We live in a rapidly changing world. Leaders are trying to lead us into socialism even though we can look at many countries that have gone that route, and today they are controlled by dictators, the people have few rights and are suffering many hardships.
The Apostle Peter in 1 Peter 3:13-17 (NKJV) wrote, “And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil”.
As we look at our nation and the world, it would be easy to have a sense of despair and hopelessness. However, as Christians, we should be comforted by the fact that some things will never change. Our Master, our message, and our mission will not change.
Peter was writing to Christ-followers who were living in changing times, and they would very likely suffer for Christ’s sake. What are we to do under such circumstances? In the New American Standard Bible 1 Peter 3:15 reads, “…but sanctify Christ as LORD in your hearts….” The word sanctify means to set apart. So, we are to set apart Christ as LORD in our hearts. In 1 Corinthians 12:3b Paul wrote, “…no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.”
When we are experiencing the hardship of any kind, we need to look to the LORD in our lives and ask, “LORD, how do You want me to respond to this situation?”
When the Apostle Paul had his first encounter with Christ and realized who Jesus was, he said, “LORD, what do You want me to do?” If Jesus is truly the LORD of our lives, then He rules.
I thought this article about Charles Spurgeon might help us understand what it means to “sanctify Christ as LORD in your hearts.”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon ranks among the greatest preachers of all time. On one particular Sunday evening in London, this 19th-century Baptist movingly poured out his very soul and life in homage and adoration before his blessed Savior. At the very end, exhausted in body, his voice almost gone, he spoke these words, “Let my name perish, but let Christ’s name last forever! Jesus! Jesus! Crown Him LORD of all! You will not hear me say anything else. These are my last words in Exeter Hall for this time. Jesus! Jesus! Crown Him LORD of all! Knowing Jesus Christ as saving LORD is the first step in a Christ-centered dedication.”
There are so many ways for us to recognize Christ – His perfection, His greatness, His justice, His grace, His mercy, and His power. But when we sanctify Him in our hearts we recognize His holiness. Peter in this passage is teaching the reality and purity of the indwelling Christ.
Dr. Alexander Maclaren wrote:
“Take care that our thoughts about Jesus are full of devout awe and reverence. I venture to think that a great deal of modern and sentimental Christianity is very defective in this regard. You cannot love Jesus Christ too much, but you can love Him with too little reverence. And if you take up some of our luscious modern hymns that people are so fond of singing, I think you will find in them a twang of unwholesomeness, just because the love is not reverent enough, and the approaching confidence has not enough of devout awe in it.
The people of this generation (he lived from 1826 to 1910) look at half of Christ. They are suffering from indigestion, they can only see half of the thing they look at, and there are many of us who can only see a part of the whole Christ: and so forgetting that He is judge, and forgetting that He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and forgetting that (while) He is manifested in the flesh (as) our brother, He is also God…our Creator as well as our Redeemer, and our Judge as well as our Savior – some do not enough hallow Him in their hearts as LORD.”
(I wonder what Dr. Maclaren would say if he were alive today?)
Folks, it is impossible to love and honor Jesus too much. So, Peter is saying if we sanctify (set apart) Christ as the LORD of our lives, then no matter what we face, we will be able to stand with confidence that our LORD will be with us in victory.
God bless you.