(22 verses, 2:13 to read)
What I am about to READ
- Suffering, Making a Defense, and Baptism
- Christian Conduct of Wives and Husbands (1-7).
- Repaying Evil with Blessing (8-17).
- Christ’s Suffering and Baptism (18-22).
- According to my sinful flesh, I’m always surprised at the continuity of the preaching from the various Apostles, be it between Paul, Peter, and John. The Bible’s critics claim the opposite. Often their “higher criticism” distorts even the minds of the saints. But apostolic continuity should not surprise me. The same Spirit which Jesus imparted through his Word during his public ministry is now at work in the Scriptures which are the inspired records of the Apostles’ teaching and preaching. Of course they teach the same doctrine. It belongs to Christ, not the opinions of men. They teach the same saving message of life; that “Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous” (vs. 18).
- Peter writes to a church that suffers the attacks of its enemies, who suffer verbal and physical afflictions. How should we respond when attacked? St. Peter says, “Do not repay evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing” (vs. 9). The church under persecution is the setting for Peter’s admonition to be prepared to “make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” People will ask you why you don’t repay slander for slander, or violence for violence. Our answer invariably turns to Christ who suffered for our sins, that we might become righteous though we had formerly been unrighteous. Peter’s idea of an apologetic, therefore, deals less with rational proofs for the faith than with giving voice to our hope which we have gained through Christ, that we have forgiveness and life everlasting. Is there a place for more rational or aesthetic defenses for what we believe? Of course. But this should never come at the expense of the center of our hope that is within us, that Christ has procured our salvation through his suffering and death. The best defense that we can make is to speak words of forgiveness to those who persecute us because we have been forgiven in Christ.
- Peter takes the opportunity from the topic of suffering for the sake of righteousness to preach about the great gift Jesus has procured through his own suffering, namely that Baptism now saves us, “not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, though the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (vs. 21). Here is proof that baptism does not symbolize our salvation, rather it bestows the righteousness that our Lord has won through his death and resurrection. Our good conscience comes from the fact that Satan’s accusations have come to an end. Sin has been defeated through Christ, and in baptism this victory is now yours.
- Prayer: Heavenly Father, as your baptized child, grant me sure confidence, faith, and knowledge of Christ’ doctrine through your Word so that I can make a Christ-centered defense when I suffer evil for righteousness’ sake. Amen.
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-Pastor A. Brian Flamme