“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”
and always be ready to give a defense
“Always” – we are ready at any time to share Christ. Our defense of the faith should not merely be on occasion, but we should “always” be prepared to do so. Be ready to testify at a moment’s notice.
“Be ready” – prepared. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. In the plural, “ready” means to be ready in many different ways. There is no one way to witness for Christ. Each individual is different, so we must take different approaches with other people. We need to be flexible in our appeal. If we stereotype our method, we will not reach some people. Those who occupy their minds with the Lord are then always ready to share their faith.
Secular Greek used the word “defense” in the courtroom as a legal term to talk off from. It used “defense” for an attorney who talked his client off from a charge. This is an oral defense of Christianity.
“Defense” occurs eight times in the New Testament.
Phil 1:17, “But the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel.”
Every Christian’s faith is on trial, and the juror asks us evidence for our case for being a Christian.
Our neighbor, the prosecuting attorney, asks about the evidence we have for what we believe. They prefer charges against Jesus Christ. We should present a good case for Christ in the courtroom of life. Can you defend your reason for your life as a Christian?
The world is suspicious of Christians. They will inevitably call upon Christians to justify their belief. “Tell me how you know your sins are forgiven.” Eventually, people will detect that there is something different about you. You do not operate like most people. When this stirs their curiosity, you will have an opportunity to speak the gospel.
Many people have the custom to writing off Christianity as so much religion — “Everyone has a religion, and you have yours. After Christians go to church on Sunday, they live differently on Monday. It makes no impact on their lives.” True, most people do not let their religion interfere with their lives. They might as well in trade their testimony. What good is it? What is different about your experience?
Are you ready to orally justify your case for being a Christian? Do you give personal testimony to Christ? “Life” testimony is not good enough. We must provide oral testimony to the content of what we believe.
Christians should be willing to defend their faith. Do you believe that your faith is defensible? Are there good reasons for what you believe? Can you intelligently state your reasons for being a Christian? What is your position? Is your faith firsthand? Did you believe second-handed from your parents? If it is firsthand, then you have reasons why you believe. Have you thought through what you believe?
The jurors will take the evidence of our lives, weigh it, and make their decision accordingly. The Christian is on trial for his life, his Christian life. As the world examines us, they will make their judgment based on what they hear. They want the information to form a judgment. They want an accounting of the evidence for our Christian life.
The truth of Christianity does not primarily depend on academic defense by theologians but on you and your personal testimony. You mingle with the world but theologians, off in ivory towers, rarely see the people you encounter. People in your sphere see you every day. Every day they form judgments and give their verdict about your life and lip. By this, they determine whether Christianity is valid or phony, real or false, whether they want it or not. You are a walking defense of Christianity. You are on trial every moment of your life. How do you stack up?
Maybe you feel that you are not on trial. You see no need to defend the reality of knowing Christ. “After all, I don’t know the Bible. I’m no theologian. I’ll leave that for the preacher and theologian.” This flatly contradicts Peter’s point in this passage. If you do not defend Christianity, you will lose the case. Non-Christian jurors pronounce your life and faith guilty of fraud. He says, “You are guilty of inducing others to part with their belief when you are no different yourself.”