Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Word Remains Forever: Day 24

1 Peter 3:13-17 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts regard 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, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil.
There is great joy that comes from having Christ as our Lord. We have the full assurance of our forgiven sins and the promise of eternal life. God is our Father who smiles upon us and is gracious to us! We want others to know this joy! We want others to worship Christ with us.

There is no harm in zealously proclaiming the mercies of our Lord. However, as we have read again and again, the world does not always get caught up in our zeal. In fact, there will often be resistance. At such times, Peter tells us to be prepared to answer when arguments and accusations are thrown our way. We have joy, but we must be ready to defend that joy before the world.

Peter reminds us of two important things when it comes to being ready: a) you need to prepare yourself for pushback from others and b) there is a right way to be ready. Yes, we must be prepared to explain our faith, but what is more, we must not try to pick a fight! But, we are to talk about Christ with gentleness and respect so that it is the Gospel message itself that gives offense, and not the Christian. After all, it is the Gospel message that saves, and not the Christian.

Father, make me bold to proclaim your Word. Give me the words to say so others may know the joy and salvation you have given to me. Forgive me if I have ever been combative with my faith. Like John the Baptist, I pray you would cause me to decrease so that you would increase. AMEN

*The symbol on the top of this devotional stands for “Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum.” It is a Latin phrase which means “The Word of the Lord endures forever.” This phrase, based on I Peter 1:24-25, served as the battle cry of the Lutheran reformers as it reminded them that God’s Word alone was sufficient to teach them God’s will. The symbol was on flags, banners, uniforms, and even swords as a sign of unity among those who suffered for confessing their faith in Christ alone. *
Pastor Bob


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