1 Peter 3:13-22
3:13 Now who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good?
3:14 But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated,
3:15 but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you;
3:16 yet do it with gentleness and reverence. Keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame.
3:17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if suffering should be God’s will, than to suffer for doing evil.
3:18 For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit,
3:19 in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison,
3:20 who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water.
3:21 And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you–not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
3:22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.
Standing up for the name of Christ is not an easy task. Doing it with grace and love can sometimes be even harder. In the face of confrontation, our initial response is to get defensive and raise up our arms in preparation for battle. However, Peter here is talking about having the courage to stand up for your faith and doing so in a way that gentle and reverent. What that essentially means is, speaking the truth in a loving and gracious way so that those who are attacking you, having nothing to hold against you.
One’s gentle conduct leaves no room for further abuse. When we are able to respond with grace towards those who are attempting to oppose us, not only is that pleasing to God, but it also speaks to our testimony and shows that we truly do have God’s love residing in our hearts.
When Jesus was taken to the cross, He did not fight back nor did He attempt to insult or do what He had the power to do and reject the pain and turn on those who were mocking Him. He lovingly and graciously went to the cross without any anger or malice in His heart. He served as the ultimate example of what it means to respond in a loving way in the midst of hatred and abuse.
God gives us the courage we need to live out our faith, especially when being faced with opposition. Grace and love is what drove Christ to pursue lost sinners and He took places that same love and grace in our hearts to show others who Jesus is and what He has done for us.