I need to begin this morning by talking about my sermon last week. My sermon was entitled, “The Ethics of Eschatology.” “Eschatology” means, “last things.” “Ethics” means, “right conduct.” In that sermon, I had us turn to about 25 different texts of Romans and 1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians, where Paul was talking about the end times, whether that be the return of Christ, the last judgment, or the glory of heaven. We went from text to text to text. It was so different than what I normally do on Sunday mornings as we normally sit in one text and camp there, never needing to turn anywhere in your Bible.

The reason why we went to so many texts is that I wanted you to see that every time Paul brings up something about the end times, he always has an application in mind. In other words, Paul doesn’t bring up matters of what will happen in the future simply for us to know something about what’s going to happen in the future, as if our intellectual curiosity will be helped by such knowledge. No. This is Never Paul’s point. Rather, he brings up the future, precisely because it has a direct application for our lives today! That is, there is are ethics (how we should live) involved in eschatology (what will happen in the end times).

The burden of my message is that you would embrace this simple truth, that end times in the Bible always has an applicational reason for why it is mentioned. This was my biblical bullet that I aimed at the heart of the hearers. The burden of my message comes from my exposition in the book of Revelation that we just finished, after a year of working through the text verse by verse, chapter by chapter. In that process, I heard enough, and I read enough, of those who preached Revelation as if understanding future events was enough. As if application to the text wasn’t so important. But it is important. It is so important that it appears in every Biblical text that talks about end times.

The reason why we went to so many texts last week is to pound this one point home: That ends times always has an application in the text. Now, in response to my message last week, I had some conversations with some of you. The main point that most of you took away from my message was this: “Wow! I am amazed at how many times the Bible brings up end times!” I feel as if we went to so many texts, that my point was missed. Or, at least, that wasn’t what made the most impact from my message last week. So, we are going to go at it again. The title of my message this morning is “The Ethics of Eschatology, Part 2.”

Last week we began in Romans and looked at all of the references to end times in Paul’s writings. We worked through 1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians. We could continue on to look at the references of Paul. We only worked our way through 40% of the times when Paul brings up something regarding end times. But what I would like to do this morning is move on from Paul, and look at Peter’s writings. I want to show you the same thing as I did last week. We are going to work our way from text to text to text. We are going to read it, then we are going to find the eschatology in the text, and then we are going to find the ethic in the text.

Now, since Peter only wrote two books of the Bible: 1 Peter and 2 Peter, it should be a bit easier than last week. So, I won’t need to go quite as fast. My hope, in the end, is that you will see that whenever Peter mentions anything about eschatology, there is always an ethic that is close by. In other words, end times always has an application. But still, there is much ground to cover.

So, open in your Bibles to 1 Peter. We are going to begin in 1 Peter, chapter 1, and work our way through the five chapters. We will then proceed on to 2 Peter, starting in chapter 1, and work our way through the three chapters of that book. Now, the thing about 1 Peter is that the entire application of 1 Peter deals with end times. The theme of 1 Peter can be said in many ways. The way that I like to say it is this: “Suffer Now, Glory Later.” Peter was writing to those who were suffering. They were suffering persecution for following Jesus. In their suffering, Peter encouraged them to look for the hope of their inheritance. We see this right there in chapter 1. Let’s begin in verse 3,

1 Peter 1:3-7
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

The eschatology comes up three times in these verses. In verse 4, there is a reference to our inheritance as believers, that is “kept in heaven for you.” In verse 5, there is a reference to the “salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” In verse 7, there is “the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Right from the get go, Peter goes right to the eschatology. In this case, it’s the glories of heaven that will come to all believers in Jesus. This inheritance is described in verse 4 as being “imperishable, undefiled, and unfading.” That is, it will be perfect and pure and it will last forever! Sounds a bit like the New Jerusalem that we looked at in Revelation 21 and 22.

No, there is clear application in these verses as well. It comes by way of observation, really. But it carries with it the force of command. Right there in verse 6: “In this you rejoice.” Those in Peter’s day were rejoicing at the work of God in their lives, that he caused them to be born again (in verse 3), so that they could share in this perfect inheritance (in verse 4) that God has prepared for them, that God will protected them to inherit (verse 5). Now, this rejoicing comes even though circumstances are difficult for those in Peter’s day. He writes in verse 6:

1 Peter 1:6
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,

This word for various could literally be translated, “Multi-colored.” It describes diversity. Peter is using this word to describe the multi-faceted dimension of the trials that the listeners of Peter’s letter were facing. If you look in the book of 1 Peter for clues as to what this entailed, you can find that Peter details some of the reasons for their sufferings.

Some were suffering simply because they were Christians (4:14, 16). Others were suffering because in their faith because they would not carry on with others in sinful activities (4:4; 3:14). Some were suffering because they had a master who was unreasonable (2:18). Others were women who suffered because they were married to unbelieving men who were making their marriage particularly difficult (3:1). Some were suffering because they were the object of verbal slander even though they did nothing to deserve such harsh words against them (2:12; 3:16). Others were suffering because they simply felt as aliens in a strange land (1:1; 2:11) who had an inheritance in heaven that transcends this earthly life.

What is particularly helpful about all of this is that Peter’s words apply to all sorts of suffering we might experience in our lives! If you are currently suffering in one shape or another be encouraged because Peter’s words are applicable to you. Wayne Grudem is exactly right in his commentary on verse 6 when he writes, “The phrase various trials should also caution us against looking against any specific kind of persecution or suffering as the historical background for this letter. Since no one kind of trial or testing is in view, Peter’s words have their application to all the trials which Christians experience.”[1]

Perhaps you are currently facing the verbal assaults of others. Peter’s counsel can help you. Perhaps you are currently facing marriage difficulties due to the unbelief of your spouse. Peter’s words can help you. Perhaps you are facing difficulties at work because you boss is driving you to perform beyond what you believe is even reasonable. Peter’s advice can help you. Perhaps you are currently being mocked by family members or neighbors because of your commitment to live a holy life. Peter’s message can help you. Perhaps you are currently suffering from some sort of illness. You can learn from Peter’s counsel. Perhaps you have found certain circumstances in your life to be particularly painful. Peter’s words will be reliable guides to your soul. Perhaps your children have caused you headaches because of the foolish choices they are making. Peter’s message will assist you. Perhaps there is some other family situation that is giving you grieve. Peter will give you good advice. Perhaps there is fear of the unknown that is causing you anxiety. Peter’s letter will help you. Perhaps some of you children are facing some peer pressure from others at school or in your neighborhood who are trying to get you to do sinful things. Peter’s letter will help you.

Often we find Peter’s application to be one and the same: Set your hope on the coming glory! So much so, that you can actually rejoice in your sufferings today. Or, as I like to put it with 1 Peter, “Suffer Now, Glory Later.” In other words, we are called to suffer in this life right now, but there is a coming, future glory in the end that will far outweigh the suffering that we face today. So, whatever may be your “various trial” (verse 6), let your future hope give you reason to rejoice. Let’s work through 1 Peter. Our next text is found in chapter 1 and verse 13.

1 Peter 1:13
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

You can see the eschatology right at the end of this verse, “the revelation of Jesus Christ.” That is, when Jesus comes and reveals himself as the King of kings and Lord of lords. You can see the ethic just before those words. “Set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you.” In other words, when Jesus returns and is revealed, that will be a day of grace that will come to you. Upon that reality, you ought to set your hope, especially in your suffering. How do you do that? By thinking rightly. This is what Peter says.

1 Peter 1:13
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

That is, it’s not your difficult circumstances in life that are controlling you. Rather, you are controlling your mind, to set your hope on the end times, that it would empower you through your suffering in this day. Do you see how practical the return of Christ is? Peters brings it up not to satisfy some curiosity that his readers have, but to help them live godly lives today. Let’s move on to chapter 2, verses 11 and 12.

1 Peter 2:11-12
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

You can see the eschatology at the end of verse 12. “The day of visitation.” That is, the day when Jesus comes back and visits the earth in his judgment. You can see the ethic at the beginning of verse 12, “Keep your conduct honorable.” That is, turning away from the passions of the flesh (in verse 11) and living in such a way that will honor God in the end. Note here how the conduct here in verse 12 is perceived as being evil by the world: “they speak against you as evildoers.” Yet, before God, your conduct is “honorable.”

Now, certainly, this is an application for us all to be engaged in good deeds, Visiting nursing homes. Visiting criminals in the local jail. Donating food to a local food pantry. Being a Big Brother or Big Sister to underprivileged children. Watching your neighbor’s home when they are gone. All of these things are wonderful. The application here in this verse is particularly tricky, because in all of these things, the world would look upon us as doing something good. You will be commended by your good deeds, and showing love toward others. But in the context, those in Peter’s day looked upon their “good deeds” as doing something evil.

1 Peter 2:12
Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

Particularly here, the application is upon something that the world deems as evil, but is genuinely good. This would have been helpful for Peter’s readers because Peter’s day was a day of persecution, where Christians were in the vast minority. Christians were being ridiculed for their faith and worship. For them, these “good deeds,” may have been something as simple as the worship of the true God, rather than bowing down to the idols of the day.

For us, it’s a bit more difficult, because of the place of Christianity in our society. Coming on Sunday morning to worship isn’t seen as anything terrible by the watching world. They may see it as foolish, that we would waste every Sunday morning in a place of worship, but for the most part, it wouldn’t be deemed as evil. For those in Peter’s day, their pagan society was so against Christian morality, that some of the practices of the early Christians were as evil by the watching world.

One clear example of application in our day might be working at or contributing to The Pregnancy Care Center. The world hates that Christians are working to prevent abortion. They slander Pregnancy Care Centers as places of evil. For instance, on Thursday, The Pregnancy Care Center of Rockford held its annual fundraising banquet. At the banquet, the story was told of the law that was signed last year by our governor, Pritzker (July 27, 2023). The law was set in place to prevent “crisis pregnancy centers” from using “misinformation, deceptive practices, or misrepresentation” to interfere with access to abortion services or emergency contraception. Violators faced fines of up to $50,000.

The bill was championed by Attorney General Kwame Raoul. The law allows the state Office of the Attorney General to investigate complaints against anti-abortion centers using questionable tactics and strengthens the attorney general’s authority to prosecute incidences of consumer fraud in such cases. In signing the bill into law, Pritzker said, “I’m disappointed that the far-right is interfering with the ability for women to access safe medical care without deception or lies. “This law is constitutional and I am confident that the law will ultimately be found constitutional and we’ll continue to work alongside Attorney General Raoul to ensure Illinois patients are protected from misinformation.”[2]

This law was quickly struck down in August as being "painfully and blatantly a violation of the First Amendment.” Though this law never came into effect, it’s one example of the hostility our nation has against life. Peter’s exhortation here is to be involved and engaged in such deeds. He brings up the end times, to encourage and strengthen believers in their resolve to live honorably before the Lord, without concern of what their culture thought. Again, I hope that you see my point. The eschatology here was brought up, with the ethic in mind. The end times were mentioned, with a specific application. This is always the case in the Bible. The next passage in 1 Peter that we will look at comes along the same lines.

1 Peter 4:3-5
Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.

I trust that you can see the eschatology at the end of verse 5. God is

1 Peter 4:5
...ready to judge the living and the dead.

That’s an allusion to his return of Christ and the final judgment, when he comes to judge those who are alive on the earth. In his coming he will judge the dead as well for all they did in the flesh. The ethic comes in the form of two commands in verses 1 and 2, with really the same end in mind.

1 Peter 4:1
...arm yourselves with the same way of thinking [of Christ]
1 Peter 4:2
...live no longer for human passions but for the will of God.

In this context, Peter explains that it means not to join with the world in its sensuality or drunkenness or sexual pleasures (verse 3). In doing so, the world will be “surprised when you do not join them” (verse 4). Not only that, they will “malign you” in doing so.

I remember a friend of mine who worked in the accounting world. On one occasion, he was off on a training trip with his fellow office mates. The firm had paid for their entertainment that night which was a visit to a comedy club where there would be plenty of drinking and lots of jokes. I remember my friend told me how he had to walk out of the party because the content of the jokes were so vulgar and blasphemous he simply couldn’t take it any longer. I remember him telling me how his bosses were not happy with his behavior, and he was reprimanded for leaving the team.

The antidote: the end times. Remember that we will all stand before the Lord, who will judge us. We live not for the approval of men, but for God. As you young people head off into the world, you too may face similar peer pressure. Any child that goes to college will face such temptations. But remember the coming judgment! It will have a sanctifying effect upon your life. And that’s the whole reason why Peter brings up the eschatology-to help guide us with our ethic! Again, there’s my main burden of my message. The end times always comes with application. Our next verse is in chapter 4 and verse 7. This is really simple.

