The last days of our lives can lead to some of the most profound thoughts and teachings that we will ever produce. It did for Paul, Peter, and even Jesus. At this point, Peter and Paul both not only spoke of the end of their lives but also of the last days of the world.
I am personally convinced that we as Christians need to understand the last chapter of our personal lives and the last chapter of God’s timetable for all creation. When Peter faced death, he—like Paul—understood the magnitude of evil’s imminent defeat.
In the end, both men focused on eternal achievements—bringing people to the Savior. People are the only thing that will last. Peter makes it clear that everything in the last chapter is completely destroyed. The only part of God’s creation that will remain is people, which makes them all that matters.
"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." -2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is patient because He does not want anyone to perish. But Peter also reminds us that there will be a moment in time where our gracious God and Father will say to His beloved Son that there's no more time for grace. And that moment will come in the blink of an eye.
"But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.
"Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells." -2 Peter 3:10-13
We often focus so much on what we desire for our personal last chapter that we forget about the finality of God’s last chapter. If we are unaware of the last part of God’s plan, we will have a difficult time living fully for the gospel like Peter and Paul—making sacrifices and giving of ourselves for the sake of others.
The people placed in our lives have been given to us that they might hear about the love and forgiveness offered by Jesus Christ so they can be redeemed and adopted into God’s forever family.
My prayer is that God will convict us of the deep responsibility we have to those in our circles of influence and that we will begin to do all we can to point them to Jesus.
It’s time we pick ourselves up off the mat and start whatever little fires Jesus may call us to. God has given us everything we need to play our part for the sake of the gospel. We know the end of the story, and we should fight to bring others into it.
John's travels for ministry behind the Iron Curtain led him to found East-West Ministries International in 1993. John and his wife, Susie, live in Dallas, Texas and have a grown daughter and two grandchildren.