Submission and a Ready Defense
1 Peter 3:8-22
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;… [1 Peter 3:15]
In our text this morning, Peter transitions from submission to a ready defense. He has described the power of submission: Submitting to government authorities [2:13-17]; “masters” [in our day, employers, our bosses and superiors in the work place, 2:18-19]; and the authority structure that God has ordained in the home [3:1-7] with Jesus being our example [2:21]. This morning we will round out the principle of submission amongst “brothers” and sisters in the Lord [3:8-12, i.e., within the church].
But let us remember that Peter’s teaching on submission comes right after his illustration of the church; “living stones” [Christians, 2:5] built upon the “chief cornerstone” [Jesus, 2:6-7], noting that stones are different shapes and sizes. The key principle is that the fitting [coming together] comes by way of submitting, one to another. Submission is not a weakness; it is a strength that builds a powerful church, and Jesus is our example.
Peter now follows with an exhortation on being a ready defense. Verse 3:15 is the classic exhortation of Christian apologetics. Interestingly enough the context immediately before and after is suffering.
You see, defending the faith is more than a scholastic debate; it is a lifestyle, and oftentimes involves suffering. We defend the faith not only with reasoning but also by our response to adversity. You’ve heard the saying, “Your actions speak so loud I can’t hear a word you say.” That is so on the mark.
Defending the faith is more than logic and reasoning and words; it is a faith that works. It is a Spirit-filled life that knows and understands and practices submission. It is a life filled with grace, mercy, and a living hope.