How you view the future dramatically impacts how you live. If you view the future as bleak and hopeless, you will live as if nothing really matters. You will have no motivation to do good, because your dismal efforts carry no lasting weight. On the other hand, if you believe the future depends solely on your actions, you will become frustrated – even violent – if things do not go your way.
The Apostle Peter gave a better alternative to these two extremes when he said, “The end of all things has come near (1 Peter 4:7).” The word Peter uses for “end” carries the meaning of “goal.” It is like a videogame. At the end you reached your goal. The verb that Peter uses for “is near” was used frequently by Jesus, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near (see Matthew 4:17 for an example).” Peter pushes against any notion that the future is hopeless, because he affirms a goal. He also pushes against the notion that the future depends on me or you. God will restore all things to himself, when Christ comes again.
The point of history in which we exist can be compared to the dawn. At dawn the light of day crests the horizon. Darkness is no longer as dark as it once was; light is not yet as bright as it will be. We live at the dawning of God’s Kingdom on earth.
This view of the future shapes the way we live. We know that the universe is heading toward a goal. Even when the darkness of dawn seems stifling, we need not despair. There is a goal. There is hope, for the Light has dawned. We also know this bright future does not solely depend on us. Because there is a goal, we join in the work of that goal. Yet, at the same time, we do not become overly frustrated when things do not go our way. The future does not depend on us. God will make it happen.
When Peter said, “the end of all things is near,” about thirty years had passed since Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave. Peter did not mean the end would come tomorrow, in ten years, or even ten thousand. Rather he gave us a reason to be alert and sober minded whatever our circumstances may be (1 Peter 4:7).