Give an account for the hope that is in you
1 Peter 3:8-4:6 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; 9 not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing. 10 For,
“The one who desires life, to love and see good days,
Must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit.
11 “He must turn away from evil and do good;
He must seek peace and pursue it.
12 “For the eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous,
And His ears attend to their prayer,
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
13 Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, 15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; 16 and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. 17 For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong. 18 For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; 19 in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, 20 who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. 21 Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.
4 Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. 3 For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. 4 In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you; 5 but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God.
As I meditated on today’s text verses 14-15 stood out to me. do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence. I had to ask myself, am I always ready to make a defense , to give an account for the hope that is in me. In Acts 1:8 Jesus says: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” To be Christ’s witness is to be ready to give an account of the hope I have. Witnesses in a courtroom are called to testify about what they have seen and heard; what they have experienced and know to be true. As believers, as ones who follow Christ, we should always be ready to testify about what we have seen Him do, what we have heard Him say and what we know to be true. Very often people think of their testimony as the account of when and how they were saved. They speak of the transformation from being a follower of the world’s ways to being a follower of Christ. 1 peter 1:3 says: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. If we are born into a living hope, then we should also have a living testimony. Our testimony should not end with how we were saved. That should be the beginning of our testimony, our witness to others about the hope that is in us. Just as the Israelites had to seek fresh manna each morning when they were in the wilderness, so too, should we seek God’s provision each day. His daily provision is more than just the things we need, food, clothing and shelter, His daily provision is also His words to and for us. Yesterday’s revelation of God’s love and compassion may not be enough for what we will face today. We need to be sustained with a living hope. We need to see and hear, to know the truth about what we will live today.
Peter says something else about our testimony. The text says:
…always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence. Our testimony should be with gentleness
and reverence. We are to preach the gospel. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:23-24: we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and
the wisdom of God. Romans 11:22 says: Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off. The
truth of God’s word and the testimony of scripture includes the love, mercy and grace of God. It also includes His righteousness and justice. Scripture will reveal the kindness and the severity of God, His love and compassion toward people and His judgment
against sin. The cross itself is offensive to some yet it is the foundation of our faith in Christ. The cross and the resurrection are what our living hope is based on. That is the testimony of scripture. The cross is what Jesus did, once for all. Our testimony should be about what Jesus has done and is doing daily in our lives. Lamentations 3:22-23 says: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. That should be our living testimony, given in reverence for God and in gentleness to others. We should testify of God’s steadfast love, not only what He did, but what He is doing. Every morning, every day we should acknowledge and give account of God’s love and mercy. We should give account of the hope that is in us.
I’ll end with what Peter began the text with: To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing. We are not only to inherit a blessing we are to be a blessing to others through our testimony.
May the words of this hymn be our prayer and our testimony:
“Great is Thy faithfulness,”
O God my Father,
“Great is Thy faithfulness!”
“Great is Thy faithfulness!”
Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,