1 Peter 4:7
The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.

I trust that you can see the eschatology. It’s right there at the beginning of the verse: “the end of all things is at hand.” I trust that you can see the ethic. There are two commands, which really get at the same thing:

1 Peter 4:7
...be self-controlled and sober-minded.

That is, be controlled by your mind and not the passions of your flesh. Why? Because “the end of all things is at hand.” You see the tie between the end times and the application, as is ALWAYS the case in the Bible. OK, next verse.

1 Peter 4:12-13
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

The eschatology comes at the end of verse 13.

1 Peter 4:13
...when his glory is revealed.

The ethic comes in verse 12 and 13.

1 Peter 4:12
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial...But rejoice

This gets back to the heart of 1 Peter: “Suffer Now, Glory Later.” They were going through a “fiery trial.” In Peter’s day, this may have meant a martyrdom, a burning at the stake. Whatever it was, it was bad. But it wasn’t to be unexpected. Christ suffered. And we, as his followers ought to expect the same. We not only expect it but we should rejoice in it, because in the end, it will result in greater joy and greater gladness “when his glory is revealed.” I trust that you see the point: The end times always brings an application in the Bible. In this case, it’s the blessing that comes through walking in the way that Jesus did, and suffering for it.

There are two more passages in 1 Peter. The next is a passage that is aimed at the elders of the church, the leaders, those responsible for looking after the flock.

1 Peter 5:1-4
So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

The eschatology comes in the last verse we read, verse 4.

1 Peter 5:4
And when the chief Shepherd appears...

This refers to Jesus coming back and “appearing.” His return will be to judge. Do you think that there is application in this passage? Yes, of course! When the Bible mentions eschatology, there is always application. The application comes in verse 2.

1 Peter 5:2
...shepherd the flock of God that is among you

Peter gives some clear directions as to how the elders should be shepherding the flock. Not under compulsion but willingly, not for shameful gain, but eagerly, not by domineering over the flock but being examples. All that elders might receive a good reward, an unfading crown of glory.

1 Peter 5:4
And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

Being an elder is difficult work. There is lots of toil. There is lots of pain. There are many hours and the pay may be small. But elders ought not to be working for the earthly reward. They should be looking for the eternal reward, the unfading crown, which is a sign of a job well done. A job well-done is a job that’s done willingly, not because it’s something that you want to do but because it’s something that you get to do. Elders who shepherd the flock under compulsion will not do so with joy, and will lose their reward.

Shepherding the flock is something that elders should do “eagerly.” That is, with energy and enthusiasm, not being motivated by pay. Elders who are in the role for financial gain will bring reproach upon the church of Christ. Elders are not drill-sergeants. They are shepherds who should tenderly care for their flocks. They should treat the sheep as more important than themselves. They should be an example in the work, leading the sheep, not driving them. The point of the eschatology here is that there is a reward in store for those who shepherd well (the unfading crown of glory). My point proves true. “Eschatology always comes with an ethic.” “End times always has some application in the Biblical context.” OK, final verse in

1 Peter 5:10-11
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

The eschatology comes in verse 10 where it mentions the “eternal glory in Christ.” That’s the imperishable, undefiled, and unfading inheritance mentioned in chapter 1 and verse 4. That’s the new Jerusalem. The ethic comes at the beginning of verse 10: suffering.

1 Peter 5:10
And after you have suffered a little while

It is here where you clearly see main theme of 1 Peter: “Suffer Now, Glory Later.” Peter talks about the suffering that you have now, which is for “a little while.” That is, 50, 60, 70 years. It’s the time of our stay on earth. This is contrasted with the “eternal glory in Christ,” which will last forever and ever and ever and ever. Jesus will have the dominion forever and ever (verse 11). The glory that we receive as believers in Christ will be forever and ever. When you put those two realities together, they don’t compare. A tiny bit of hardship now, in exchange for eternal glory later. It’s my point: “eschatology always has an ethic.”

At the end of my message when I receive some feedback, here’s my hope: that you say to me, “Wow! I see and believe that every time the Bible mentions things of ‘end times,’ there is always application close by. Whenever I read something in the Bible of the end times, I sure am going to be looking for the application. And whenever I hear someone talk about end times, I sure am going to be listening for the application. Because I’m convinced that an eschatology without an application is a misplaced eschatology; it goes against Biblical Eschatology.

Those were all of the references I could find in 1 Peter. Let’s now turn to 2 Peter. The main point of 2 Peter doesn’t naturally lead to so many connections between end times and application as “Suffer Now, Glory Later” does. Nevertheless, eschatology in 2 Peter always comes with application. The main theme of 2 Peter is this: “Know and Grow.” Peter exhorts his readers to know about their salvation, and grow in it. Look at the end of the book.

