|Volume 22 Number 4 April 2020||
In 1 Peter 3:15, we find these words, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” This charge was given from the apostle Peter to Christians of the early church, but it still very much applies to us today. Let us take a close look at what we are charged with doing.
Peter said by inspiration that we must be ready to give an answer. This word “answer” comes from the Greek word apologia, which means a defense. As Christians, we must stand prepared to defend the faith we hold so dear. This preparation, however, will not come without effort on our part. We must study God’s Word (2 Timothy 2:15) in order to be knowledgeable, and we must be knowledgeable in order to capably defend what we believe. Notice also that the text says, “always ready.” This indicates continual preparation and study on the part of the faithful Christian. We might not know every single answer to every single question, but we stand ready to find the answers for every man who would ask.
Our disposition is the manner in which we are to give an answer. This manner is given in the text. We are to give an answer to others with “meekness and fear.” Meekness means with humility. We should never beat people over the head with the truth, but rather we ought to defend our faith with modesty. There is no room for pride and arrogance in teaching others. We know that those who do not obey the truth will be lost, but we should not be happy about this! We should agonize over their lost state and love them enough to teach them the truth in love. Notice also that we are to give a defense with “meekness,” but also “fear.” Does this mean we need to be fearful of others when we teach them the Gospel? Absolutely not! This fear is a healthy fear for God. We are to reverence Almighty God, realizing we ourselves have imperfections as we strive to teach others a perfect message. The right disposition can make all the difference in trying to teach someone about a loving Savior.
Notice the text says that we are to teach others of the hope that is in us. So, what is the hope that is in us? This is the hope of Heaven (1 Peter 1:3-4). This hope is not a blind leap in the dark, as some make the statement, “I hope I go to Heaven.” This hope is much more than that. This hope is based on evidence. This hope is based on God’s promises to us, and this hope is one of absolute expectation for the faithful Christian. We expect to go to Heaven because God has promised that all faithful Christians will go there. As Christians, we need to be ready always to tell others of this great hope!
To Him Who Overcomes
This phrase, found some eight times in the Book of Revelation, declares so very clearly that the Christian must beat this world and its temptations, if he wants to get to Heaven. It cannot be said too often that we are at war: with the world’s standards (1 John 2:15-17), with the world’s peer pressure (Romans 12:2) and with the world’s god (2 Corinthians 4:3-4). As creatures of flesh as well as spirit, this would seem impossible.
Yet, as Paul said, “Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” (Romans 7:24-25; 1 Corinthians 15:56-58). We can triumph over all these things so that we can have good hope of hearing on the Last Day, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21; Romans 8:31-37; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17).
The answer is simple and, yet, involved. “This is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith” (1 John 5:4). It is also the grace found in the propitiation that covers our sins forever, found in Jesus Christ (1 John 2:1-2). It is also our faithful endurance to the Faith, our consistent obedience at all costs to endure to the end (2 Timothy 4:7-8).
It is not impossible for us. In fact, every Christian has this power to overcome (Acts 2:39-42). However, Heaven and our God must mean everything to us. We must love nothing more than Him.