1 Peter: An Apologetic For Resident Aliens 3:8-17
1 Peter 3:8-17: Suffer For Righteousness Sake
“8Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.9Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.10For“Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; 11let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. 12For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 13Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good?14But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled,15but in your hearts regard 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;16yet 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.17For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil.”
Here is a passionate plea from Peter to live a life that is set apart by brotherly love and tenderness, no matter what your circumstances may be. He once again exhorts us to live outside of our own rights for the sake of others, and to place our own desires for revenge aside for the sake of the gospel. When we are reviled, be like Christ and do not revile in return but continue to seek peace, and live in love with one another. And then, as you are set apart in Christ, you will be able to give a defense for the hope that is in you. The word “defense” here is from the word apologia in the Greek. It is where we get our word “apologetics”, which refers to a defense of the faith. I believe that we can and should “defend” the faith, but that defense is best done when our life is set apart for Jesus. Apologetics has become a rational argument for the faith, while the biggest problem for many in or western culture is seeing hypocrisy and lack of love coming from the church. Our suffering should result from the gospel, and not the many obstacles and barriers that the church constructs culturally.
- How can we have a “unity of mind?”
- How does humility help create a unity?
- What makes one righteous or evil in this passage?
- How can we “regard Christ the Lord as holy?”
- How is our life a defense of the faith?