Just over two years ago, the Barna Group polled Americans about the end times. They found that 41 percent agree with the sentence, “The world is currently living in the ‘end times’ as described by prophecies in the Bible.”
This is more than a vague awareness that things are off-track; more than an ill-defined sense of looming apocalypse. This is a specific belief that the events of our time match the Bible’s description of the end time.
2 Peter 3:10-13 says, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, on account of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.” (NASB)
Peter asked, “What sort of people ought you to be?” The King James Version translates it, “What manner of persons ought ye to be?” (KJV)
Through Peter, the Holy Spirit tells the reader that the things of this world we get hung up on — money, houses, cars and other luxuries — will not last. He’s telling us to take the long view of history. Look at the big picture. See your life in context — not just the context of tomorrow or next week, but of eternity.
Peter asked, “Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be?” Those words were hardly on the page when he began giving the answer. “In holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God.” (2 Peter 3:11-12 NASB)
Forty-one percent believe we are in the end times as described in the Bible. So why don’t they live “in holy conduct and godliness?” Forty-one percent is not a majority, but it is such a large minority that mainstream advertisers would never want to offend it. The celebration of evil that permeates American entertainment would not hold — at least not in the mainstream.
But even Christians can lose the ability to blush. The world is falling into a pit of violent debauchery, and a large percentage of people who believe Jesus is coming soon, are following the world down.
We desperately need another Great Awakening in the United States. That doesn’t just mean sinners being saved. An awakening includes reformation and revival. Christians, including the clergy, need to renew their love for God and His word — to love Him more than money, prestige, or comfort.
Hebrews gives us a great picture of how to live our lives, and then says that it is especially true for those who live in the end times. “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”(Hebrews 10:23-25 NKJV)
Two years ago, 41% of Americans said they could “see the Day approaching.” So why aren’t the 41% holding fast the confession of their hope without wavering? Why aren’t we stirring up love and good works in one another? Why do so many forsake the assembling together of those with like faith?
I’ve spent much of my life pointing out just how near we are to “the Day.” It’s heartening that so many Americans now agree with that basic message. I pray that this glorious belief will begin to manifest itself in our attitudes and actions. When that happens, we will see miracles!