Peter's first letter was written to Christians in Rome for which he uses the name Babylon - a symbol of luxury, wealth and wickedness, probably in the early 60s AD. By then the people of God comprised people from both Jewish and gentile backgrounds to become one new people of God. It was natural for Peter to use the language of Israel to apply to both.
The Christians in Rome were facing persecution and needed encouragement. Things were set to get worse. Peter explains that trials and troubles are an inevitable part of the Christian life. But they are necessary for our spiritual progress and God allows them to purify our faith and to help us get to our inheritance. Certainly they do not stop us rejoicing!
The theme of suffering links to the other main theme of the letter - holiness. God is building for himself a people with a unique and distinctive character - a living temple. It has a cornerstone - Jesus. It has many other living stones - believers. Together they offer sacrifices of worship, praise and self-offering. This is the high calling of Christians; to be a chosen family, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession.
The middle portion of the letter contains some detailed and practical instructions on how to live the Christian life. He speaks of the relationship of husbands and wives. He mentions hospitality and serving others. He encourages them to, "Give attention to prayer!" - which involves worship, thanksgiving, confession, intercession and petition.
At the end of his letter he returns to his theme of suffering for the Name of Jesus. It should not surprise us! it serves as entirely constructive purpose for the person who accept God's discipline. After the suffering comes restoration, confirmation, strengthening participation in God's eternal glory in Christ!
|25||Breaking With Sin||4:1-3|
|26||The Christian's Final Vindication||4:4-6|
|27||Living in the End-Times||4:7-9|
|28||Ministering With God-Given Strength||4:10-11|
|29||Suffering for the Name of Jesus||4:12-16|
|30||Judgement at the House of God||4:17-19|
|31||The Shepherds of the Churches||5:1-2|
|32||Jesus the Chief Shepherd||5:4-5|
|33||Depending on God||5:6-7|
|34||Guarded by God's Mighty Power||5:8-11|
Sovereign World Trust
Kent TN11 0ZS
(NOT for sat navs!)
We are a UK registered charity, No 327284