The Centrality Of The Cross In 1 Peter
The subject of the cross is central to the structure of all four Gospels. Everything is arranged to lead up to this climax. They are Gospels, good news of what God has done in Christ to bring about our salvation. The way that the Gospels are put together shows that the means of our salvation is the cross.
The cross is also central to the apostolic commission to “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation” (Mk. 16:15). Scripture assures us that “13 everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” But that raises the question, “14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent?” (Rom. 10:13-15). Preaching the gospel is the means of making known God’s provision by which people can be saved. The gospel does not ask us to save ourselves: it does not tell us to do something that will save us. Rather, it says that it is done. The cross event is what saves us; that is why Peter glories in it and why he preached it.
Peter’s first epistle focuses on suffering as a Christian. He addresses this topic in the context of the foundation of Christian salvation, the future of Christian hope, and how that all plays out in the Christian life. The purpose of the epistle is to encourage his readers, who were experiencing dire suffering for being Christians, and to stimulate the growth of their trust in God and their obedience to him despite their circumstances. Peter points to what God has done for them in Christ and applies that to their lives in their present situation. Thus, the three main themes of the epistle are: (1) Suffering as a Christian; (2) Trusting God; and (3) Doing good.
The basis for being able to sustain unjust suffering as a Christian is our salvation. Thus, the cross is central to this epistle. Even in suffering, Christians can and should praise God because of our salvation in Christ – (1) a salvation that grants us the reality of a living hope, (2) a salvation that guarantees us the reward of an eternal inheritance, (3) a salvation that generates in us the results of genuine faith.
Related Topics: Christian Life