A theme that Peter returns to more often than any other is posed by the question he asked in 2 Peter 3:11: “Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness?” (NRSV).
Peter considers Christian behavior at many points in his two letters, and a number of themes keep recurring. First, Peter twice emphasizes the link between the judgment of God and Christian behavior (1 Pet. 1:17 and 2 Pet. 3:11). God will judge everyone’s actions. Thus, a Christian should live a life of holiness.
Second, several times Peter mentions that Christians should be holy. In the Hebrew Bible, things that are holy are set aside for use in the temple (Exod. 26:34; Exod. 28:36; Exod. 29:6, Exod. 29:37) or for God’s purposes (for example, the Sabbath in Genesis 2:3). In fact, God’s plan was that His people should be holy, just as He is holy, a theme Peter touched on, too (Lev. 11:44; Lev. 19:2; 1 Pet. 1:15-16). The process of setting something aside as holy is called “sanctification,” and Peter’s desire is that his readers become sanctified by the Spirit and be obedient to Jesus (1 Pet. 1:2).
Third, Peter has provided some specifics as to the kind of behavior appropriate to those who are sanctified. They should rid themselves of malice, guile, insincerity, envy, and slander (1 Pet. 2:1). They should have unity in spirit, love for one another, and a humble mind (1 Pet. 3:8-9). They should have goodness, godliness, and love (2 Pet. 1:5-7). Indeed, they must maintain constant love (1 Pet. 4:7-11). Finally, Peter urges his listeners to cast their anxiety upon Jesus (1 Pet. 5:7).
|How can we learn to encourage one another in ways that are not judgmental, to live the kind of life that Peter is calling for in his epistles?|