Always Being Prepared

1 Peter 3:13-14 ESV

“Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed.”

The word “good” here is not to be defined by human beings, for what we might call “good” might be evil in God’s sight. This word “good” (agathos), “as to the believer, describes what originates from God and is empowered by Him in their life, through faith” (1).

So, this “good” has to do with what is of God, and it has to do with the righteousness that is of God, too. So, if we are, thus, zealous (passionate) for what is good, it means we are zealous for what is of God, and for doing the will of God, and for doing what pleases God.

So, what pleases God? It is that we surrender our lives to him, that we turn away from our former lives of living for sin and self, that we be changed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God, and that we now walk in holiness and in purity of devotion to our Lord (Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24).

And, when we do that, we are going to be hated and rejected by others. We are going to be persecuted for righteousness’ sake, especially if we are sharing the truth of the gospel with others, and if we are confronting the lies and exposing them for what they are.

For sin hates righteousness. The flesh is at war with the Spirit. So, those who are walking in sin, in the flesh, and in unrighteousness are not going to be happy with us who are living for the Lord, and who are exposing and calling out sin, and who are calling for repentance.

But we will be blessed, i.e. we will be happy, and we will derive benefit from the persecution, because we are suffering for the sake of the name of Jesus’, and because God is conforming us to his likeness, and he is using us to spread his gospel so that many will be saved.

1 Peter 3:14-17 ESV

“Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.”

A Good Conscience

So, we are not to be afraid of suffering for the sake of the gospel and for the sake of the name of Jesus, especially since God is using it for good in our lives and in the lives of others who he wants to reach with the message of his salvation.

We are not to cave to intimidation or to change what we are doing out of fear of retaliation if what we are doing is the will of God. But we are to keep pressing on in our walks of faith in doing what God has called us to do in the sharing of his gospel.

We should always be prepared to give a well-reasoned defense of the gospel of our salvation to anyone who asks us the reason for the hope that is in us, or who needs (of necessity) that they hear the reasoned (sound in doctrine) defense, whether they articulate that need or not.

But we are not to do this with our own intellect and reasoning, but in the power and wisdom of God’s Spirit, as led of the Spirit of God in what to say and in how to say it. Thus, “gentleness” does not mean weakness or backing down from the truth so as not to offend people.

Gentleness is controlled strength, and that control comes from the Spirit of God so that we are not overly harsh nor are we weak and timid about telling people the truth they need to hear. And, respect is also not compromising our faith or the truth to spare people’s feelings.

If we speak the truth in love to other people, in the power and wisdom of God’s Spirit, then our consciences are clear when others accuse us falsely of being hateful, prideful, self-righteous, hyper-religious, or intolerant, etc., or when they invent lies about us to try to tear us down.

A Well-Reasoned Defense

The vast majority of today’s institutional (state) church is teaching a diluted gospel message. They have altered the gospel message to make it more appealing and acceptable to human flesh. For, they are more concerned about doing something to offend people than they care about their salvation.

Instead of putting sin, the flesh, and self to death, they are putting Christ, his truth, and his righteousness to death. Instead of rejecting the lies, they are rejecting the truth. For they don’t want to hinder the flesh, but they are okay with quenching the Spirit of God.

So, what they are basically doing is that they are promising people freedom while they leave them still in slavery to sin. They promise them a relationship with Christ while they are still in relationship with the flesh and with the devil. And, they promise them eternal life with God while they are sending them straight to hell.

For, Jesus said if we want to come after him we must deny self and take up our cross daily (die daily to sin) and follow (obey) him. For, if we hold on to our old lives, we will lose them for eternity. But if we lose our lives (die with Christ to sin), for the sake of the name of Jesus, we will have eternal life (Lu 9:23-26; cf. 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6).

Paul reiterated the same message when he taught that we must walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh, and that we must die to sin and walk in obedience to our Lord if we want to have eternal life with God and be saved from our sins (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17).

So, we need to reject the lies which tell us we can be saved, be bound for heaven, and still live in sin. And, we must embrace the truth which tells us we must die with Christ to sin and live with Christ to his righteousness if we want to have salvation from sin and eternal life with God.

For, we are all going to reap what we sow. If we sow to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction (decay, death). But if we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life (Gal 6:7-8; cf. Rom 2:6-8; 2 Co 5:10).

For Our Nation

An Original Work / September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: we’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.

(1) https://biblehub.com/greek/18.htm

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