Strange as it may seem, it is the character of grace itself that provides the occasion for this letter (see 5:12). The readers had found that their life in grace involved a basic conflict with the prevailing norms and customs of their society. That conflict had expressed itself in a variety of ways that together comprise the readers' suffering. We should not understand this suffering as a state-organized campaign of persecution against Christians. Rather, the suffering of the readers resulted from the social tensions created by their distinctive lifestyle. Their way of life inspired discrimination, slander, ostracism, and reproach from the non-Christians around them (1:6; 2:12, 19-20; 3:9, 13-17; 4:3-4; 5:8-10).
If Peter understood such suffering to be part and parcel of Christian life, clearly his readers did not. To them the sufferings seemed strange (4:12) and called into question the reality and vitality of their faith. Therefore, Peter writes in order to explain the nature of grace and to urge them to submit to the way of grace, which leads to glory (see the purpose in 5:12, summarized in 5:10). While grace accounts for the readers' suffering, grace also casts that very suffering into an entirely new light. Grace stimulates confidence, faithfulness, and joy as the readers anticipate glory when Christ returns.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your free trial.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your subscription.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
For the best Bible Gateway experience, consider an upgrade to Bible Gateway Plus. For less than the cost of a latte each month, you'll get reduced banner ads and a huge digital Bible study library. Try it free for 30 days!