How Then Should We Live?
Peter, in both his letters spends a great deal of time on how Christians should live. In I Peter this is overshadowed by the potential presence of persecution and suffering. Even though one is subject to the government, a slave or submitting themselves to each other and to God, they will be subject to suffering and so Peter urges us to remain faithful. To endure to the end, until the final victory is won. Why? Because then as Christians we can be a credit to the cause of God and not shame Him and His cause on earth. The second reason it that every Christian should endeavor to study the Scripture so that can give a reason for their faith and hope in a crucified and resurrected Saviour. But even more important is so that each Christian can keep a clear conscience, so that when others speak against you, you can with a clear conscience know that what they say is untrue. Peter states, “It is better to suffer for doing well than for doing evil (I Peter 3:17 cf. I Peter 4:15).
In both I and II Peter, Peter tells us about the coming judgement of God and that these pending judgments should be motivation for us seek a deeper relationship with Christ and for godly behavior. Thus, all Christians should live with a type of reverent fear. Not that we are scared for our lives or scared into doing what is right, but respectfully reverent of the judgement that will go out upon the earth.
Throughout the entirety of the Bible, there is a sharp contrast drawn between those who deny Jesus will return and those who live in expectation of His soon return. There is a warning to all those that have chosen to follow Jesus, that unless they prayerfully and carefully study the Holy Scriptures, being lead in the study the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit, that they live in danger of being deceived by false teachers and returning to the life style that Christ came to save them from.
How said it will be on that great day of Christ’s return when we like the five virgins find that we are without oil and are turned away from partaking in the marriage supper of the Lamb. Peter states it would have been better for them to not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known and turned their back to it.
Peter teaches and John the Revelator agrees that those who believe in Christ’s soon return and with His return He will bring with Him judgement, can and should use this as a motivating force in their lives to live a life that is right with God. But both are quick to point out that we want to live a Christlike life, not out of fear of the judgment, but because we love Christ and honestly and sincerely seek to do His will. As it says in John 14:15; “If you love Me, keep my commandments.” Not out of fear but out of love, but the pending judgement keeps us focused on what is important and why.
As was just mention, Peter places great enfaces on love. As important as ethical behavior is, we cannot overlook love. It is the bases on which all Christians should deal with each other and should be central in our relationship with God. More than any other theme in I or II Peter, is love. Love for God, love for our fellow Christians, love for the unbeliever, and love for the scriptures.