1 Peter 3:13-18
1 Pet 3:13 (KJB)
And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?
Peter continues his thoughts from the previous verse. The face is against those who do evil and then he asks who is he that will harm you if ye be followers of good? This is basically conveying to us that God is continually watching over His children. Peter’s readers were facing major persecution in the days to come and he did not want them to be overwhelmed. In other words, in comparison to God, who are these mere men who will harm you? On judgment day they will wish they never heard of Roman persecution because they will be judged and sentenced to an eternity in Hell. One great promise we have of God in that He will never send adversity greater than His children can handle.
1 Pet 3:14 (KJB)
But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;
Afraid - Fear
Terror - Experience suffering or undergo punishment
Troubled - Stirred up or disturbed with various emotions
Here is a great verse which perplexes even Christians. If we suffer for righteousness’ sake, then happy or blessed are we. How can one be happy when they are suffering persecution? According to worldly standards we cannot but when we view these things according to the Kingdom of God, then we can be happy because the blessings that we incur in suffering for the name of the Lord Jesus Christ is eternal in nature. When we suffer for doing right, God will right that wrong in His own time and method. We leave all such retribution in the hands of the Lord. Peter also states that even if we know suffering is coming we are not to be stirred up internally because that may begin to kindle all kinds of emotions which may send us off track. If you read the account of the martyrs, occasionally you will read that one has recanted of their testimony but later on, you will read, when they came to their spiritual senses they recanted of their recantation and kept their testimony. As humans sometimes the thought of physical suffering may cause us to do things we really do not want to. This is why the Bible teaches us that we are not to be afraid or fear the suffering to come.
1 Pet 3:15 (KJB)
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:
Sanctify - Set apart
Ready - Prepared
Answer - A reasoned defense or an apologetic
Meekness - Gentleness
Peter continues from verse 14 that we are not to be afraid of those who would terrorize us but we are to set apart the Lord God in our hearts. They were basically to set Christ apart as Lord in their hearts who is their only master. If we allow fear to take over, then that fear becomes the master. If Christ reigns in our hearts, we will not only elude the fear but will then be able to give an answer to every one concerning the hope we have in our hearts. The word in the Greek for answer is “apologia” where we derive our English word “apologetics” from and it just means a reasoned defense. Every believer should be able to give a reasoned defense of the true Christian faith, especially now in the day we live in when so many false religions exist and so many false branches of Christianity exist. We must be able to give a reason why we believe what we do and we must do it in gentleness and fear. That fear being an awe of God in which we show dependence upon Him during these times. (Luke 12:12 KJV) For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say. It is important to realize our dependence upon God but it also strengthens our witness if we study and learn the Scriptures because they are the word of God and many times our defense of the faith will come directly out of the Scriptures. When we read the history of the martyrs, we would read that they knew the Scriptures and were able to give a strong reasoned defense for the true faith.
1 Pet 3:16 (KJB)
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.
Conscience - Scruples or consciousness of a man of his relationship to God
Evildoers - Malefactor, offender or lawbreaker
Ashamed - Put to shame, dishonor or disgrace
Conversation - Conduct or manner of life
From verse 15 we are told to give a reason for the hope that is in us and as hold to a good conscience knowing our relationship to God through the Lord Jesus Christ, we know that accusers will speak of evil of us as if we were evildoers or lawbreakers. As the Lord Jesus Christ faced false accusers at His trial, we too will have false accusers who will point the finger at us for anything they believe will discredit us as Christians. However, when they are finally caught in their lies, they will be disgraced because they have falsely accused an innocent person. Whenever we conduct our lives in a Godly manner, their accusations will fall flat on the floor. We must make sure that those who accuse us do not have a leg to stand on in their accusations. If they make an accusation against us and it turns out to be true, then our testimony is gone and they will deem Christianity as false. This is why the Christian is to live above reproach in this world and even avoid the appearance of evil. (1 Th 5:22 KJV) Abstain from all appearance of evil.
1 Pet 3:17 (KJB)
For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.
Better - Superior or more advantageous
If Christians must suffer in this world, and we will, then it is better that we suffer for doing good, because then our suffering is persecution for being a Christian. (John 15:20 KJV) Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. If we suffer for evil doing, then we are suffering justly and deserve what we get. God’s will for the Christian in this world always factors in some form of suffering. Some will suffer more than others, even unto death, and some will suffer less but no matter the amount, we will face tribulation in this world.
1 Pet 3:18 (KJB)
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:
Quickened - Having been made alive
This verse teaches us that Christ suffered in the flesh for sins. It is very important that God places the word “once” in the text. The word “once” in the Greek cannot be translated in any other way except “once” so there is no mistake about it. The Roman Catholic Institution, in their mass, continually offers Christ in wafer form. It is known as transubstantiation when the Priest says some words over it and then it supposedly becomes the body and the wine becomes the blood of Christ. 1 Peter 3:18 states clearly that Christ suffered “once” for sins and that means no continuing sacrifice is necessary nor accepted by the Lord, in fact, to offer continuous sacrifice is really blasphemy because it is claiming that Christ’s single sacrifice was not enough to pay for sins.
Christ’s single sacrifice was more than sufficient because the rest of the verse teaches us that He was the just who died for the unjust, who are the Elect before salvation, and that by His death He brought us to God as God now becomes our Father through the Lord Jesus Christ and salvation. The Lord was put to death on the cross in the flesh but was made alive in the Spirit. This principle carries over into the Christian walk, that we need to be dead to the things of the flesh but alive in the Spirit unto God. It is through the indwelling Holy Spirit that we are able to carry on the ministry or ministries He gives to us. When the Lord Jesus died on the cross, He committed His spirit unto His Father and His body went into the grave. (Luke 23:46 KJV) And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. The detractors of Christ could not do any more than kill His body as they could never reach and do anything to His Spirit. This is why it speaks of being quickened or made alive in the Spirit. When we become saved, we become quickened in our spirits but the flesh continues to decay day after day.