Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Peter wrote this epistle to Christians living in Rome and throughout the empire. It was written during a period of escalating persecution. The time period is shortly after the burning of Rome. Many of the citizens had blamed their emperor Nero for setting the blaze. The blaze wiped out a large portion of the city, taking with it the livelihoods and idols of most of the people. Nero had an insatiable appetite for building, and many believed he started the blaze to clear the way for new construction. However, because of the severity of the destruction and the enormous backlash from the people. Nero quickly blamed the Christians who were already disliked because of their religion and association with the Jewish people. These accusations brought severe persecution against believers and Peter had penned this letter in order to strengthen their faith in the Lord.
Peter has just reminded his readers of the inheritance awaiting them in heaven and is now touching on living faithfully before God. Peter uses the metaphor of girding up one’s loins, which was an ancient practice of gathering up one’s robes, in preparation for moving quickly or running. This was one of the first actions taken as one entered a state of alertness and preparation for action. Peter uses the metaphor here for being mentally prepared for those attacks, we know will come from our enemy the devil. Attacks meant to weaken or destroy our faith in Christ and keep us from focusing on the glory that awaits us when we meet Jesus face to face. Peter also uses the idea of sober mindedness which carries the meaning of being steadfast in our faith, along with mental clarity and moral decisiveness based on God’s moral law, fully placing our trust in Jesus. We are to focus on the surety of our hope and the future time of our glorification when we go home to be with Christ.