The Apostle Paul had diligently established churches throughout the regions of Peter's audience (see 1 Peter 1:1). The churches; however, were not immune to temptation, false doctrines, and persecution to the point of apostasy (see Galatians 1:6; 3:1; and 5:4). Peter's epistles reveal that through time many of the saints had lost their way in righteousness. Some were clinging by a thread to their faith as they were being dispersed throughout the country because of their lifestyles and relationship with God (1 Peter 4:4, 12). Peter's admonition is that they hold on to their holiness because God is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16).
The dispersed Christians were facing many obstacles that stood in their way of salvation. Peter tells us of their temptation to return to their old ways of living due to the sin all around them (1 Peter 1:14 and 2:11). Secondly, they were being persecuted for their faith (1 Peter 2:18-20 and 4:13- 14). Thirdly, the Christians were suffering grief at the hands of God by way of fiery test for their perfection (1 Peter 1:6-7). Later, the Apostle Peter will also reveal that the saints were falling prey to false doctrines and teachers of error (2 Peter 2:1ff). Many had fallen prey to these issues of grief just as Zechariah had foretold (see Zechariah 13:8-9). The Apostle John speaks of the flood of wickedness brought upon the world of men by Satan to cause them to lose their souls to hell (see Revelation 12:1517 and 1 Peter 5:8). This is the world that we are born into (Psalm 51:5).
Peter's objective is to cause the saints to see what was at stake. Those that rise above the various grieving ordeals of this life shall be crowned eternally as royalty with God (see 1 Peter 5:4-6 and Revelation 2:10). Those; however, who fall to temptation, persecution, and or false doctrines having nothing but judgment (1 Peter 4:17-18).
The secret to success against the devil's flood of wickedness is to have the mind of Christ (1 Peter 4:1). Christ was committed to serving and submitting to the will of God (1 Peter 2:23). The Christian, though wrongfully treated, must also learn subjection. We are to be subject to the laws of God in obedience just as Jesus was (see 1 Peter 1:1, 14, and 22). Christians are admonished to be subject to the higher powers of government (1 Peter 2:13), masters (1 Peter 2:18), husbands (1 Peter 3:1), and elders in the body of Christ (1 Peter 5:5). Voluntary subjection to those in positions of authority leads to a mind of obedience rather than rebellion. The meek are just like Christ in that they are committed to being compliant with all God's will and those in authority over them.
We too live in a world of ungodliness where we are tempted by fleshly lust. We are bombarded with a flood of wickedness all around us. Peter reminds God's saints that they are his elect people and he will guard them through all life's troubles (see 1 Peter 1:1, 5; 2:9, and 10). The Lord is our rock and shield today. He provides us shelter and sustenance through his divine revelation. We will not fail so long as we remain faithful to him and trust in his promises (see Romans 8:31ff). If others, who have suffered the same things, have succeeded then certainly we can with the help Of God (1 Peter 5:9).
John C Robertson