Apologetics NOT Apologizing
So what does all of this mean? We have no shame to share the gospel, we have no fear of what will happen when we share the gospel…so…what do we do now? For the answer to this question we go to 1 Peter 3:14-16.
14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.” 15 But in your hearts set apart 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 behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.(1 Peter 3:14-16, NIV)
Here Peter reasserts why it is important to not be afraid. That even if you suffer, the Lord is with you. Peter asks to not be afraid of what the enemy fears. Here, in this context, he is saying to not be afraid to suffer or to fear the threats of those who WILL rise up against you, but look to the Lord. Peter goes on to ask all of us to be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks.
How do you prepare for a business meeting? How do you prepare for a test? Do you study? Being prepared doesn’t mean that you go to church every Sunday and then do nothing for the rest of the week. Being prepared means having your nose in the Bible constantly. Being prepared is clothing yourself in the whole armor of God (Eph. 6:10-17), including the word of God. Being prepared is expanding your knowledge so that you can be effective and productive while serving Christ (2 Peter 1:5-8).
In the middle of v. 15, Peter tells us to be prepared to give a defense or answer to everyone who asks. Here is where “Apologetics” comes in. Apologetics is not what it sounds like. It is NOT apologizing; it IS defending your faith. The Greek word that is translated “to give an answer” above and “give a defense” in other translations is “apologia”- thus the term “apologetics”.
1 Peter 3:15 is the result of having no fear and no shame because of your great love for Jesus and his word. You should have no fear or shame because YOU have to be prepared to give a defense of the Lord to anyone who asks. First, notice that the only qualifier attached to this statement is a defense to EVERYONE who asks. There is no qualifier that would allow you to skip your answer because of your location, or because of WHO “everyone” happens to consist of.
Next, Peter tells you how to defend and provide the answer. Peter tells us that we need to answer everyone with gentleness and respect. So provide an answer, but do so respectfully. Why should we do so respectfully? Peter makes the point explicit. We make our defense so that we can keep a clear conscience. That way if the people we are answering speak against us THEY will be ashamed of themselves.
The point here is that they are armed and set against you. WHY give them any more ammunition? If you act like an idiot when professing the faith, how much do you want to bet that within 5 minutes after your answer they are telling a friend “What a real Christian, he/she was mean spirited, and disrespectful”. How’s that faith working out for you? The point: don’t be over zealous, and stay within the spirit when you give your answer (Colossians 4:6). Have you ever heard the phrase “He/She’s trying to hard”? That is what we’re trying to avoid here.
Have you been in a conversation where someone makes you feel guilty for believing what you do? Almost to the point where you want to apologize for professing your faith? NO APOLOGIZING. Folks, all of us have to understand that we have one mission in life, to Glorify God. This can be done any number of ways, but it cannot be done if you feel guilty or if you feel a need to apologize to someone for what you believe.
Be respectful when sharing your faith, be knowledgeable when you share your faith, but do not be ashamed or apologize for what you believe in. What do you have to apologize for?!?! If you have trusted in Jesus, you have been granted the greatest gift of all of humanity (a relationship with the God of the Universe). Rejoice and be happy. Don’t be afraid, don’t be ashamed, SHARE YOUR FAITH, DEFEND YOUR FAITH. It is not enough to CALL yourself a Christian – BE one! James 2:14-26 calls on us to do more than have faith. Christ calls on us to put his words to practice, not just to read them (Matthew 7:26). We should all be motivated to SERVE the Lord (Colossians 3:23, 2 Corinthians 5:10).
If we were to look at No shame + No fear = No Apologizing from as a Biblical formula it would look like this: Romans 1:14-16 + 2 Timothy 1:7-9 = 1 Peter 3:15-16. If you have shame it will alter the formula and ultimately the outcome. If you have fear it will alter the formula. The absence of both shame and fear have to exist in order to get the answer of 1 Peter 3:15-16. To borrow a phrase from the 9/11 tragedy: “Let’s Roll!” Let’s get to it without shame, without fear – with NO APOLOGIZING!