Peter was writing to early Christ-followers who were hurting – scattered, distressed, tested by various trials, persecuted, tempted to compromise their faith and conform to the surrounding pagan cultures. They were pilgrims and agents of hope on the way home, called to live in hope, free and set apart as God’s people reflecting His holiness in a hostile environment.
Like the early Christ-followers we are just as stretched, living in the midst of uncertainty, apprehensive and anxious about what lies ahead, and our faith is being tested in every which way on a daily basis. If God sees each one of us who belongs to Him as someone worth dying for and gives us a new life, then we are challenged to place an equally high premium on our relationship with each other – we must treasure, appreciate, honor and protect each other! Love practiced in community is what is most needed, for everyone longs for mutual support, acceptance and security. As the late Francis Schaeffer says, “Our relationship with each other is the criterion the world uses to judge whether our message is truthful – Christian community is the final apologetic.”