DEFENDING THE FAITH
Friday, 28 June 2019
1 Peter 3 : 8-22
“… 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 the present world where media has captured the hearts and minds of people, the Christian world view and the claims of the Bible are coming under scathing attacks. Hence defending the Christian faith is a solemn duty entrusted to all believers. In our key verse today, Peter urges us to defend and underlines certain qualifications for engaging in such defense. The Greek word for defense- “apologia” means giving a defense of what one believes to be true. In Jude 1:3, believers are instructed “to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints” at the same time, avoiding foolish and ignorant disputes (2 Tim. 2:23). That takes us to certain requirements provided in today’s reading, while defending the Christian faith.
Our key verse poses certain questions: Who are qualified to defend, What to defend and How to defend?
Who are to defend?
Peter first admonishes us to “sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts.” Our hearts need to be committed to Jesus Christ. Any defense that is not Christ-centered will end up in a quarrel. Committing our hearts to Jesus implies to surrender our every faculty to the authority of Jesus Christ. A Christ-centered heart will be controlled by the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit will give us the words to speak, when we present the members of our body as instruments of righteousness (Rom.6:13). Peter makes a bold statement in Acts in 3:12 & Acts 5:32 that the disciples of Jesus are witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus! They who had seen the resurrected Jesus, could state that fact. But how about us who live centuries after the historical event of the resurrection of Jesus? Jesus told His disciples in Acts 1:8 “you will be my Witnesses!” meaning, His disciples of all centuries will bear witness to the saving power of Jesus Christ. They will prove to the world through their changed lives, that the resurrected Christ can save anybody and that “the power of His resurrection” (Phil.3:10) is sufficient to break the bondage of sin and past life!
What to defend?
Peter says to give a defense to “everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you.” What is this hope? It is nothing but “Christ in you, the hope of glory!” (Col.1:27) Do we experience the presence of Jesus in our hearts through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit? 1Timothy 1:15 states: “it is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” and then Paul adds “among whom I am foremost of all.” That is the key! Paul was not simply stating something for the sake of it, but was proving the authenticity of his statement through his own life. Those who knew Paul could easily endorse what he stated!
The life of each believer is anchored on the saving power of Jesus Christ, His enabling power to live a committed life throughout one’s lifetime and the blessed hope of Him coming again to take us to heaven. This is what we need to defend: The bodily presence of Jesus Christ on this earth, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, which are historical facts and the culmination of world events as stated in the Bible pointing to the second coming of Jesus Christ!
How to defend?
We are instructed to defend with “gentleness and reverence.” Gentleness here means meekness. Meekness is not weakness! Moses and Jesus were meek, but they were not weak people. We need to be focused and firm but need not be arrogant and rude! Remember our aim is to win people for Christ, not drive them away from Him!
Will this world find in our changed lives, the power of Christ? Then the defense of our faith will be validated before them!”
To Act on:
“Live wisely among those who are not believers,
and make the most of every opportunity.”
Colossians 4:5 [NLT]
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