LIFTing Christ By Separating Him

Posted by Bernard Rosario On 11:39 PM 0 comments

13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor 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, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil. (1 Peter 3:13-17)

To honor Christ the Lord as holy (15a) is to literally separate Him. It is not the kind of separation that you do when you separate boys from girls, lanzones from rambutan, or freshmen from seniors. It is the kind of separation that you do to a gold bar when you have one. You don’t see diamonds rolling around streets. You separate them. You put these into vaults because they are extremely precious. Peter, therefore, exhorts us to magnify and LIFT Christ’s name and consider Him extremely precious in at least four practical ways.

Labor Goodness (13-14a, 16-17). Good behavior and good conscience flood these five verses explicitly in 4 verses and implicitly in one. Christians should abound in good deeds. The most loving, most forgiving, most kind, most patient, most gentle, most peaceable among men should be the Christians. There should be an observable excellence in us in all of the highest virtues and works. The world should be puzzled and ask how we do it and why can’t they outrun us in doing good. GOD will then be lifted up when the common ground by which all the good-doers stand shines: Christ.

Imply Fearlessness (14b). Verse 15 starts with a “but.” We use “but” to connect opposing points. We don’t say, “I am sick but I am weak,” but instead, “I am sick but I am strong.” The “fearing” in verse 14 is in contrast to the “honoring” in verse 15. The more we fear things, the less we glorify Christ. We fear because something that is so dear to us is threatened. We fear for our life. We fear for our family. We fear for our properties. We fear for our businesses. But when we start considering Christ to be so valuable, all our other valuables start to fade. The fading of these minor loves is also the fading of the fear for these loves. When a zealot points a gun to your head and threatens you, your family, and all that belongs to you because of your Christ but you stand fearless, Christ is lifted up.

Forge Readiness (15b). The world should not just be puzzled but answered about the puzzle. We are asked to forge readiness in address anything that pertains to our hope. When a Christian finds difficulty in answering questions, it is tempting to blame it to his head. However, I come to believe that inability to provide sufficient answers is more of a heart-issue than a head-issue, more of a passion-matter than an intellect-matter. We learn the most in subjects we love the most. Moreover, we defend most violently on matters we value most passionately. To be always ready to answer about Christ is to lift Christ because it shows how we value Christ.

Tender Meekness (15c). No one who will faithfully search the Scriptures will miss two essential points: (1) the greatness of GOD; and (2) the feebleness of man. And the more we meditate, the greater the expanse becomes between GOD and man when it comes to magnificence. Meekness and humility are unpreventable fruits of knowing GOD. Therefore, when GOD equips a saint the ability to answer, He graces him with humility. A Christian who answers with arrogance forgets the distance between him and the One whom he represents. Christ is lifted high when we answer in a way that acknowledges that our ambassadorship is an undeserved grace.

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