Do Not Fear: Christ is our Hope
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. – 1 Peter 3:15-16
As believers in a world that is increasingly more and more secular and postmodern, there are many of us that find ourselves faced with questions about what we believe. People might wonder how we have assurance of what we believe to be true in the Word of God. They might ask us why we insist on the fact that Jesus is the only Way to eternal life in heaven. The questions might even be simpler. Why do we act differently than non-Christians? By some, our confidence in what we believe could easily be perceived as arrogance or pride.
Here in 1 Peter, we read that we will face these questions. This is guaranteed both in Scripture and in our own experience. As we face these questions, we must be ready and able to give an answer, clearly laying out the reason for the hope we have. This may sound like a daunting task. How does one succinctly put together the reason for the hope we have as believers? The answer lies in the preceding sentence. “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord.” Jesus Christ is the reason for the hope we have. Jesus IS the hope we have. We are not believers because someone argued us into belief in the Bible. We are not believers because of the great oratory skill of a preacher. Although the Bible and preaching are used often by God, we are believers because we have personally encountered the hope of the good news of the Gospel.
So we do not fear, because the answer we give to questions that are asked of us are not our own answers. We have assurance that the Word of God is true because Christ is living in us. We know that Jesus is the only way to the Father because that Way has been unified with all believers.
As we bear witness to Jesus, we do so with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience. This is so that those who hear with open hearts can hear and see the way in which this Jesus that we bear witness to has intimately changed us. Dualistically, it is also so that those who do not hear the good news in the proclamation of Christ are not justified in any ways in which they speak ill of our joyful proclamation. As we remain above reproach despite slander, people will see that the charges they bring against us are untrue, bringing even more credibility to the words we speak, and more glory to Christ. Bearing witness to the name of Jesus carries with it no weaknesses or plot-holes. Therefore, we do not fear the questions and judgments of others, because Christ is our Hope.
Action Step: Read Matthew 5:13-16. What does it look like in your life to let your light shine before others? Ask yourself, “As an ambassador of Jesus, how can I better remain above reproach in my conduct and words so as to better bear witness to Him?”