How are you? How is your week going? How has your conduct been? Have you defended the faith lately?
At the Gospel Coalition last year, I attended a prayer meeting for China. At that point, the pastors, officers, and members of a faithful, biblical, and reformed church were being persecuted for their faith. They lost their jobs, possessions, and relationships. The government imprisoned and beat them for their faith.
We saw Peter talking about this in our passage this past Sunday. We are called to live lives with honorable conduct. When we do, the world will be blessed. But even if we live honorably and faithfully in Christ, that does not mean our lives will be comfortable and happy.
Peter talks about how we may be persecuted for our faith. We may experience hardship. We may experience ridicule and humiliation. We may even experience the loss of all things. When that happens, can we still be faithful to the Lord? Can we still love our neighbor?
And when that happens, Peter calls us to always be prepared to give a defense for the reason for the hope that is in us. This means that they will see that we live by a different hope from the world. They will see that this hope sustains us and frees us even in the midst of wrongful persecution.
And when they see, they will ask us about this hope. To always be prepared means for us to prepare always. Read the Word. Pray. Cultivate your relationship with Christ. Research. Inquire. Ask the hard questions. Wrestle with the Lord.
Can we defend our hope? Even before that step, can we express our hope? Is it real for us? Have we internalized the truth of God’s word? Jesus defended the faith with the Word of God. Do we know it? Is it our hope and joy?
The only way we can do this is through Christ. Christ lived righteously and was persecuted wrongfully. We follow Him as an example.
Not only that, we follow Him as the firstfruit. We know that the story did not end with His death, but it ended with His resurrection from the dead. That is our final destination, and this gives us the living hope that Peter is talking about in this letter.
Not only is Jesus our example. Not only is Jesus our firstfruit. But Jesus is the power through which we can do all these things. How?
Jesus did all these things for us. It was first for the glory of God. But it was also for us. He lived righteously so that we may be clothed with His robes of righteousness. He was humiliated for our shame. He was crucified for our sins.
And here’s the best part. It was for¬†our defense. And this defense is sure for all eternity. When we get lawyers to defend us today, we aren’t sure what the jury or judge will decide.
When Christ is defending us with His own righteousness and blood, we know that His defense is insurmountable. It will be enough, and it will last for all eternity.
Because of this grace and love, we are able to live righteously, even if it means suffering. We are able to defend the faith, because He first defended us.
Take a moment this week and reflect on this truth. Reflect on Christ. Meditate on His work for our defense. Not only that, think of ways you can live righteously and be bold about your faith.
Hope to see you this weekend for its many events. See you on Sunday for Christmas Sunday Worship!
In Christ,
Pastor Tim
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