Living righteous and suffering for Jesus Christ
The Apostle Peter starts out in this passage that I will be going over by asking a question, " Who is he that will harm you?" Then he adds if ye be followers of that which is good. Peter sort of switches his tone but it is the same general subject. He writes if we suffer for righteousness' sake happy are we and do not be afraid of their terror, neither be troubled. The Bible says the fear of man is a snare or a trap so no matter how bad our circumstances we should never be scared of people. I am not saying throw out common sense when dealing with troublesome persons but to fear them is foolish.
The Apostle then says sanctify the Lord God in your hearts. When we got redeemed through the shed blood of Jesus Christ we were justified but our primary responsibility after we got saved is to allow the Holy Spirit to sanctify our hearts with His peace. This process can lead into many other avenues of our walk with Jesus Christ such as experiences of love and joy which is not contingent upon our circumstances. We become more knowledgably in the word of God which is the next point that Peter makes by saying always be ready to give an answer to every person that asks us for the reason of the hope that is in us but we are supposed to respond with meekness and fear.
The Apostle Peter then writes about us having a good conscience which we can not fake because I have tried it on my journey in life. We either sincerely do or we do not. Let us go with the positive because if people speak evil of us and call us evildoers then they may be ashamed that they falsely accused us in our good conversation in Jesus Christ (our walk with Him).
The next point Peter makes seems rather obvious but it is still worth mentioning. He says it is better if the will of God be so that we suffer for well doing than for evil doing. Peter then goes back to the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ by writing Jesus Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust that He might bring us to God because He was put to death in the flesh but quickened by the Spirit. If we accepted Jesus Christ in our hearts we were made alive in Him.
The Apostle mentions a past tense fact that Jesus Christ went and preached to the spirits in prison. He gives an example of one of the reasons by writing which sometime were disobedient when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of No'ah while the ark was preparing but only eight souls were saved. Let me quote the original text so you can read the passage and perhaps make reference to it in this particular study of the Bible.
(13) "And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? (14) But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; (15) 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: (16) Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. (17) For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. (18) For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: (19) By which also He went and preached unto the spirits in prison; (20) Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of No'ah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water." 1 Peter 3:13 - 20.
The patient humble behavior of Christians is further encouraged by the Apostle Peter because this is the best and surest way to either prevent or endue suffering. Harmful individuals often times like to make righteous people suffer but this is our glory in the Person of Jesus Christ if we are living holy and obedient before God.
If we are living carnal lives then the ungodly is correct in their assessment of our heart. We would have to come clean and repent to God and other people. It hurts to loose but if we did fail through a transgression true character is necessary if we desire the favor of Jesus Christ. If we are living righteous we as believers in Jesus Christ do not have to fear if they strike us with terror. If they give us rage or force as your enemy continue doing good because it is the best course we can take to keep out of harm's way. Let me repeat myself because if we do suffer for righteousness sake then this is the honor of a Christian. The bottom line is there is no reason to be afraid of a bunch of threats or rage of any of our enemies. We need to keep our focus on Jesus Christ and let Him be the center of our hearts. The Apostle Peter writes instead of terrifying ourselves with the fear of man which is nothing but a snare be sure to sanctify the Lord God in our hearts. It is one or the other so I'm going with the presence of the Holy Spirit in my heart with His peace and His power.
Peter also writes very strong on always being ready to give an answer to every man that asketh a reason of our hope. Of course our hope is in Jesus Christ. I hope that goes without saying because our faith and hope is defensible against all the world. We all have the responsibility of responding for our hope in Jesus Christ who lives in us as true Christians. What if we dropped the ball so to speak when called to give an answer and the person on the receiving end walks straight into hell? This is why the Apostle says this is every believer in Jesus Christ's responsibility. What if that person on the receiving end becomes a born again Christian and shakes the world for Jesus Christ? Oh don't you think you are talking pretty high but I am a personal witness and have actually seen this happen. How would we feel if Jesus Christ showed us in heaven our missed opportunity and people went to hell for all eternity? People need to know that Jesus Christ is real, heaven, hell and living for the true Messiah but we do this with meekness and fear (a proper respectful fear). I have seen Christians engage in this practice but they forgot the gentle spirit with the authority of Jesus Christ.
We as Christians need a good conscience and a good conversation. This does not just mean our speech but the way we live. Our conscience can only be clear if it is kept clean from guilt but a good conversation is a holy life. If people falsely accuse us if we have a good conscience and conversation we may bring them to shame. It is not that we want to do this but that may be the end result. The Bible already says in one way or another we will suffer for well - doing so what are we worried about because our life is in the Sovereign hand of God. If we do evil the bottom line is we just have to repent. There are no two ways around this because it is obedience to God. There are plenty of Christians that suffer hard in persecution but remember unrighteous people suffer for their evil doing. At least if we love God and are called to the purpose of His will we suffer for a reason and it is not an exercise in futility.
If we truly take a close look at Jesus Christ we will see patience. Our Savior and Lord suffered very hard on earth but it was for the unjust. He died for our sins. Think about this because Jesus Christ knew no sin for those that understood no righteousness. This is the merit and perfection of Jesus Christ's sacrifice. He once suffered so the Lamb of God could purge away our sins. The design was to bring us to God the Father. He was put to death in His flesh but quickened and raised again by the Spirit. If Jesus Christ was not exempt from suffering who are we to say we will not go through persecution? We already know Jesus Christ is in glory now so it just makes sense that we as believers in Christ should be patient under trouble because God has a plan for our life and eternity.
We either accept Jesus Christ or we reject Him either bluntly or in a round about way. In verse nineteen the Bible says Jesus Christ preached to the spirits in prison which were disobedient but notice the Scripture writes the longsuffering of God waited in the days of No'ah. It is horrible that the whole world drowned with the exception of eight people. The patience of God is so enduring for sinners but if people choose to stay hardened God will give you what you want but you may not like what you get. God is honoring your will because He is not going to force Himself on you. Notice only eight souls were saved so when I hear this false message that the majority of people are truly redeemed through the shed blood of Jesus Christ I understand the Bible does not teach this reality.
If you do not know the Lord now may be a good time for you to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord by repenting of all your sins and inviting the Son of God into your life. Remember the Bible does say today is the day of salvation. Why because we do not know when we are going to die or when Jesus Christ is coming back for His children. I hope and pray you just made that all important eternal decision because this is the will of God for your life.
God bless you,
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