In this letter, Peter primarily approaches two difficult subjects: holiness and suffering. Peter would agree with Paul that holiness and suffering are vitally connected (see Rom. 5:3–4). He knows that the holy will suffer and that the holy will be made more holy as they share in Christ’s suffering (1 Pet. 1:7; Phil. 3:10). "But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed," Peter will later write (1 Pet. 4:13).
To take his readers into the commands of holiness and the demands of hardship, however, he must first take them to the sovereign power and assurance necessary for both. This power is found only in the gospel. Consider how Peter exults in the gospel in this opening paragraph to the letter. We are "born again to a living hope" (1 Peter 1:3), "to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading," that is "kept in heaven" for us (1 Peter 1:4). This assurance of our enduring hope is important for believers to remember so that we neither despair of God’s commands to obedience (which as sinners we will struggle with) nor despair of God’s allowing of suffering (which as frail people we may break under). Instead, we are empowered to obey, knowing that we are forgiven for all eternity; and we are encouraged to hope in God through hardship, knowing that our souls are infinitely secure.
This series of posts pairs a brief passage of Scripture with associated study notes drawn from the Gospel Transformation Bible.