(1 Peter 3:15) But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
What was your life like at the time of your salvation? Were you a devout catholic, like I was? Were you a mormon? Were you a drug addict? Whatever your lot was prior to salvation, the Lord God saved you from it and changed you. (2 Cor 5:17) Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. Once I accepted Jesus Christ as my Saviour, my life began to change. I knew I could no longer go on with my old lifestyle and I began to change from the moment He saved me. That was back in 1980 and I have not looked back nor have I wanted to go back to my old life.
But what are we to do with our new life? The Word says we are to sanctify God in our hearts. Noah Webster defines this as
5. To cleanse from corruption; to purify from sin; to make holy be detaching the affections from the world and its defilements, and exalting them to a supreme love to God.
Sanctifying ourselves is an on-going task in our spiritual lives. Each day brings its challenges and the Lord provides grace to tackle each challenge in a manner that will glorify Him. We are to separate ourselves from worldliness and focusing ourselves on glorifying the Lord in our bodies and in our actions.
Peter goes on to say that we must be ready (available) to tell others why we have the hope of salvation with meekness and fear. The word fear here is not the reverential fear that is found in (Luk 23:40) But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? That Greek word in Luke for fear is:
φοβέωphobeōfob-eh’-oFrom G5401; to frighten, that is, (passively) to be alarmed; by analogy to be in awe of, that is, revere: – be (+ sore) afraid, fear (exceedingly), reverence.The Greek word for fear in 1 Peter 3:15 is:
G5401φόβος phobosfob’-osFrom a primary φέβομαι phebomai (to be put in fear); alarm or fright: – be afraid, + exceedingly, fear, terror.
Big difference, huh? Notice that phobos means “alarm or fright – exceedingly fear, terror”!
Peter is also telling us that when we witness to others, we are to do so with meekness. Noah’s definition of meek in this verse is:
1. Mild of temper; soft; gentle; not easily provoked or irritated; yielding; given to forbearance under injuries.
How can one witness to a lost soul with meekness and the phobos type of fear? I believe Peter is telling us that we are to be patient with the unbeliever despite his “sarcastic come backs” – we are to have patience when the lost soul keeps injuring us with harsh words or even vengeance against us. With that type of meekness, we are to boldly proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If we are witnessing to a catholic, we are to be bold – not leaving out where he will spend eternity in our salvation plan. We know that phobos cannot be referencing the believer because we are told that we no longer have to fear hell. (Rom 8:15) For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The word fear here is the same phobos as in 1 Peter 3:15! Isn’t that wonderful?
The Christian is freed from this phobos type fear because we are a child of God! However, the unbeliever must be shown the phobos fear when we witness to him so that he will be converted! The root of phobos is phebomai which means “to put in fear.” We must be bold and not withhold anything in our witnessing. I would rather put the fear of hell and the wrath of God into a lost soul’s heart than to sugar coat the Gospel and have him comfortable in his sin. Where do you sit in this area? When you witness, do you only speak of the “love gospel” or do you give the lost soul the whole Gospel?
Why am I talking about this today? The Lord has impressed upon me that He brought me out of catholicism for a purpose! It is my duty to witness to other catholics and show them the truth. That is what I have experience in – that is what He saved me from! What better witness than one who has been through it? I must work until Christ comes again or until I die alerting other catholics of the dangers of the catholic church and the false religion that it is. I am frantically building my blog with information on catholicism in hopes that the lost catholic will one day find it and be saved. This is my prayer!
Christian, what has God saved you from? Share it with meekness and explain to the lost the fear that he needs to have to draw him to salvation. In other words, be patient with the unbeliever and give him the Gospel as if his life depended on it! Because it does! His eternal life depends on you giving him the words of life! Do what you must to win this lost soul to Christ. Warn him – show him – be ready with spiritual ammunition from the Word.