The Expository Files

 An Answer for the Hope

1 Peter 3:15-16

In the midst of a passage about enduring persecution in a godly manner, Peter makes this statement: "..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 may be put to shame." (1 Peter 3:15-16)

The early disciples of Christ endured unspeakable persecution for the sake of righteousness but still they had hope and apparently it was obvious to those around them. Peter admonished them to be able to explain to others the reason for their hope in a respectful way.

Nearly 2,000 years later the Holy Spirits' words still ring clearly to the Christian of today.

Let's notice some things about this passage and use them to "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter

First, we should realize that, as believers, we may be asked to explain not only what we believe, but why we believe it. We start by sanctifying Christ as Lord in our hearts. This means that He will rule us completely as Master and His will should be our desire. If Christ is Lord and Master, then we
should have no trouble not only believing His word, but obeying it to the best of our ability.

This leads to our being ready or prepared to answer questions or accusations for our belief in Christ. This implies studying diligently the word of God so that we can have well thought-out, understandable, and accurate replies for the things people want to know. Armed with a solid understanding of the truth, we should have no cause to be ashamed. (2 Tim. 2:15)

Notice that Peter says we should be ready to explain the hope that is in us. He does not tell us to explain a capella singing in worship, our stand on pre-millenialism, or the handling of the money in the church treasury. These things are important and we should be able to explain what we believe on these subjects, but they are not where our hope lies. The Christian's hope lies in the fact that Jesus loved us enough to offer Himself as a sacrifice to God, then defeated death by His glorious resurrection from the dead thereby giving us a confident, reassuring expectation that we, too, will one day rise from our graves to live a never ending life with Him in the very presence of God!

We share this hope, not by grabbing folks by the collar and yelling "Sinner!" in their faces, but rather with a gentle, well-reasoned answer from the Scriptures.

Finally, we put what we believe into practice keeping "a good conscience" (1 Peter 3:16) so that others will see that we live like we actually believe what we say we believe! This means finding real, everyday ways to apply the principles we find in God's word so that when we are belittled for what we believe, they will see a person committed to Christ, no matter what the cost.

How ready are you to give an answer for your hope?

By Zeke Flores
From Expository Files 10.4; April 2003