The Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

1 Peter 3:13-17

Have No Fear of Them

I haven’t bothered to count the number of times that the Scripture tells God’s people to “fear not,” but it must be several.  The reason for this has nothing to do with some divine protection with which God covers his people so that we will not suffer at the hands of would-be persecutors.  A mere glance of the plight of Christians in Communist and Muslim lands proves that lie.  Indeed, as I write, religious liberties are being circumscribed in “free” (otherwise known as “Western”) societies, a current virus providing the impetus, but any other crisis, perceived or real, would suffice. 

But I digress.  The point is that “all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12).  Yet, we are encouraged by the Apostle to “have no fear of them, nor be troubled.”  These seem like hard words, for we have much to lose, and I am not so much thinking of gold and silver (of which most of us have precious little) as loved ones from whom we might be separated.  Instead, we are advised to honor Christ the Lord as holy in our hearts.  And what does this mean but to set him above all else, to fear him, to commit ourselves to obey him above all earthly powers—which is the way we should be living day to day whether we are persecuted or not (NICNT, 131).  We must remember that the one we fear is the one we worship, for you serve the one you fear.  This is why Scripture tells us over and again that we should fear only the Lord.  The day will come even to America that we will be required to worship the government and/or leader(s).  We must now be sanctifying Christ in our hearts, praying fervently, “Hallowed be Thy name,” in preparation against that day.

And as we sanctify and ponder Christ in our hearts, we walk in a holy way before him.  Moreover, he puts an answer on our lips for those who would ask us for a reason for the hope that is within us.  But they must see that hope working its way through us.  Such hope will not manifest itself in a life that is enamored with the things in this world; no, it will only be revealed in the one who lives his calling as an alien in this world, a sojourner and exile.  Such a one carries a good conscience within himself as he looks with disdain upon the trinkets of this world and favors instead heavenly matters.  He cannot be robbed who looks upon even the little he owns, yea even his own body, as nothing but dust and ashes; such a one smiles upon his tormentor. 

If there is anything a Christian must fear in this world, it is to be convicted of sin and be punished for it.  But fear God and you should be clear of that.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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