But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect 1 Peter 3:14–15
As I have been teaching through 1 Peter once again, I am seeing a much greater depth and richness in the text than I have ever seen before. It has been amazing to see how Peter was indeed the preacher of hope to those in his time which he called the “elect exiles”. I have been deeply encouraged by Peter to wake up and be sober minded, seeking to see myself and world as God does and have gained great hope in a time when it is needed.
I have used these verses in 1 Peter 3 wrongly in the past as I have used them to show our need to know the Gospel and have a right theology. That is all very true and incredibly important, but it is not the point of this text. Instead of being prepared with right words, Peter is telling us to be prepared with hope. We can clearly see this when reading these verses in the proper context which is the suffering of Christians in the first century who desperately needed hope.
How do you build hope?
Hope is not something you can simply fabricate or muster up by sheer will power, it is a direct product of what we believe to be true. There is no shortcut around this, it is built into our nature to have hope based on what we believe. Knowing that to be true, Peter gives us this amazing statement that is meant to build our hope – “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy”
It is easy to move quickly past that phrase, but it is the very cure for dwindling hope. To honor Christ as holy means that we know that Jesus is set apart and has no equal and has no rival. There is nothing and no one that we can compare to Jesus Christ our Lord! Once you start with that truth, allow it to flow down to your present situation and life.
Sin is defeated
Our greatest problem is not government or other people or even cancer. Our greatest problem is our sin which cannot rival Jesus. Jesus, through his perfection has defeated sin and rose again! Our desire to sin is still a problem but it no longer separates us from God. So the easiest and most profound result of honoring Christ as holy is that we know Jesus has overcome the world, sin, and death.
Jesus calls us from dark to light.
We need to be careful about the language we use when speaking of Jesus too casually. Yes Jesus wants us to draw near and made us sons and daughters of God and removed the barrier that we might approach the throne with confidence but at the same time, Jesus is holy and is dealing with our sin. When I honor Christ as holy and realize that my desire for sin has no place with Jesus I am given hope knowing that I am being sanctified and although it may be painful along the way, I have an ensured inheritance that is never defiled or lost. It also makes me want to be with Jesus more and more, do step into the beautiful ight of His presence, today and every day after. This is an eternal perspective that builds hope.
There are many more hope building benefits from honoring Christ as holy. Start by stepping outside of your self and consider what it means for Jesus to be a holy and righteous King and then consider what that means for you and your situation.
I am looking forward to continuing our study in 1 Peter and placing my hope more and more in Jesus and less on myself or others. Want to join us? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org