Our calling as sojourners on this earth is to be set apart, to be different from the world. We are to be holy.
The result of being different, as we read from 1 Peter, is persecution. But this is not the persecution that we know of, it is not physical abuse, execution, or state wide punishment of Christians. The persecution that we read of in 1 Peter is social ostracization (to be excluded from a group), and verbal abuse.
What is Peter’s encouragement to the people experiencing these persecutions? He uses three people groups (citizens, servants, wives) to make his point:
- They are first to be subject to (place yourselves under) their authorities.
- Citizens to government (2:13-17)
- Servants to masters (2:18-20)
- Wives to husbands (3:1-7)
- They are to be subject to the authorities even if they are evil, or do not believe in the word.
- To adapt it to today’s time, this can mean we are to fulfill our duties and expectations in our social circles.
- They are to do what’s good in God’s eyes.
- Continue to do good and be different in these social settings, even when doing good results in persecution.
- They are to bless those who curse them. (3:8-9)
- Do not return evil for evil, or reviling with reviling.
- But they are to bless them, to speak good things about them, to be a blessing to them.
This is a difficult thing to do, to respond to evil and persecution by submission, doing good and blessing others.
But this is exactly what Christ has done. And Peter tells us that by following Christ’s example, we are walking in his footsteps in this journey as a sojourner (2:21-25). And we will find that just as Christ’s journey to glory is through suffering (3:22); suffering is a sojourner’s journey to glory.