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1 Peter 3:1316; 4:12 comment (1)

July 31, 2014

By Kenneth B.E. Roxburgh, Ph.D.

Related Scripture: 1 Peter 3:1316; 4:12

Bible Studies for Life
Chair and Armstrong Professor of Religion, Samford University

Ready Faith 

1 Peter 3:13–16; 4:1–2

When Lord Baden Powell, the founder of the Boy Scouts movement, died, the inscription of his tombstone was very simple. 

It gave his name, date of birth and death and little else. It had one curious symbol engraved on it. It was a tracking sign, one of the many he had used to teach boys to find their way through the countryside by means of signs that were left behind to guide them. The final sign was the one that he had on his tombstone — a circle with a curious dot in the middle, which simply means “gone home.”

The hope of heaven for the Christian is not merely “pie in the sky when you die” but is the controlling perspective of the people of God as they live in a world of suffering and sin. Our eternal perspective brings an impetus to the way we live in this world for Christ.

Ready Faith Looks Beyond This World for Its Reward (3:13–14)

Those who anticipate eternity will be better prepared to face difficulties in this life, especially if they come as a result of our Christian commitment. Rather than complain about life’s circumstances, disciples of Jesus are “eager to do what is good.” When the world seeks to “do harm” to us we seek to “do good” in return. In such circumstances we are encouraged not to be fearful; either of what people will do to us or that such antagonism can be ultimately detrimental to our faith. Indeed we should consider ourselves “blessed.” Peter seems to be echoing the word of Jesus, “blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

 Instead of being fearful of other people, revere Christ as Lord in your hearts. In biblical language, the heart was the seat of both our volition and our emotions. We are called to love God with our mind, our will and our deepest emotions. This alone will enable us to endure suffering and be witnesses for Christ.

Ready Faith Demonstrates the Reality of Our Hope (3:15–16)

Faithfulness in suffering brings with it an opportunity to turn the tables on the evil one and to focus the attention of our opponents on Christ Himself. When our Christian conduct arouses the interest and curiosity of other people we are to be ready to give an account of our hope, to speak to others of the difference Christ made in our lives and why we live not merely for this world but for the future hope of heaven.

 The witness we offer must not be characterized by arrogance but gentleness. It is sometimes tempting to match the arrogance of atheists with a similar arrogance. Such an attitude is counterproductive. Our witness to Christ should be offered in a gentle spirit with respect for the struggles of the person we are speaking to as well as reverence to our Lord whose love for the lost is profound. Everything we do should be in tune with the attitude of Christ. 

Ready Faith Allows Christ to Shine Through Our Lives (4:1–2)

Our lives and our witness should have the same intention and insight as Christ. The example of Jesus indicates that we must be willing to experience the cost of discipleship, of facing opposition as our Lord did and in this demonstrate we have “finished with sin” in the sense that we have turned our backs on an ungodly life to live a life like Him. 

In this way and in this way alone will the beauty of Jesus be seen in and through our lives. 

Earthly human desires are often counterproductive to holiness, but when we live our lives in tune and in sync with God’s will as revealed in the Scriptures then we will make an impact in our witness before others.

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Comment (1)

    Brian Westley 8/22/2014 10:13 PM

    "It is sometimes tempting to match the arrogance of atheists with a similar arrogance"

    I find it pretty arrogant to tar an entire segment of the population as "arrogant."

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