In this section, Peter once again returns to the main theme of this letter, namely to encourage suffering believers to endure trials with patience, looking to Christ for their example and motivation; this patient endurance under trial would cause their persecutors to “.. see [their] good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:12). Their goal is not only to keep from sinning under trial, but also to see their persecutors saved. Hence the exhortation in 3:15 “.. always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.”
In verses 12-16, Peter lovingly exhorts them not to be surprised at the fiery trials that they are facing, but to rejoice instead; and he proceeds to give them 5 reasons why they/we should rejoice in suffering for Christ.
(v.12) Trials are part of God’s plan to strengthen our faith (v.12). Peter had already mentioned this in 1:6-7, where he said: “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith- more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire…” As gold is refined from its impurities by fire, the same way our faith is tested and purified by trials. True faith will grow and become stronger, while shallow, temporary faith will fail. These trials are not designed for our destruction, but for our growth in grace…
May the Lord help us, by His grace, not to be surprised when persecution comes; but rather to rejoice that we are counted worthy to suffer shame for our blessed Lord.