In studying 1 Peter, will see that faith in Christ is costly. It will cost us comfort. It will cost us relationships. It will cost us influence. The suffering (“trials,” 1:6; 4:12) that Peter refers to may refer to the systematic government-sponsored persecution of Christians (under Emperor Nero), but it certainly refers to the commonplace ridicule, insult, and slander (2:12; 3:13-17; 4:14-16) from unbelievers within their families, neighborhoods, and workplaces, who viewed the gospel as foolish and offensive and their lifestyle as backwards.
Peter wants believers to “stand firm” “in the true grace of God” (5:12) by rightly understanding God’s purposes in their suffering and by rightly relating to the surrounding pagan culture. He wants believers to have a posture of joy (1:8; 5:13) and wisdom (1:13; 2:12; 4:1) as they serve one another and witness to the world.
While Peter does not use the “union with Christ” language familiar to Paul’s epistles, he parallels the past, present, and future realities of the believers with those of Christ:
Election: Believers are “elect exiles” “according to the foreknowledge of God the Father” (1:1-2), following “in the footsteps” (2:21) of Christ, who “was foreknown before the foundation of the world” (1:20).
Sanctification | Atonement: Believers are called to do good as they suffer unjustly (2:15-16, 19), following “in the footsteps” (2:21) of Christ, the Suffering Servant (Isa. 53), who “when he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (2:23).
Eschatology | Resurrection: Believers will receive “an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfaded” (1:4). Having their faith tested (1:7) and having “shared [in] Christ’s sufferings,” they will “also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed” (4:13).
In all these ways, and more, Peter “prepares” (1:13) and “arms” (4:1) our thinking about suffering so that we can resist sin as a relief from present suffering and proclaim the hope we have in Christ to a world in darkness (2:9).