8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.
The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), 1 Pe 3:8.
Peter is instructing those reading this letter on what being a Christian looks like. This is important to us here and now but was of upmost importance for the early church. As the disciples and Paul were starting to see followers of Jesus coming from multiple different countries and backgrounds they were confronted multiple different social levels, educations, backgrounds, cultures, etc that people were coming together with. It created problems on what it meant to be a Christian, what Christian worship looked like but also what Christian community looked like.
Some of the Jewish Christians believed that the full Jewish believe system needed to be adopted to follow Jesus since they did not see following Jesus as a deviation from their Jewish faith but a fulfillment, thus why wouldn’t the full believe system be applicable to new followers of Jesus no matter where they were from.
The argument progressed from being Jewish to being a follower of Jesus. Not that being Jewish as a problem, more that not being Jewish wasn’t a problem. The focus went from the Jewish religion to Jesus who was interacting within the Jewish religion. It wasn’t a one or the other but they wrestled with how can it be both.
Part of the answer is describing what it looks like to be a follower of Jesus. Peter is describing traits that Paul would agree with whether as fruit of the Spirit or as evidencing the Love of God. The focus while is on traits that people are displaying, we see the importance of relationship and changing the dynamics of relationships that would have people stopping to take notice of the difference not just in the followers but in what is required by God.
This then raises the standard for us today, it is not just ourselves that we are representing, it is also God. We are not just showing how us as followers are different but how our God is different and treats His people differently, with love, grace, and forgiveness. May we live it out for all to see the greatness of our God.