It is interesting that even though 2000 years separate us from those Peter is addressing in 1 Peter, we can see that they struggled in the same way that we do.  Society has certainly changed, but the deeper struggles are just as relevant as they were then.  And God’s Word and truth can speak into our lives just as it did back then.

Peter was addressing around 5 to 6 churches, and those churches were experiencing difficulty being in a Christian in their areas.  So he asks, “Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?”  He is speaking directly to what drives his readers.  Did they make decisions based on going with the flow, what is easiest, by fear, or were they driven for other reasons?

Peter then quotes regarding fear.  In , the Jews were being threatened by an opposing army.  And fear began to effect them.  But God tells them to not fear the threats.  And those threats come from the enemy’s fears.  The world wants us to fear that which the world is afraid of.  So if we do not fear, the world will be amazed (or stunned) when we stand in the midst of the problems of the world unafraid.

But God is working through us, and what we do speaks into eternity.  We read in James that we are suppose to go through troubles in joy!  That is tough, but God has proven that

So how can we prepare ourselves to handle the persecution of the world?  First is to set apart Jesus as Lord in our hearts.  He will give us strength.  Secondly, we are to always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.  But we are called to deliver that answer gentleness and respect.  And this respect comes apart from whether respect is returned.  Our response is not dictated by the actions of those we are speaking to.

So as we move forward, giving a defense for Christ, and push away fear, we are to have a good conscience.  This doesn’t mean we are perfect, but means that we address our weaknesses and walk in righteousness.  It might mean that we apologize when we do wrong or correct what we have previously said or done wrongly.

But when the world slanders us, and it will, it will actually be their conscience that will weigh heavy.  That it will be obvious who the offender is, and others will recognize the wrongs against you.  But we are to live for Christ in every situation.  Because even in suffering, it is worth doing good over evil.

13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? (ESV)

14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, (ESV)

8:1 Then the Lord said to me, “Take a large tablet and write on it in common characters, ‘Belonging to Maher-shalal-hash-baz.’ And I will get reliable witnesses, Uriah the priest and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah, to attest for me.”

And I went to the prophetess, and she conceived and bore a son. Then the Lord said to me, “Call his name Maher-shalal-hash-baz; for before the boy knows how to cry ‘My father’ or ‘My mother,’ the wealth of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria will be carried away before the king of Assyria.”

The Lord spoke to me again: “Because this people has refused the waters of Shiloah that flow gently, and rejoice over Rezin and the son of Remaliah, therefore, behold, the Lord is bringing up against them the waters of the River, mighty and many, the king of Assyria and all his glory. And it will rise over all its channels and go over all its banks, and it will sweep on into Judah, it will overflow and pass on, reaching even to the neck, and its outspread wings will fill the breadth of your land, O Immanuel.”

Be broken, you peoples, and be shattered;
give ear, all you far countries;
strap on your armor and be shattered;
strap on your armor and be shattered.
10 Take counsel together, but it will come to nothing;
speak a word, but it will not stand,
for God is with us.

11 For the Lord spoke thus to me with his strong hand upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying: 12 “Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. 13 But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. 14 And he will become a sanctuary and a stone of offense and a rock of stumbling to both houses of Israel, a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 15 And many shall stumble on it. They shall fall and be broken; they shall be snared and taken.”

16 Bind up the testimony; seal the teaching among my disciples. 17 I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him. 18 Behold, I and the children whom the Lord has given me are signs and portents in Israel from the Lord of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion. 19 And when they say to you, “Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,” should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living? 20 To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn. 21 They will pass through the land, greatly distressed and hungry. And when they are hungry, they will be enraged and will speak contemptuously against their king and their God, and turn their faces upward. 22 And they will look to the earth, but behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish. And they will be thrust into thick darkness. (ESV)

12 “Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. (ESV)

15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, (ESV)

16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil. (ESV)