What is God doing in this world? He is gathering a people for himself. Christians are called to show and tell what God is like. One of the big ideas in 1 Peter is that being a Christian can be tough. A tough life is normal for Christians. That’s good news as you don’t need to despair that you’re doing something wrong. It should be normal to not feel at home in this world, to an extent. The trials Peter refers to are persecution and even death. It’s the normal reality for lots of Christians.
The challenge is that Christians rejoice even when times are tough (v6). They’re not rejoicing in the trials, but rejoicing despite the trials. How can we rejoice when what’s in front of us is so difficult? The secret is that Christians have a living hope. It’s a hope that’s for the future – life forever. We shouldn’t expect to be at ease in this world. An inheritance is something we have to wait for (v5). If we are Christians we are saved but are waiting for Jesus to come back to restore the world to the way it should be. The aim of our salvation is eternal life with Jesus.
Our hope is rooted in the past. It’s certain (v3). It has already been won. It was through Jesus’ death that this future has been won. We have nothing to fear for the future. Jesus has come and rescued us and died the death that we deserve. This is what the Old Testament prophets were longing for. Jesus is what the Bible is all about. This hope is wholly dependent on God. He is the one who has chosen us and is the one who will keep us. Peter reminds us we are shielded by God’s power. Doesn’t that mean we can rejoice when things are tough? It is worth keeping going.
Peter is writing to churches scattered throughout the world. We need to listen to each other and encourage each other. It’s our responsibility to point each other to this hope that will never fade or perish. We need to live in such a way that people will ask us the reason for the hope that we have. We need to pray that we will live our lives in light of that hope, even when times are tough.