Trial and Defense - 1 Peter 3:13-22

Trial and Defense

My kids enjoy the show “Veggie Tales”. There is a song they sing called, “Stand Up!”
The lyrics go:  
Stand up! Stand up!
For what you believe in, believe in, believe in, GOD!
He's the one to back you up!

Throughout this chapter, Peter has been encouraging us to endure for the sake of righteousness. He is telling us that if we stand up and are steadfast in the Truth, then God promises that we will be blessed.

1 Peter 3:13-22
13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor 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; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil.
18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, 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, 19 in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, 20 because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. 21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

We’ve previously discussed suffering in the name of Christ. The audience that Peter addressed in his epistle was suffering because of being Christians. This was new territory and they needed encouragement. We today, still need this encouragement. No matter how many times we hear these words, we still need to reflect and implement them into action.

“Fear not”...Why? Because if our hearts are rooted in the truth of Christ and actively seek to honor Him, then we should not be afraid. We have been granted the ability, the gift, of spending eternity with our Lord. Peter tells us that we don’t need to be afraid, but we need to be prepared. Prepared to defend our faith in Christ. We may never actually be put on trial for our faith, but shouldn’t we live so that all the evidence against us was true, without a reasonable doubt, that we are truly Christians that believe wholeheartedly in the Good News? Our actions as Christians should reflect our hearts. We are the example of Christ to others. We WILL stand before THE judge in the end. We will be tried for the sins of our lives, but God is gracious and loves us. So, we are encouraged to be gracious to those who slander us. Jesus said in Matthew 10:28:
“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.
But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell”

Peter closes this chapter in v18 with a reminder of what Jesus DID for us. He suffered, yes, but Peter reminds us of the result of His suffering and why. The final result: Jesus became the victor and not a victim of the suffering received for being obedient to the Will of God. It is through Jesus that we are brought to God.

From verse 19, people may interpret this section in several ways. Some say that between Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection, he went to Hades and preached. Did He preach the Good News of his coming resurrection? Or, did he preach the message of judgment to the fallen angels and unbelievers in the days of Noah? Theologians continue to debate this, but we can only speculate based on what is written in the Bible.

What matters is that Jesus suffered for our sins, died on that cross, went to the prison of death, carried the sins of the world (whom God the Father could not even bare to look at), and three days later, Jesus conquered death and destroyed the barrier between us and God. Peter does mention baptism, but he points out that baptism is not salvation. Baptism is the spiritual rinsing and outward demonstration of your dedication and obedience to Christ. Fully immersing our bodies as a symbol of what the Holy Spirit has done within our hearts.

Lastly, let us live a life whose actions fully demonstrate the love and grace of God. I encourage all of us, especially myself, to live a life as a witness and testament to Jesus Christ; therefore, we should strive for ALL the evidence of our lives to warrant an absolute conviction of being true disciples of Christ.

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