“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” – 1Pet 3:15
Have you ever had questions about your own faith? Has someone ever asked you why you believe what you believe? Have you ever used evidence to support your belief? If you have done any of these, then you’ve been doing what is expected of you.
We are all commanded to be ready to give an answer for our faith, and to do it with both wisdom, grace and gentleness. The world is in turmoil and hungry for answers. They have tried many systems and their hope is waning. The Christian has the answer. He must therefore be ever ready to give them the Good News and do it in a gentle and clear manner.
There are, broadly, a few ways we defend our faith, as in a courtroom, in our conversations or articulations:
- Showing evidence of the truthfulness of the Christian faith. Some use cosmological phenomena, issues of morality, the bodily resurrection of Christ, etc.
- Answering the questions of those who ask, by listening to them and then responding in love.
- Rebutting incoherent arguments against Christian faith and showing Christianity as the truth. Beyond intellectual belief, we want our audience to decide for faith in Christ—in other words, we want to evangelize.
Imagine a person is at the emergency room with a serious illness. The doctors explain that the sickness is lethal, and that this person will die unless he gets an antidote. However, if he takes the antidote, he is guaranteed to be well. There is no other choice: you either take the only antidote or you die. The cure is the cure. That’s what Christianity is.
“Because I live, you will live also.” – Jn 14:19
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" –Jn 11:25-26
The world today is in disarray. I once heard a story of these two sailors that went to town and had much more fun than they had planned, but lost their way back to their boat in the process. Eventually, they spotted a highly decorated sailor approaching them. "Surely he knows the way," they thought. And so they asked him, “Hey sailor, we’re lost. Show us the way to our boat.” Feeling insulted at the way they talked to him, this top officer asked, “Don’t you know who I am?” Now these two guys turned towards each other and said, “Now we are in a big mess. We don’t know where we are, and he doesn’t know who he is.”
Indeed, the world is in confusion. Virtually every single word has a different meaning to different folks, depending on who you ask. A simple word as basic as “human” has different descriptions from one people group to the other.
Where did this mess begin? It started right there in Genesis. Read what God says:
“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” – Gen 2:17 (emphasis mine).
God said the day you eat of it, you will die—be demeaned and self-destruct. But what transpired? They listened to the devil instead. He reprogrammed their minds, changed their paradigm, their worldview, even painting a picture of a God who was withholding something from them.
“Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” – Gen 3:4-5.
Therein lies the beginning of human misery. Man became god to himself, defining his own absolutes, and the result was the depravity that is today prevalent everywhere. Hence there is a need for us to make TRUTH clear (1Pet 3:15; Psa 119:46; Jer 26:1-12; Dan 3:16-18; Col 4:6; 2Tim 2:25).
The darker the darkness of the world gets, the brighter our light should shine.
Four of life’s deepest questions are:
- The question of Origin—where we came from;
- The question of Meaning;
- The question of Morality, and
- The question of Destiny.
As for origin, if a person says there is no God, and therefore no vertical relationship, then everything in life is vain and purposeless. Is this not why our world today is so bloody? There is no right or wrong.
So, how do we defend our faith?
1. First, we sanctify (set apart) Christ in our hearts. How?
- Love God with all your heart.
- Love your neighbor as yourself.
We are made in the image of God, so we must love other people, no matter how much we disagree with them.
2. Our defense must transcend our words. People know who we are not merely by our words, but also by our love. We must touch other peoples lives by doing good deeds for those in need.
3. We must avoid fruitless arguments. Allow the Holy Spirit to do His work on the other person's heart. Hence, we need to be humble in heart and wise in our responses. You’re answering a questioner, not just the question. Pray for wisdom, for "a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver" (Pro 25:11).
We must not concentrate merely on our end—to bring them to Christ: the means matter too. The gospel gives you more. It is the answer to the yearning hearts of men out there. Jesus is the hope of the world. Live for Him; serve Him; and if you don’t know Him, let this be the day you ask Him into your heart. And if you know Him, then "let the light of your good deeds so shine among men that they will give glory to the Father" (Matt 5:16).