Are You Living In Your Sweet Spot?
God Expects Us To Serve (4:7-9)
In the Greek is at hand (ēggiken) is almost ‘has arrived’: cf. esp. Mk. 1:15; Rom. 13:12. The conviction expressed was universal in the primitive Church (e.g. Rom. 13:12: ‘the night is far gone, the day is at hand’; 1 Cor. 7:29: ‘the appointed time has grown very short’; Heb. 10:25: ‘you see the day drawing near’; 1 Jn. 2:18: ‘it is the last hour’), but is particularly intense and vivid in 1 Peter (1:4 f.; 8–12.; 20; 4:17). The consummation is described as the end of all things because, according to primitive Christian thinking, history would reach its climax and heaven and earth as we know them would pass away. The prospect has its terrifying aspect, but is full of exciting hope for God’s elect.
Peter’s line of thought here is that the persecution afflicting the church should be viewed as one sign of the world’s imminent end. Thus, he injects a note of urgency into Christian living. If the coming of Jesus is near, then Christians must be ready for him. Those who live lives inconsistent with their faith will experience the coming of Jesus as a dreadful shock (see 1 Thess 5:1–11).
The Greek word here translated “fervent” means literally “stretched out.” The idea is that of a love that is extended to reach the one loved. It is the act of one who, instead of living a self-centered life, gives of himself to others. The word means here, “intent, earnest, assiduous.” “Have among yourselves” is literally “having (love) toward one another.”
The words “above all” are more properly “before all in order of importance.” That is, love is a prerequisite to all proper exercises of Christian duty. Courtesy without love is a cold thing. Generosity without love is a harsh thing. Love makes all the other virtues what they should be. The reason for this exhortation to love one another is that love covers a multitude of sins. That is, when one Christian truly loves his fellow Christian, he will not publish abroad his failings, but will cover them up from the sight of others. How much gossip is eliminated when we love each other.