New Years 2016 Message
Peter knew it was a good thing for Christ's disciples to call God "Father." He had been right there when Jesus instructed His disciples to do so. What does seem strange to us is the way Peter links calling God "Father" with walking before Him in fear - "....If you call on Him as Father....conduct yourselves with fear...."(17). One would think knowing God as Father through Christ's redeeming work would remove fear in our relationship with God.
He's not talking to the godless here. He's specifically addressing those who are close to God - close enough to know Him as their heavenly Father. These people especially should live their lives here on earth - thats the time of their "exile" (ESV), or their "stay" (NIV), or their "sojourn" (KJV) - their time here on earth as refugees - these people should live here on earth not avoiding fear, but cultivating it. There is something about their short time here on earth ("sojourn" or "stay") that requires those who call God "Father" to live before Him in fear. They won't have to do this is heaven. But it's very important that they do so now.