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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Barcus & Laura Neal

March 17th, 2024: Defending Our Faith- 1 Peter 3:8-17

Updated: Mar 16

For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16).


I Peter is believed to be written between 60 and 65 AD. It is what most commentaries call a circular letter, meaning this letter would be copied and passed from church to church. 

 The early church was going through much persecution. The faithful were beginning to migrate away as Peter began to write about defending the integrity of their beliefs. Peter started by saying that the church must stay faithful to the gospel, remain obedient to the Holy Spirit, and focus on having the mind of Christ, especially in the midst of their troubles.  As in our time, defending the faith requires more than just words.  It requires one to think like Christ, having the same mission as He does, and having the confidence to trust in His word. Our relationship with God will require us to bring ourselves under the authority of Jesus.  Peter’s letter encourages all believers to stay the course, to diligently study the word, and to grow in their faith. Even in difficulties, it is the goal to count all things as blessed opportunities to represent Jesus Christ and demonstrate the truth of the gospel in every aspect of our lives.   


Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:


The early church was receiving trouble and hardship from all sides.  Peter reminded the believers (Jews and Gentiles) that they are one.  Being one doesn’t mean that they are all the same, but they are all under the authority of the same God. To overcome the adversities of the world, they must have compassion, kindness, and gentleness.  Fruits Of the spirit are  produced alongside their repentance.  They would demonstrate faith and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. (John 13:34-35).


Paul uses these same thoughts to encourage his readers as well. There is one body of believers. There is one Lord, one church, and one bride of Christ. Growing in faith begins with loving God and produces a love for those around you.   Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22: 36-40).

 

Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.


 Some believe turning the other cheek is a sign of great weakness. A follower of Jesus should think differently. The truth is that maintaining control of one's emotions and integrity in the face of evil, while showing love and consideration for those that despitefully use us, takes an ENORMOUS amount of strength and integrity.  We represent Christ. Christ, who let them pull his beard out of his face, was kicked, mocked, scourged, and crucified.  And why? Jesus suffered willingly in order to bring us healing and reconciliation with God. He sacrificed himself for the highest prize, the redemption of mankind. He took all of the mistreatment without complaint in order to rescue us from a place called Hell! When we act less like the world and more like Jesus - we become part of the rescue story. It will take some strength, determination, and power from the Holy Spirit.  What is the blessing Peter mentions?  Not just a home in heaven but also goodness here on earth that comes from being of one mind with Christ! 


For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.


 Peter writes that if one wants to have good days, we should stop complaining.  Be thankful; find something good to say.  Face adversity with graciousness.  It is easy to be kind to those that are kind to you. The true test of your faith is how you act when provoked, when treated poorly or when you encounter someone that is just plain mean.  Peter says we must “seek peace and ensue it.” Ensue is a word that speaks to results.  We seek peace and the results of peace- reconciliation.   In other words our actions will show our heart- when we deny our natural inclinations and pursue the heart of Jesus the hearts of those around us begin to change. 


A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.(Luke 6:45) 

For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?


Our God never sleeps or slumbers. His strength is not diminished.  He doesn’t forget to watch over us and He does not have respect of persons.  He is attentive to our needs.  He hears when we call out to Him.  He knows what we need before we ask.  God sees the evil done around us and to us. It is the same today as it was then, this is nothing new.  The world is not thinking of how to better you or I. They are heady and high minded looking for what pleases and benefits them, the church is commanded to be the opposite.  Peter reminds us all that evil doers can only go so far. They won’t win in the end.  Paul said it like this: What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:34). We pursue peace by learning to be temperate and develop self control.  Peter is also quoting David: What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good? Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry. The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. (Psalm 34: 12-16).


But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:


So what good is all this withholding of our fleshly tendencies and inclinations?  It glorifies God.  Be ready to give an answer for the reason you are not in despair.  Why do you believe God? It is because He is faithful, and because He has not asked us to do anything that He hasn’t done Himself, through His son Jesus.  Answer without condemnation and accusations but with gratitude and adoration for the Savior.  Answer in meekness and reverence to God as well as in love for the lost person asking. Know that how we respond to the good and the bad in our lives defines who and what we actually believe.


  •  Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die. But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips. (Job 2:9-10).

  •  If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: (2 Timothy 2:12).

  • And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. (Luke 9:23).

  • But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5: 22-26).

  • My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (James 1:2-5).

  •  And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainty; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. (1 Corinthians 9: 25-27).

Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.


Will they speak evil of you?  Sometimes.  Peter is reminding Christians, that it is better to suffer for doing the right thing than to suffer because of a sinful reputation.    Notice Peter says “that  they may be ashamed of their false accusations about our conversations in Christ.”  Don’t let their accusations be true. Representing Christ takes determination, building up your self-control, and growing in the knowledge of Him and His word. The confidence to stand boldly requires commitment. Being willing to be different will require self-denial for the cause of Christ.  All of this will bring blessings now and a great reward throughout eternity!


Thank you for studying with us! God bless!


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