2 Peter 3:17-18
You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Peter exhorts his readers to know about their salvation, and grow in it. So, let’s look for the eschatology in 2 Peter. The first instance of eschatology comes in chapter 1. Look at verse 3.

2 Peter 1:3
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,

There is a glimpse of a vision of the end, we experience all that we are called to,

2 Peter 1:3
...his own glory and excellence,

This is further explained in verse 11,

2 Peter 1:11
For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The end times is clear in this verse. It speaks about

2 Peter 1:11
...the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

This is the New Jerusalem. This is the new heaven and the new earth, where Christ will reign forever. But notice the connection to the application. It comes in verse 11,

2 Peter 1:11
For in this way

This is a reference to everything in between verses 3 and 11. It talks about the importance of growing in Christ.

2 Peter 1:3-11
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

With the view of entrance into the kingdom at hand, Peter exhorts his readers to press on in their faith (verse 5), to increase in their virtue and knowledge and self-control and steadfastness and godliness and brotherly affection. That’s a clear ethic in light of eschatology.

Turn over to chapter 2 verse 4

2 Peter 2:4
For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment;

Right there at the end of verse, you see the eschatology.

2 Peter 2:4
...be kept until the judgment;

Peter continues on in verse 5 to talk about how God destroyed the ancient world with a flood (verse 5), and how the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed (verse 6), and how Lot was rescued out of the wickedness. Then comes verse 9.

2 Peter 2:9
then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment.

Again, you see the eschatology: “the day of judgment.” The application here isn’t so much something that we do, as much as it is trusting in God, who will rescue his people, and destroy the wicked. Our final look at eschatology is in chapter 3. In this chapter, we see lots of eschatology.

2 Peter 3:1-7
This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

Peter says that God is waiting. But there will be a day when he comes and brings destruction on the ungodly.

2 Peter 3:8-10
But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
2 Peter 3:10
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

There's the judgement. There's a coming destruction, which we read about in Revelation 19 and 20. Then in verse 11 Peter gives the big application.

2 Peter 3:11
Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness?

This is the burden of my message! In light of the coming destruction, what sort of people ought we to be?

If you listen to someone talking about the end times, you must sift it through this grid. Are they asking the question, "what sort of people ought we to be?" Sadly, teaching on end times leads to fear. Sometimes it leads to trusting in our knowledge. But Peter says that we ought to be holy and godly.

Those that know the most about eschatology should be the holiest and godliest people that you know. Unfortunately that's not always the case in my experience. Often those who know the most about eschatology are the most arrogant of people who know the most about history and have figured out it all out. They are often keen on the latest conspiracies. That's who I think of when I think of someone teaching on eschatology. In the Bible, however, if you're into eschatology, you're into holiness, godliness, and righteousness.

2 Peter 3:11-13
... what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

If the end is coming, if Jesus is to return and to judge the world and condemn those who have not trusted in him, if he's going to gather into his kingdom those who have embraced his sacrifice and trusted in him, if all that is going to happen, we have to purse godliness, righteousness, faith, and believe and trust in Jesus. That's where eschatology is aiming for. Not in arrogant self-knowledge or fear. It should be a comfort.

2 Peter 3:14
Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.

If you are listening to someone teaching about eschatology, but is not leading you to the blessing of Revelation 1:3, something's not quite right in the teaching. Or if someone teaching eschatology leads you to fear rather than faith, please know that such teaching runs contrary to the Biblical reason for teaching about the end times. Now, if you are unrepentant and rebelling against God you should fear! But when you know the love of Christ, the love that casts out fear, you don't need to be afraid. Christ has forgiven us and we don't ever have to do enough works to get his peace. I just encourage you, eschatology has ethics. "The Ethics of Eschatology" means that when talking about the end, there is always an application. At the end of 2 Peter, it leads to holiness and godliness as we wait for the day of his coming.

This sermon was delivered to Rock Valley Bible Church on January 28, 2024 by Steve Brandon.
For more information see www.rockvalleybiblechurch.org.

[1] Wayne Grudem, 1 Peter (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1988), 62.

[2] https://apnews.com/article/illinois-law-crisis-pregnancy-centers-blocked-252da19a438adca5142a4bb81fc98629