It is customary for the writers of the Epistles to put a greeting before their letters. Peter (Pt.) wrote an excellent introduction that gets straight to the point in 1 Pt. 1:2 “According to the foreknowledge of God the Father and set apart by the Spirit for obedience and for the sprinkling with the blood of Jesus Christ. May grace and peace be multiplied to you.” Our knowledge of God through our acceptance of Christ allow His Spirit to work in and through us by gaining better understanding of God’s love and grace in order for us to show love and grace to one another which will ultimately bring peace.

The subtitle for the verses of 1 Pt 1:3-12 is “A Living Hope.” This is not just any ordinary hope, but a hope full of life for us to hold on tight to. “According to His great mercy, He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…who are being protected by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” God has given us His mercy through the death and resurrection of His Son, so that who ever proclaims Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior will be born again and will receive God’s protection and assured salvation. At this point, one may ask how is God protecting us if we are still facing hardship in this life? To answer this, all we need to do is continue reading, “You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have had to be distressed by various trials so that the genuineness of your faith—more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” I love how Peter compares our faith to gold. Gold can be refined through fire and be made into excellent products, but in the end, it will be gone. Our faith, on the other hand, can be refined by fire with the opportunity to be made stronger. If we continue to hold strong to Christ, God will protect us by keeping His promise of salvation with eternal life in communion with Him. This is truly more valuable than gold as well as all other material possessions.

Thomas Schreiner made the following comment in regards to 1 Peter 1:3-9: “Karl Marx complained that religion was the opiate of the people. Did Peter support the comfortable life of oppressors by pacifying those who are suffering with the idea of a heavenly inheritance in the next world? In answering this question, we need to recall that Peter himself suffered as a Christian, and the tradition that he died for the faith is likely accurate. What we find in 1 Pt, therefore, are not the words of someone with power telling those who are suffering to endure injustice because heaven awaits. We hear the words of someone who suffered along with those he taught. The early Christians did not have political power but rather were at the mercy of governing authorities if the latter turned against them. What Peter wrote provides no justification for injustice. We distort Peter’s words if we say to those suffering under our authority, ‘Don’t worry about suffering. You will be rewarded in heaven.’ On the other hand, Marx’s objection assumes that the heavenly hope is not real. Millions of Christians throughout history have suffered and have had no prospect of worldly happiness. Peter’s words provide genuine comfort to all believers who face oppression, for they remind us that unspeakable joy awaits those who belong to Jesus.”

Peter then guides us on how to respond to God’s grace in 1 Pt 1:13-25, “A Call to Holy Living.” “Therefore, get your minds ready for action, being self-disciplined, and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance but, as the One who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct; for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy…By obedience to the truth (through the Spirit)…love one another earnestly from a pure heart.” Because we are new in Christ, we should not go back to our former sinful lives. We should allow the Spirit to guide us, meditating on the Word, and acting in love. Peter becomes more specific in 1 Pt. 2:1-2, 9-11, and 16-17: “So rid yourselves of all wickedness, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all slander. Like newborn infants, desire the unadulterated spiritual milk, so that you may grow by it in your salvation. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Dear friends, I urge you as aliens and temporary residents to abstain from fleshly desires that war against you. As God’s slaves, live as free people, but don’t use your freedom as a way to conceal evil. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the Emperor.”

In regards to 1 Pt. 2:18-25, Schreiner pointed out that, “Their primary concern was the relationship of individuals to God, and they focused on the sin and rebellion of individuals against their Creator. New Testament writers, therefore, did not complain about the oppression imposed by others but concentrated instead on the godly response of believers to mistreatment. If enough individuals are transformed, of course, society as a whole benefits and the Christian faith begins to function as a leavening influence. We are keenly aware from history that Christians have too often failed to live righteously, and yet we may also fail to see that the Christian faith has been a force for good in Western civilization. History demonstrates the impact of Christian faith upon social structures. One of the consequences, under Christian influence, was the eradication of slavery. Christians, of course, have inflicted evil on others throughout the centuries as well. As sinners, we have left a legacy that is disappointing. A realistic appraisal of history, however, includes both the evil and the good that Christians have accomplished.”

In 1 Pt. 3:1-7, we receive instructions on how husbands and wives should respond to one another. If a person is not married, it would still be ideal to read and meditate on these verses anyway because they can be taken figuratively as there are other parts in the Bible that refer to the church as the bride of Christ. “Wives, in the same way, submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, even if some disobey the Christian message, they may be won over without a message by the way their wives live, when they observe your pure, reverent lives. Your beauty should not consist of outward things…instead, it should consist of the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very valuable in God’s eyes…Husbands, in the same way, live with your wives with understanding of their weaker nature yet showing them honor as co-heirs of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.” To put this in a figurative context, we should submit ourselves to Christ by following Him and living our lives with our hearts on our sleeves so that even when we make mistakes, people will still be drawn towards us when we confess and by the acts we do in love. We should not be too focused on the latest fashion trends, we should just dress decently and modestly and invest in growing our spiritual character. We should imitate Jesus Christ because He understands our weaknesses, He has seen our sins and has wiped them clean because of God’s grace. By this grace, we pray for others and treat them as God has treated us. We read in 1 Pt. 3:14-16, “But even if you should suffer for righteousness, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear or be disturbed, but set apart the Messiah as Lord in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. However, do this with gentleness and respect, keeping your conscience clear.”

We find further elaboration on how to be children of God in 1 Pt. 4:2-3, 7-11, “In order to live the remaining time in the flesh, no longer for human desires, but for God’s will. For there has already been enough time spent in doing the will of the pagans: carrying on in unrestrained behavior, evil desires, drunkenness, orgies, carousing, and lawless idolatry. Now the end of all things is near; therefore, be clear-headed and disciplined for prayer. Above all, keep your love for one another at full strength, since love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. Based on the gift they have received everyone should use it to serve others, as good managers of the varied grace of God. If anyone speaks, his speech should be like the oracles of God; if anyone serves, his service should be from the strength God provides, so that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To Him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.”

To conclude the letter of 1 Pt. we read in 5:6-11, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, because He cares about you. Be sober! Be on the alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. Resist him, firm in the faith, knowing that your brothers in the world are experiencing the same sufferings. Now the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will personally restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little. To Him be the dominion forever. Amen.”

2 Pt. 1:3-11, 19 “For His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. By these He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. The person who lacks these things is blind and shortsighted, and has forgotten the cleansing from his past sins. Therefore, brothers, make every effort to confirm your calling and election, because if you do these things you will never stumble. For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly supplied to you. You will do well to pay attention to it, as to a lamp shining in a dismal place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.” When we find ourselves in a dark place, we need to go to His Word and that will provide enough light to continue forward in our daily living.

2 Pt. 2:21-22, “For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than, after knowing it, to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb: A dog returns to its own vomit, and, “a sow, after washing itself, wallows in the mud.” As long as we are living on this earth, we will always be tempted by sin, and the temptations will be extremely strong if a particular sin is something we made a habit of before we came to Christ. People in Christ are not perfect and they will not be perfect until Christ’s return. Everyone has and will stumble in their path of faith and occasionally fall down. It is critical to not stay down for long because if we become caught up in this world and everything it has to offer, than we will forget the true joy we have felt with Christ. We read in 2 Pt. 3:11-13, 18 “Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, it is clear what sort of people you should be in holy conduct and godliness as you wait for and earnestly desire the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be on fire and be dissolved, and the elements will melt with the heat. But based on His promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness will dwell. 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.”