Ah, Peter. The guy who always had something to say. Gotta love him! I love how wise his words are, though, after Christ has been raised and he has been filled with the Holy Spirit. He begins his letter by talking about the blessings of God's grace. "In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade..."
He continues by explaining what our response should be, and how we should live, in view of such mercy. "Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do for it is written: 'Be holy, because I am holy.'"
Peter speaks of the importance of becoming mature in our faith, as we try to live lives that are pleasing to the Lord. He says, "Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good."
As Peter is encouraging the people to live holy and pure lives, he reminds them that they are "a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light."
Peter gives more specific instructions about holy living, as he instructs how to live in relationship with each other: slaves, citizens, husbands, wives. He talks about the necessity of treating each other with love. "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms."
Finally, Peter ends by talking about suffering. He both warns and encourages the people, who are in the midst of facing terrible persecution, with these words: "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings."