Most conservative scholars agree that Jesus’ disciple Peter wrote both 1 and 2 Peter sometime between 62-67 AD, although the tradition holds that Peter died under Nero’s persecution in 64 AD in Rome. Although Peter addresses specifically the Jews in the Diaspora in the opening line, from the content of the letter it is clear that he also had a Gentile audience in mind.
1 Peter was another one of my favorite books of the New Testament to study because I walked away with this deep truth permeating my spirit that the eternal reality is the only thing that matters; it’s the only thing that lasts! My focus, therefore, shifted from focusing on what’s temporary here on earth to focusing on what actually has an eternal worth.
For example, many women, including myself at times, strive to meet the world’s standard for beauty, not realizing that this is actually completely meaningless and short-sighted, as the only beauty that will last is one that comes from within:
Do not adorn yourselves outwardly by braiding your hair, and by wearing gold ornaments or fine clothing; rather, let your adornment be the inner self with the lasting beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which
is very precious in God’s sight.
1 Peter 3:3,4
This truth about lasting beauty is hard for us to accept because of the fear of man. We want to meet the world’s standard for beauty because of the fear that we will be rejected or less valuable if we don’t. Not that we shouldn’t take care of ourselves and neglect our physical appearance, but God’s standards are much different (and He won’t reject us even if we don’t live out eternal beauty here on earth).
Since God is the one who reigns forever, His perspective on beauty should give freedom to all who struggle with physical appearances. The only challenge is that we must believe in His eternal truth regarding beauty. Eventually, the truth will take root in our spirit where the immense pressure to conform to the world’s standard no longer phases us. Hallelujah.
Although the above verse stood out to me, the main point of Peter’s letter was to give his readers hope that there was eternal purpose for their suffering:
In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith—being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
1 Peter 1:6,7
…rejoice insofar as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed.
1 Peter 4:13
Peter points the original reader to the eternal hope they have in Christ to put all of their circumstances in the proper perspective:
Therefore prepare your minds for action;discipline yourselves; set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when he is revealed.
1 Peter 1:13
Through him you have come to trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are set on God.
1 Peter 1:21
And when the chief shepherd appears, you will win the crown of glory that never fades away.
1 Peter 5:4
Peter’s letter showed me how important it was for me to live for the eternal only. Although I had the knowledge of eternity before, I had to study this letter and discover this truth on my own for it to have an impact on me. This revelation that the Holy Spirit gave me expanded my vision beyond this age, which Peter urges the reader to do:
Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh,arm yourselves also with the same intention (for whoever has suffered in the flesh has finished with sin), so as to live for the rest of your earthly life no longer by human desires but by the will of God.
1 Peter 4:1,2
And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you.
1 Peter 5:10
I don’t want to base my decisions in life on whether or not I will experience pain. I want to do what’s right, in God’s sight, as this is the only thing has eternal meaning and value. And I know that doing the will of God might mean that I sacrifice many earthly comforts, whether it’s sleep, money, or some kind of pleasure. But having this eternal perspective makes it a joyful sacrifice (and honestly the only thing that makes logical sense since the world is passing away).
Living for eternity is the only way to live as it brings purpose to everything that we do, for if we lived for a world that is passing away anyway, what possible meaning could there be?
All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls,
but the word of the Lord endures forever.
1 Peter 1:24,25