1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.
3 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,
4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,
5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Peter reveals the tremendous depth and scope of God’s plan. God chooses, destines, cleanses, and covers those who believe. All three members of the Trinity—God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—work together to take us to our final destination. What amazing teamwork and strategy.
With God’s strength, we can try harder to do more at greater risk without fear. We can face trials knowing that the final victory belongs to God.
Despite the growing threat of organized persecution, he reminded the Christians that they were and would remain God’s selected and loved people who, although strangers in this world and often persecuted by it, would eventually find their eternal rest and home with Christ.
This letter continues to encourage Christians facing trials. Two-thirds of believers around the world live under governments more repressive than the Roman Empire of the first century.
Christians everywhere face misunderstanding, ridicule, and even harassment by unbelieving friends, employers, teachers, and family members.
In some countries, converting to Christianity is punishable by death. No one is exempt from catastrophe, pain, illness, and death—trials that, like persecution, make us lean heavily on God.
The first verses of the first chapter show the perspective we should have in trials. We are chosen, but we must live as resident aliens. We know that we belong to the triune God rather than to this world. For today’s readers, as well as for Peter’s original audience, the themes of this letter are hope and assurance in Jesus Christ.
When Peter says “Grace and peace,” he’s saying much more than “Have a nice day!” Grace describes God’s character. It’s a theological statement of immense importance. The heart behind the universe is a gracious heart of love. Although he is the center of all power, God cares for you as a person.
The meaning of peace goes far beyond merely the cessation of hostilities. Peace between you and God settles your biggest problem—sin.
When God saves us, he removes all our rebellion and indifference to him. Peace with God gives you the base for solving your second tier of problems—relationships with everyone else in the world. With your relationship with God made right, you have the energy and insight to work on your human relationships. All this comes at a price you could not pay yourself; it was prepaid by Jesus on the cross.
By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.NRSV We find God’s mercy always at the center of any discussion of salvation. Only God’s mercy would allow him to have compassion for sinful and rebellious people.
Salvation is all completely from God; we can do nothing to earn it. Salvation is given to us because of God’s great mercy alone.
Christ Jesus has given us hope of eternal life. Our hope is not only for the future; it is “living.” Eternal life begins when we trust Christ and join God’s family. Regardless of our pain and trials, we know that this life is not all there is. Eventually we will live with Christ forever.
We have hope based on our conviction that God will keep his promises. We base our hope in a future resurrection on the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
By rising from the dead, Christ made the necessary power available for our resurrection. Christ’s resurrection makes us certain that we too will be raised from the dead.
We shouldn’t be discouraged by earthly trials, for we have the Resurrection to be our backup.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is one of the crucial and non-negotiable doctrines of the Bible. Here are just a few reasons why this is true:
- Jesus declared that His resurrection would serve as His final sign, which would demonstrate that His claims and teachings are true (Matthew 12:38-40; Romans 1:4).
- The resurrection is an inseparable part of the gospel, which must be believed (1 Corinthians 15; Romans 10:9f,).
- The resurrection is one of the ways the Holy Spirit bears witness to the truth of the gospel, convincing men that Jesus has been raised from the dead because His grave is empty and we see Him no more (John 16:8-11; note especially verse 10).
- The resurrection is a powerful warning to those who reject Jesus as Savior because there will be a future judgment with eternal consequences. In short, the unsaved dead will be raised to life, to live forever away from the presence of God (Daniel 12:2; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10; Revelation 20:11-15).
- In the Book of Acts, it was the apostles’ proclamation that Jesus had risen from the dead that the Jewish religious leaders found intolerable and sought to suppress (Acts 1:22; 2:31; 4:2, 33; 23:6-8).
But by the time we reach Peter’s epistles, we find Peter defending the very suffering he had avoided.
Indeed, we find him declaring suffering for Christ’s sake not only to be the will of God but the cause for rejoicing:
In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7 that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;” (1 Peter 1:6,7).