<quote from Real Faith & Reason>
“But sanctify [Literally: purify] the Lord God in your hearts [your inner being]: and be ready always to give an answer [Greek: apologia, literally: rational response] to every man who asks you a reason [Greek: logos. Note: Christ is the logos/utterance] of the hope that is in you [your inner being] with meekness [Literally: a gentle spirit] and fear [Literally: reverence or terror].” (1 Peter 3:15 King James Version)
We’ll begin by confessing that we Christians have taken the word “apologia” out of context at times in the past. We’ve used the word to justify human debate tactics and to justify unsound human logic without true premises. Sometimes, we’ve used this word as an excuse for unholy witnessing that doesn’t have the goal of bringing anyone to Christ. For example, there’s a form of witnessing that, if stated plainly, would say, “I’m better than you,” or it might say, “I’m smarter than you,” and that’s not what God meant in 1 Peter 3:15.
In the exact opposite mindset, we don’t bother trying to analyze who’s better, smarter, or more spiritually mature since we have no basis for measurement of those things. We don’t even think about who’s going to rule in the kingdom, but we just want to be faithful in what God has given us to do right now. Truly, we want God to remove this fleshly veil so the glory of Christ shines through us to those around us.
Now we go back to the start of the scriptural command to find that it begins with sanctification. “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts.” To sanctify is to purify. As God tells us to purify the Lord God in our innermost beings, we realize that it’s a command and also a promise, but how do we fulfill this command and promise? If we’re going to purify Christ in our innermost minds, God has a process for this purification as we might expect. It’s by grace, which is through faith. And we’ve already looked into that, but we need to apply it here.
The righteousness of Christ leads to this holiness. This holiness is sanctification or purification. (Romans 6:9) Righteousness is a gift from God that comes by grace through faith as we yield our minds and the members of our bodies to His grace, as we yield ourselves to Him. In broad terms, God leads, we acknowledge and yield, faith comes and gives access to grace, and we allow God’s grace to do His works through us moment by moment. Of course, the Holy Spirit won’t force us to do His will if we oppose Him, but rather, it all depends on us willingly staying in His presence yielded to His will.
The main point is that purification of Christ in us is the first step in giving an answer to everyone who asks us for a reason of the hope in us. Therefore, without yielding to His Spirit in submission, we can’t fulfill this command and promise of Scripture. And we only receive true authority in the spiritual realm as we submit to God’s authority. Therefore, as we yield ourselves to God, He does His works through us. He transforms our minds to be like His mind, which builds Christ and kills the fleshly nature, and He delegates His authority to us in the moment as we submit in the moment.
At our current state of immaturity, we may become discouraged since we know that we fall short of His glory and often walk or slip out of His will. However, we trust God instead of trusting ourselves, and we look for the ongoing teaching, correcting, and purifying that comes from the Holy Spirit as He is actively involved in our daily lives. We remember His promise:
“Commit your works to the LORD, and your thoughts shall be established.” (Proverbs 16:3 American King James Version)
So God tells us to sanctify (purify) the Lord God in our hearts. “Hearts,” as the word appears here, doesn’t refer to the physical organ that pumps blood through our bodies, but rather, it speaks of our innermost beings. “For out of the heart are the issues of life.”
“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify [purify] you completely, and may your entire spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23 Berean Study Bible)
The word that’s translated as “soul,” here is also translated “heart,” “mind,” or “life” in other verses. And Paul was in travail as the Holy Spirit was forming Christ in the hearts of the Galatians. (Galatians 4:19) Scripture speaks of Christ in us, which is the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27) But each of us also has a fallen, carnal, brute-beast mind that causes us to make mistakes and draws us into temptation. That means there’s need for purification, but what are we purifying? As the Scripture says, we purify the Lord God in our hearts, but isn’t He pure already? Of course He’s pure. However, we aren’t pure because each of us has an impure sinful nature, and God is serious about overcoming our sinful natures.
He’s our wisdom, righteousness, holiness, and freedom from sin. We purify Him in our hearts, and purification gives clarity and discernment. Purification defines the line between God’s revelation and the flesh’s lying illusions. In essence, purification removes the fleshly sarx carnal nature. Purification is the removal of the fleshly veil.
If we’re going to obey 1 Peter 3:15, we must “purify the Lord God in our hearts,” but purification is a progressive process. Through Scripture, God speaks of purification in 1 Peter 1:7, “so that the authenticity of your faith–more precious than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation [apokalupsis, which means the removal of the veil] of Jesus Christ.” And since God’s will goes against our sinful nature, it’s like fire refining the gold—some refinements and purifications requiring more heat than others. Gold is symbolic of deity, which is Christ in us. This refining fire removes the veil that hides Christ in us.
We can look into this purification and this clarity of vision using an analogy. If we fill a clear water glass with dirt, we can’t see through the glass. But if we start adding clear water, the water begins to wash the dirt out of the glass, and soon, instead of pure dirt, we have muddy water. However, we still can’t see through the muddy water. Though it’s true that some light comes through, there’s no clarity of vision. The point is that we can eventually remove all the mud by adding water. On the other hand, if we add mud instead of water, we make progress backward away from clarity.
