I will use this post to explain the big picture of Peter’s emerging strategy, for in 1 Peter 2:11-12 Peter gives his strategy. It is here that Peter devises a strategy for how the communites of faith in Asia Minor can make an impact on their society. These two verses are then applied in 2:13–3:12. I will give the big picture today and then develop each next week.
Peter begins with the social condition of his readers: they are resident aliens and temporary residents. At the end of these verses he provides the telos or goal of his strategy: they are to glorify God on the day of visitation. The strategy that will get his readers and their society to that is two-fold: they are to avoid sin and they are to be good citizens.
Now if you sit down and read 2:13–3:12 you will see each of these over and over. Your status shapes how you can impact the world. But the way to impact society for God’s redemptive purposes is to avoid sin and to do good things in your society.
This isn’t all that clever; it isn’t all that complicated. But it is pure gold. Christians are to avoid sin and to be good. This is why I have called 1 Peter an emerging Petrine gospel: the way to impact society is to embody, incarnate, and make the proclamation credible by being a local performance of the gospel itself. (This is the heart of chp. 1 of Embracing Grace.)
I’ll begin next week with a point-by-point explanation and then show how Peter worked this out in an emerging way for each of the groups he addresses.