READY TO DEFEND THE FAITH
When you live for Christ, you will experience difficulty in the world (2 Timothy 3:12). Before Jesus departed from His disciples He warned them, “In this world you will have tribulation.” Sometimes those difficulties may engender hostility from those around you. The Apostle Peter presents a helpful perspective to those facing challenges,
But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED – 1 Peter 3:14
Peter reframes our perspective on suffering and informs us that if you’re living for God and you experience suffering then you are actually blessed. He quotes from the prophet Isaiah and then he gives us the following strategy,
but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence – 1 Peter 3:15
In contrast to fear and intimidation, we are to reverence Christ as Lord in our hearts. The verb tense indicates that this is a command that we are to do at once. The word “Lord” implies that He is our master. The wonderful truth is that when we have a proper fear of God, we fear little else. Who is the Lord of your life?
When we put Christ first in our lives, then we must ensure that we are ready to make a defense of the faith. The word “defense” was a technical term used by lawyers in making a verbal defense. Being ready implies that you are knowledgeable and capable to defend the faith. Do you know how to give a defense of your faith?
It is significant to note that Peter describes our faith as hope. Hope may be described as the feeling that events will turn out for the best. Biblical hope is a confident expectation that our desires will be realized. Our lives should reflect that hope, even in the midst of adversity.
Peter then describes how we are to make our defense – with gentleness and reverence. Our natural inclination may be to respond in anger, but we are to respond with a gracious attitude. The result of keeping a Christ-like attitude is revealed in the next verse,
and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. – 1 Peter 3:16
If you keep your composure when you are reviled, then your conscience is unfettered because you know that your behavior has reflected Christ – you have no regrets for your actions. Those who have attacked you will be put to shame because you have not subordinated yourself to their level of attacks. Our lives are to reflect Christ at all times and we must be able to make a verbal defense for the hope that is within us.