By Clifton Angel
"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" (1 Peter 3:15, KJV). This passage is often quoted to encourage memorization of Scripture and the knowledge of God's Word. While these are very important, and the principle may be present in the passage, the context provides a very different meaning. 1 Peter 3:15 is not about memorizing Scripture. It's about making sure that Jesus is our true Lord and Master.
You see, the Christian's hope is not in self-expression. The Christian's hope is not in equal opportunity. The Christian's hope is not in freedom of choice. The Christian's hope is not in governmental recognition. The Christian's hope is not in governmental protection from the mentally disturbed, confused, and perverted. The Christian's hope is not in a safe or nondiscriminatory bathroom environment. The Christian's hope is not even in physical life. For, our "hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness!" At least, that's what we sing.
And so, we are to tell others where our hope lies, and we are to do it with meekness and reverence for God. Let us not be deceived by the media, and the world, into a response that is ﬁlled with wrath and fright.
“But sanctify in your hearts Christ as Lord: being ready always to give answer to every man that asketh you a reason concerning the hope that is in you, yet with meekness and fear: having a good conscience; that, wherein ye are spoken against, they may be put to shame who revile your good manner of life in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God should so will, that ye suffer for well-doing than for evil-doing. Because Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God; being put to death in the ﬂesh, but made alive in the spirit.” (1 Peter 3:15-18, ASV).
"And be not afraid of them that kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28, ASV).
- Clifton Angel preaches for the Coldwater Church of Christ in Coldwater, MS. He may be contacted through that congregation's website.