As we share our hope in Jesus with the world, we need to keep a clear conscience in seeking to live a good life before others, and in resting in the gospel, by which we are cleansed from our sin.
1 Peter 3:13-18
13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.
Peter paints a beautiful picture of holding out our gospel hope to the world. Yet, he is not only concerned with what we say; Peter cares deeply about how we say it. As we share why we have such hope in Jesus, we need to do it with gentleness, respect and a clear conscience.
Keeping a clear conscience involves two things. First, it reminds us that our words always exist in the context of our lives. When we tell people of our hope in Jesus, it matters that our lives and actions align with and adorn this hope. Our words are backed up by actions and hearts which overflow with Christ’s love and gentleness. We keep a clear conscience before others in seeking to be the gentle, loving, compassionate, just, kind people that Jesus has already set us aside to be – his holy ones. We keep a clear conscience through doing good as we tell others of our hope – even when they scorn, mock and hurt us. (Just as Jesus did – 1 Peter 2:21-23).
Yet, in our brokenness, we don’t always get this right. And so: second, and more profoundly, our consciences are clear because Jesus has covered our sin and cleansed our consciences through his death and resurrection (Heb. 9:14; 1 Peter 3:21). We ultimately keep a clear conscience as we stand upon the endless grace and forgiveness of Jesus as we share our hope; knowing his grace necessarily underpins all our efforts to do good to even those who hate us.
As we keep a clear conscience, and uphold Jesus as Lord (verse 15), we can rest in knowing that those who speak badly of us, and our King, are in Jesus’ hands, and will one day be ashamed of their slander – either in this life, as by God’s grace they repent and glorify him; or in the next life, when Jesus returns, and everyone will bow and confess Jesus as Lord (Phil. 2:10-11). Yet, either way, God is glorified, and we rest secure in Christ; and so we can gently and joyfully share our hope, even amidst suffering.
Head: What does it mean to share your gospel hope with a clear conscience?
Heart: Is there anything which weighs heavily on your conscience, such that you struggle to share your hope in Jesus? Do you need to confess in prayer, seek someone to share a burden with, or meditate on God’s promises to you in Christ?
Hands: What are practical ways for you to seek to live a good life before others, as a witness to your hope, and Jesus’ lordship in your life?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the imperishable hope which I have in Christ. Thank you that you use me, as part of your church, to hold out this precious hope to others. Help me to keep a good conscience as I seek to do good even to those who scorn or hurt me, and to rest in Christ’s lordship, grace and forgiveness. Amen.
A song to listen to: Our Saviour & Our King https://open.spotify.com/track/6nEBqnoR8SxyiU4aIegDHc
This Grow Daily was originally posted as part of the Must See Passages series in 2016. During the School Holidays we take the opportunity to look back at the best of Grow Dailys over the years.