And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? But 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:
The Apostle Paul wrote Romans, a major treatise on the faith of the Christian life. The Apostle John wrote the Gospel of John, and three letters and the mega-theme of his books could be summed up in the concept of love. When we read the letters of Peter, it seems as if one of the things he most often writes about is hope. Faith is a present living with trust and security fixed in God for protection and provision. Love is an outpouring of that belief and security in a sacrificial, serving manner. Hope is the excited anticipation of the fulfillment of God’s promises. According to 1 Peter 1:3-5, we have a hope that is set in “the resurrection of Jesus, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.” When we get to 1 Peter 3:15, Peter first assumes that your hope is not just existent, but that it is ultimately evident to those around you. In this assumption, he pushes you to the next step, to not just have hope exist in your life, but always be ready to explain why you have hope in your life. Your internal security should culminate in an external witness. Here, Peter wants you to take hope to the next step. Just as much as your faith should be a platform for the declaration of the gospel to those around you, and as much as your love should be lived out in actions that bring those around you to Jesus and His Truth, your hope should be evident and should be a medium that with meekness you should be able to communicate to “every man” the Truth of Jesus. And how do those around you see your hope? Verse 14 says that hope will become most pronounced and evident during suffering and affliction. In essence, your reactions to difficulty should be able to produce a witness to those around you of the hope that is in you. So how do you handle hard times? Do tough days bring out the hope that is in you?
Food For Thought: What word is Paul known for? John? Peter? What do each of these terms mean?