So the command is this: “Sanctify the Lord God in your heart.” “Purify the Lord God in your innermost mind.” Since this sanctification is the first step to following the command of 1 Peter 3:15, we can’t truly fulfill this command without purifying the Lord God in our innermost minds to some extent. And since purification is a progressive process, we can expect to find ever-greater clarity as we continue to submit ourselves to the flowing water of the Holy Spirit.
Moving on, according to 1 Peter 3:15, God tells us to give “an answer to every person who asks us for a reason of the hope in us.” And we already know the word that’s translated as “answer” is the Greek word “apologia,” which means “a reasoned response” or “a verbal defense.” But what is equally important is the word that’s translated as “reason” from the Greek word “logos.” Since we looked at “logos” earlier, we remember that “logos” literally means “utterance,” but a key point is that “logos” is also used to refer to Christ. “In the beginning was the logos, and the logos was with God, and the logos was God.” (John 1:1)
Therefore, this word is referring to Christ, Christ in us, the hope of glory. He’s the One we’re purifying in our hearts. Logos is also the Greek word from which we get the word “logic.” So when we speak, God asks us to speak the Living Word, the Logos. Only when Christ speaks through us can we give a reasoned response with sound logic. God commands us to speak as His oracles, but this speaking requires submission to the Holy Spirit. We submit to every God-set authority in humility and deep respect. And we need this submission if we’re going to sanctify the Lord Jesus Christ in our hearts. As we yield, the Holy Spirit progressively removes the impure fleshly veil that hides Christ in our innermost minds. When we allow the Holy Spirit to speak through us, He removes this veil, and He reveals Christ to some extent.
So, God asks us always to be ready to give a rational response to every person who asks for the Logos Who lives within us. He asks us to be ready to give a rational response to anyone who asks us a Logos of the hope in us. But what about this hope? Contrary to popular opinion, God’s hope doesn’t have the same meaning as ungodly “hope.” Instead, God’s hope is real hope. God’s hope doesn’t say, “I hope so.” Instead, real hope is a vision from God of coming reality. This vision comes from Christ in us, the hope of glory. And since God’s hope has vision, and that vision is certain, we see God’s vision by hope.
By hope, we see the vision of our unique identities in Christ, and we see the vision of how our identities fit into the body of Christ. We identify with the Christ, the Spiritual Man within us rather than identifying with our fleshly selves. He is the ministry within each of us, and we see Him as if looking into a mirror. We see how we’ll fulfill this vision if we’re faithful as we individually fit into the body of Christ as particular members. We discern the gifts, ministries, offices, and orders of the body of Christ by this vision, so the hope in us is Christ formed in us, in our innermost minds. And we never forget that we’re all going through this transformation together as one body of Christ. Each member discerns Christ in the others, and we assemble ourselves into God’s order for the body. Obviously, He’ll form His body according to the pattern of Scripture. And He’ll form His body by the Holy Spirit working through the individual members as they assemble themselves in unity and order.
Therefore, God’s hope is solid reality. It has substance. However, if we think that “hope” is something we make-up, just a concept or fabrication, we commit an anti-concreteness fallacy. Anti-concreteness treats reality as if it were made-up stuff. Christ isn’t a concept, but rather, He’s the Reality, and He’s the Truth. In the same way, God’s hope isn’t a concept either, but rather, it’s Reality and Truth.
When compared, God’s utterance in 1 Peter 3:15 confirms and elaborates on what God says through 1 Corinthians 1:17-25. In these cases, He commands us to have a reasonable response, but not human reasoning without divine revelation since we’ve already discovered that human reason without divine revelation can’t be rational. It can’t be sound because if we reason without divine revelation, we’ll be irrational.
We already know why. It’s because we need a true premise to reason rationally, and we can only have a true premise by revelation. If we try to reason without revelation, we root our reasoning in made-up stuff, and basing statements on made-up stuff isn’t rational. Therefore, if we let God guide our thoughts and communications, He’ll make our reasoning sane, but without God, there’s no sanity.
When we purify the Lord God in our hearts, people notice the holiness. People notice when we’re keeping pace with the Holy Spirit. They sense the presence of the Holy One of Israel living in our beings. And since the Almighty Creator God lives in us, we can sense His presence and hear His voice. Even ungodly thinkers can sense a difference in us regardless of whether they understand that they’re seeing Christ in our lives. Of course, those who know Christ also sense His presence in us as they discern the body of Christ. When someone asks us about the Christ in us, we respond to the question with a proclamation from God’s throne. In other words, we respond to the question with an utterance from God, and this reasoned response comes out of the Lord God in our innermost minds (hearts). This reasoned response is an utterance from God. This utterance is the essence of Christ. It has the same authority and power that created the universe. But now He speaks to reveal the Word of Life to another soul.
“to every man who asks you a reason”
Since Christ dwells in us, if we allow Jesus to be visible, someone is more likely to ask about Him. But some Christians are afraid to identify with Christ. Perhaps they fear peer pressure, ostracism, or lost prestige. Perhaps they grew weary of the veiled threats of termination, veiled threats of denied tenure, and shabby treatment. Maybe they want the money and prestige that comes to those who go with the flow, or it’s possible they just want to fit into the world as everyone else does. Though we can dream up many potential reasons, Christ doesn’t approve if we deny Him or fail to give Him all the glory and praise.
Have you read this FREE book yet? “Real Faith & Reason” gives the absolutely certain proof of the Bible and the God of the Bible and shows how you can have real faith. This is faith that changes situations and transfigures you from glory to glory.