Atonement. Perfection of Jesus. Depravity of man. Reconciliation. Substitutionary Atonement. Resurrection. Today’s passage is packed with theology. Let’s read it and then break it down.
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Suffering for Christ
When we follow hard after Christ, parts of the journey will involve suffering—some type of persecution for our faith. Peter’s statement could be said like this: If you are going to suffer, make sure you suffer for the right reasons.
Believers must be prepared to stand up for Christ and communicate the main points of Christianity. And…they must act and speak “with gentleness and respect.” Remember, you used to be the person who “didn’t get it.” Apart from God’s grace, you would still be that person.
Set Apart Christ as Lord
Our passage today is often quoted in the context of apologetics—theology used in the defense or proof of Christianity. Certainly, we should always be prepared to explain the main points of Christianity. At the same time, context ultimately determines meaning. The context here addresses a coming persecution when the recipients of this letter may have to suffer for their faith. Peter exhorts them to stand firm for Christ and be ready to profess him as Lord even in the face of imminent suffering.
Caught Up in Fear
What are you afraid of? What’s that thing that holds you back from being all that God wants you to be? Are you caught up in fear? Fear is an obstacle to your spiritual growth. It saturates the heart and permeates through families and to those within your network of influence. It is the cause of anxiety, terror, and dread. It causes us to run, engage, or stall (flight, fight, freeze).
The Eyes of the Lord
“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer.” That’s what King David learned the hard way. Once honored as the “giant killer” and noted as the up-and-comer, he was now on the run from a jealous King Saul.