1 Peter 3:15

Friday, 22 November 2019

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; 1 Peter 3:15

In 1 Peter 2:8, Peter cited Isaiah 8:14. He now returns to Isaiah 8 to quote it again. This time, it is Isaiah 8:13 –

“The Lord of hosts, Him you shall hallow;
Let Him be your fear,
And let Him be your dread.”

Peter, referring to that verse in Isaiah, says, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts.” There is a difference between source texts here. Some say, “But in your hearts sanctify the Christ as Lord.” One can debate which text is better, but it is of note that if this is the true rendering, Peter is equating Christ Jesus as Yehovah Sabaoth, or “the Lord of hosts.”

Despite the disparity, the idea is that we are to sanctify the Lord God (or the Christ) in our hearts. The phrasing used here is unique in the New Testament. Charles Ellicott says it means “to recognise, in word and deed, His full holiness, and therefore to treat Him with due awe.” Such recognition is to be “in your hearts.” In other words, it is to always be in our thoughts, and we are to reason out the glory of God and consider it in all we say and do.

In that state, we will be mentally prepared to then follow through with his next exhortation, which is that we are to “always be ready to give a defense.” The Greek word is apologia, an apology. However, it does not mean to apologize, as in “I’m sorry.” Rather, it signifies a defense, or a reasoned argument, concerning the evidences for our faith in Christ.

In an ancient court, the term meant a legal defense. This is what Peter is now stating we are to do. We are to be ready to make a case, as if a defender of the faith, “to everyone who asks you a reason.”

In other words, there should never be a time when the believer in Christ is not prepared to answer. Whether he is asked by a small child or by the President of the United States. In sanctifying the Lord in our hearts, we will always have Him in mind, and we will be able to readily explain the substance of our faith. This is because they will want to know the “reason for the hope that is in you.”

What is constantly on the mind is what will show forth in the person. When one is sanctifying the Lord in his heart, he will exude thoughts of the Lord in his daily walk. People will see something different about him and want to know what the reason for his remarkable character is. This is the intent of always contemplating what the Lord has done, and the glory of Him who has done it.

The hope in the believer is to radiate out of him in order to then continue to sanctify the Lord in an external manner. From there, the questions will be asked, and at that time the prepared answer of defense is to be provided. But Peter says it is to be so “with meekness and fear.”

Again, there is a slight difference in texts here, some of which include the word translated as “but” – “but with meekness and fear.” This is certainly to be implied, even if not explicitly stated. We are to defend our faith, we are to do so when asked about it, but we are to do it with a sense of glorifying the Lord, not ourselves, in the process.

To be meek is to show humility. There is to be a reverent fear of the Lord in the process, understanding that it is He who saves, but He uses human instruments to convey the message of His salvation. Thus, our fear is to be of God – a fear that we might fail to properly convey the message – and it is to be in fear for the poor soul who will never be saved if our defense is inappropriately conveyed. The high responsibility of conveying the gospel, and in defending it when asked to do so, has been levied upon each believer. How terrible it is to consider that we should fail to properly convey this eternity-changing message.

Life application: There are several verses which are truly imperative to know and remember in Scripture. This is one of them. Take time to go back up, read it, and reflect on it.

Sanctifying the Lord God in one’s heart is an active thing; something we should be doing constantly. If you see a beautiful bird flying in the sky, tell the Lord, “Thank You for allowing me to see this.” If you taste something wonderful, “Thank You Lord! It’s delicious.” If you get thwacked on the head by a rock kicked up by your lawnmower… “Thank You Lord, … that could have been worse.” In all you do, give thanks and praise to the Lord.

Always being ready to give a defense means always. Be ready!

May the Lord, the Lord Jesus be with You as you prepare yourself for stepping out into the great spiritual battlefield which fights against the gospel of salvation.

Heavenly Father, You who gave us Your word to instruct us, we have often not been properly prepared to defend the hope we have within us. Today we ask that You fill us with the hunger and great desire to be ready, at a moment’s notice, to provide the answers necessary for the questions we receive. We ask so that You will be glorified through our faithful answers. Amen.


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