This series is to follow on from Easter of the call to radically practice the Gospel! 1 Peter is a letter concerned about the everyday life of believers in pressing contexts.
Peter is concerned with living the resurrection life as Christians in the face of hostility to faith. Peter paints a picture of the Christians being like the Jews - exiles, strangers and foreigners in a strange and foreign land.
Present trials, we should understand, are not in spite of, but are the consequence of the new birth. The imagery of “new birth” implies a new life-world, but, to continue the metaphor, it also introduces the need for growth and maturation, for growing into salvation (cf. 1:14-16, 22-23; 2:2-3). (Joel Green, Commentary p. 30)
The question is of the Christian’s/church’s place and engagement with society and culture. Peter seeks to encourage, to build hope among them to lift their sights to the new ‘risen’ life they are called to live out, even in the less hospitable context. In other words Peter is concerned with God and the ramifications of how we orientate our life as Christians around Christ. To profess faith in Jesus Christ, we must be courageous as Christ was, taking up the cross after Him.
What is important though in reading 1 Peter is NOT to see this as how WE might think about God, rather it is more about hearing more about what God thinks of us and ways life is radically transformed as a result of Jesus risen in all the nooks and crannies of our lives. The“new birth” is not merely about how the entry point of conversion. Rather, it is about the new life that a Christian has embarked on. And the Christian will continue in. Hence, Peter invites us to ‘an exercise in formation in the character and ways of God’(Joel Green). The point being allegiance is to Jesus Christ and NOT Caesar as Lord.
In the times in which we live, we must remember Peter’s words: “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you” (5 v6). The letter is essentially a brief pastoral encouragement and testifying to the grace of God (5 v12).