Peter spent the first twelve verses of this letter reminding the church about the living hope they had in Jesus Christ. To those that would receive this letter it was an encouragement and reminder of the truths they knew but were so easy to forget. Peter described them as “exiles of the dispersion” as a way to describe the life of believers who, because of their profession of faith in Christ, experienced persecution, marginalization, and great difficulty. Coupled with this was the expectation that they had of Christ’s imminent return. When that did not happen, they began to lose heart and grow discouraged.
It’s in this context that Peter reminds them of the hope they have in Christ. This hope is twofold – it is future oriented toward what will be revealed when Jesus comes back and it is past oriented as to what God has already done through the redemption that Jesus purchased for his people.
The context for this hope, which includes the holiness of God, the judgment by God, and the redemption in Jesus Christ, leads to a sober-mindedness and a preparedness of the believer towards obedience and faithfulness.
We too are believers in exile. The message of Peter is one that applies to us and calls us to look to the hope that we have and to live in faithful obedience as we await Christ’s second coming.