Peter tells his powerless resident aliens and temporary residents to avoid fleshy lusty pursuits of power to get God’s will accomplished, and he also tells them to be good citizens. And he tells them that the day God visits will sort this all out. But what does it mean to speak of the “day of visitation”? What is your view — day of conversion or day of judgment?
Some are inclined to jump in here, like the young Apostle John, and suggest we are dealing here with divine thunderbolts out of the dark skies of judgment. Others are inclined to see here the day of conversion — and it is probably fair to say that both views are shaped by theological convictions they bring to such a text.
For my part, I think the source of the expression (“day of visitation” comes from Isa 10:3, where it is judgment) and 1 Peter 3:16 (“put to shame”) tip the hat in favor of the view that Peter is getting his readers to think of the Last Day, the Day when God Sorts Things Out. Anyone who believes in justice must believe that God’s Justice will put everything to rights by sorting the good from the bad and making things right.
In essence, then, Peter’s exhortation here is not a little like Jesus’ parable of the weeds and wheat — let them grow, he says, until the End, when God jumps in and sorts things out. Don’t get yourself involved in doing the work of God. So here: Peter informs his readers to avoid fleshy lusts and be good folk in the community, for in the End, God will sort things out and on that Day, Peter clearly says, they will “glorify God.” What the oppressors of the Christians now see as something worthy to slander for being evildoers will be the cause, on that Day, of their giving praise to God. Reminds one of the end of Phil 2:11 — every knee confessing Jesus as Lord. The Last Word is glorifying God (and the word after that — eternally).