Sunday, April 15, 2007

Why Hope?

"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ will be ashamed of their slander" (1 Peter 3:15-16, NIV).

The apostle Peter expected Christians to be asked, "What reason do you have to hope?" It's interesting that the apostle did not tell Christians to give a reason for their ethical choices or for their doctrinal convictions. He could have done so (and it is appropriate for us to have good reasons for our choices and convictions), but he chose to focus on a reason for our hope. Especially in a context of criticism and persecution, Peter wanted followers of Jesus Christ to be asked about their hope. He wanted us to be known for being people of hope.

This is a challenging passage. Once in a while, I am asked about ethical issues or my understanding of Scripture. However, rarely have I been asked, "Why do you have hope?" Perhaps I need to think more about the return of Jesus Christ. Maybe I need to remind myself continually that I am in the kingdom of a powerful, merciful, and promise-keeping God. Then, perhaps someone may be more inclined to ask me to give a reason for the hope that they will see in my life.

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