1 Peter 3:14-16: Do Not Fear – Part IX
Tuesday, January 3, 2017
Peter knows that the newness of the kingdom is more than the world can bear. Peter also knows that the faithful in this kingdom will experience trials. And so Peter animates Jesus’ followers, both his contemporaries and those of every age.
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, 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; 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. (NASB)
Peter tells us that the terror of persecution becomes joy when we remember that the power of Christ.
But even if you should suffer for doing what is right, how happy you are! Do not be afraid of anyone, and do not worry. But have reverence for Christ in your hearts, and honor him as Lord. Be ready at all times to answer anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you, but do it with gentleness and respect. Keep your conscience clear, so that when you are insulted, those who speak evil of your good conduct as followers of Christ will become ashamed of what they say. (GNT)
Peter reminds us that we are not alone, and that we need not seek revenge.
If with heart and soul you’re doing good, do you think you can be stopped? Even if you suffer for it, you’re still better off. Don’t give the opposition a second thought. Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy. Keep a clear conscience before God so that when people throw mud at you, none of it will stick. They’ll end up realizing that they’re the ones who need a bath. It’s better to suffer for doing good, if that’s what God wants, than to be punished for doing bad. That’s what Christ did definitively: suffered because of others’ sins, the Righteous One for the unrighteous ones. He went through it all—was put to death and then made alive—to bring us to God. (MSG)
Peter tells us that when we follow Christ, we are assured of redemption, healing and transformation.
Today, as we remember the gift that Jesus is to the world, we might ask ourselves, “Are we willing to live in such a way that the world knows we place our hope in Christ?”
Throughout Christmastide, we continue to reflect on the hope God’s words bring to us, “Do not fear, do not be troubled, do not give the opposition a second thought”.