As Peter continues to exhort believers to persevere he tells them that because of the nature of the gospel, persecution is inevitable. The same rock, Jesus, not only provides the believer with salvation and strength but also causes unbelievers to stumble. The people in the world prefer to reject Christ because He calls them sinners and condemns the life lived according to the desires of the flesh. They hate the gospel because it tells them that salvation and peace is not obtained by human works, rituals or religion. This is offensive to us human beings because we all like to think we have control over our own lives and destinies.
Those who hate Christ will hate His followers. The people in the world may think they have the upper hand and may mistreat and persecute us, but we are the fortunate ones: we have been blessed by God’s mercy. Yet Peter cautions his audience to always act in godliness towards those who persecute them. This is what Jesus did in the face of those who persecuted and killed Him. Believers are called to behave with kindness, compassion and goodness to their neighbors despite how they are treated in return. This shows them the glory and love of God and will lead many to Him as was often the case under Roman persecution. Pagans were so impressed by the faithfulness and love of Christians that many became believers. It still works the same way.
Peter also urged Christians to respect and obey the government even if it acts with injustice towards them and treats them unfairly. Peter tells the believers that by doing good they show their persecutors that the bad things they say about Christians are unfounded. It is better to suffer because we do not deserve it, for if we sin by reacting with harshness, anger and/or violence we deserve the punishment the government gives us and the odium our neighbors feel towards us.