God is clear that unless you forgive and love others, He will not forgive you. It doesn’t matter how much the devil tells you they deserve to be hated. Remember that God deserved to hate us but He chose to suffer for us instead, and suffer by our very hand. All the while praying for us, for God to forgive us. Let that same mind be in us if we truly have the mind of Christ and are led by His Spirit.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:” – Philippians 2:5-9
Let’s face it, if anyone had a right to hold a grudge it was Jesus, but He didn’t. He did exactly what God said to do, because God said to do it, because He was humble, and because He loved God. God has commanded us to forgive and hold no grudge, therefor if we choose to hate or begrudge anyone for any reason because we think we deserve to, then we are acting in both pride and rebellion against the will of the Father. So choose today to forgive, pray for, and bless the seemingly least deserving, that you may be found in right standing with God as we await His inevitable ever-nearing return. I plead with you dear brother or sister, the time is indeed very short, therefore be ever cautious not to be blinded by hate, deceived by sin, and caught unaware in this the final hour.
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” – Matthew 7:21
“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” – Matthew 5:10-13
“When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” – Matthew 25:31-46