In the first major section of the book (1Peter 1:1-2:10), Peter explains how the gospel gives the right perspective on life. In His great mercy, God sent His son Jesus to pay the penalty for our guilt and to buy us out slavery. We need only trust in him to be saved.
While we have been rescued from God’s wrath and our guilt, we are still need rescue from the power and presence of sin. In the future, death will be completely defeated and our rescue will be completed. This future rescue is our great inheritance which we set our hope on.
In the second major section (1Peter 2:11-3:17), Peter encourages his readers to keep their behavior excellent even when they are being mistreated. He gives 3 examples of socially binding situations where believers are often mistreated: 1) citizens to a government that is persecuting them; 2) slaves with unjust masters, and 3) believing wives with unbelieving husbands.
In each case his advice is the same: Communicate with your behavior that you love God and respect the person treating you unjustly. Trust that God has a bigger plan and “turn the other cheek” so that you might win them to the gospel.
1Peter 3:8-17 closes this section of the book.
8Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 9Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. 10For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; 11let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. 12For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 13Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil. – 1Peter 3:8-17 ESV
“Finally/To sum up” – The relationships he’s talked about so far:
- 1:22-2:10 – how believers should get along with each other
- 2:11-13 – how believers should get along with a pagan government
- 2:14-18 – how believers should respond to treat an unfair boss
- 3:1-6 – how believers should treat a non-believing spouse
- 3:7 – how to treat a believing spouse
Notice that the virtues in 1Peter 3:8-9 are also relational.
- The virtues in 1Peter 3:8 are implications of the gospel.
- If I’m truly looking to God for blessing and I believe He will keep His promise, that changes how I see others. It gives me the freedom to give up demanding my rights and my “fair share.”
- Peter quotes Psalm 34 which teaches in part that the one who finds life and blessing is the one who is right with God, because God is at work in his/her life.
- Who is there to harm you? If God has granted you an inheritance in His kingdom, no one in creation can do anything really terrible to you.
- The more we embrace the truth of who Jesus is and what he did for us, the less we have to fear.
- The more we know where life, hope and blessing are to be found, the freer we are to let go of this world.