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Always Be Ready

As Christians we always need to be ready to defend our faith. Why? Because in so many places today we find it under attack and needing defending from all faithful followers of Jesus.

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English bishop and third son of William Wilberforce, Samuel Wilberforce (1805–1873), once said that lordship of Christ could be defined in four words: admit, submit, commit, and transmit. What he is saying is that we must admit our sin and need of a savior; we must forsake sin and submit our lives to Christ as Lord; we must commit our way to the Lord day by day; and we must transmit or share His love and goodness with others. The apostle Peter, in 1 Peter 3:15, helps us see to the importance of transmitting.

He wrote, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.”

First, he tells us to sanctify ourselves. Listen carefully, our Christian faith makes no sense nor does Christian lifestyle ever work until and unless we “set apart” our lives to allow Jesus Christ to be Lord. Believe me, far too many people who profess to be Christians don’t live with the joy or freedom Christ came to give them. It’s sad, but true. The fact is, if people don’t see a difference in your or my life because of Jesus, then why would they even ask us about Him? Why would they care if we were as down and depressed and unhappy as they are?

So, we need to live a lifestyle fully focused on Jesus. Then, they will ask questions and wonder why we’re different. It is at that point we need to be prepared.

He then tells us to “always be ready to give a defense.” Two important words—always and defense. In the Greek, always means always! Not just whenever we feel like it. The word “defense” is apología from which we get our English word apologetics. Paul used this word when he made his defense before the Jews in Jerusalem (Acts 22:1) and when he made his defense to King Agrippa (Acts 25:16). To give an apologı́a means simply to give reasons or a rationale for what you believe or for what you are communicating through your lifestyle.

Peter’s “reason for hope,” comes from our lifestyle. People see how differently we live with Christ in our heart and a reason for hope in a turned upside down world. Of course this assumes we are living a life of victory and hope.

Then he says with “meekness and fear.” We don’t go blasting and condemning people. Far from it. We approach them with humility and reverence (that’s the meaning of fear in this verse). We confidently and humbly speak God’s Truth in love and respect.

R.C. Sproul wrote about these verses in 1Peter, “Defending our faith to the best of our ability is not a luxury or an indulgence in intellectual vanity. It is the task given to each one of us as we bear witness to our faith before the world.”[1]

Friends, we must always be ready to give a defense. Every follower of Jesus needs to be able not just to understand but also to articulate the hope of Jesus that is within him or her.

[1] R. C. Sproul, Defending Your Faith: An Introduction to Apologetics, (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, 2003), 9

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