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First Peter
Chapter 3
verses 12-17
King James Version

12) For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open
unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.
13) And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is
good?
14) But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not
afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;
15) But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an
answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with
meekness and fear:
16) Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of
evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation
in Christ.
17) For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than
for evil doing.

Ross’ Revised Paraphrase

12) Because the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and His ears are
open to their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.
13) And who is he who will harm you, if you are followers of that which is
good?
14) But and if you suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are happy and
are not afraid of the terror, neither are you troubled.
15) But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and always be ready to give an
answer to every man who asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with
meekness and fear:
16) Having a good conscience: so although they speak evil of you, as of
evildoers, they may be ashamed who falsely accuse your good lifestyle in
Christ.
17) For it is better, if the will of God be so, that you suffer for doing right,
than for doing evil.

The Lord watches over His people, caring for them and protecting them. He
hears their prayers and pleas, whenever and wherever they are offered.
However, it is a different matter when dealing with those who are doing
what is wrong and evil.

Who harms the righteous? Judgment and punishment are for those who do
evil. But there are times the righteous will be punished by the wicked for
doing what is right. In those instances the righteous can remain happy
because of a clear conscience. Their relationship with God -- realizing that
God is over them, watching them and caring for them -- allows them to
remain unafraid and without worry. Nothing is more powerful, and power
inspiring, than a clear conscience.

“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is
the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and
persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my
sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for
so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” (KJV – Matthew 5:
10-12)

Praise God, remember that He is holy. Remember that He is the Creator – He
is El Shaddai, the Almighty – the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph –
the Great I AM who spoke to Moses out of the burning bush – Jehovah,
Yaweh, the eternally existing One who remembers His covenants and
promises.

And be willing, able and ready to speak of God and His Son, Jesus the
Christ. The hope living within the heart of the Christian is there for a
reason. Explain that to those you meet and ask why you live in hope. Explain
why you believe in God – explain why you believe in Jesus – explain why
you are a Christian. Explain why you believe. This doesn’t have to be a
doctoral dissertation. This doesn’t have to be complicated. Just articulate
why you are a Christian. You are the expert on that subject. The arguments
or reasons that convinced you can and will convince others.

But do it with “meekness and fear.” Be humble. Remember you are the
creature, and you are a sinner. Without the grace andmercy of God, you
could not be saved. You are an “unprofitable servant.”

“So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are
commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that
which was our duty to do.” (KJV -- Luke 17:10).

Be respectful of God and of His Christ. I joke constantly. Rarely am I serious.
But all of that changes when I speak about our Creator and our Savior.
Respect God. Realize that He will judge “every idle word.”

“But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall
give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be
justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” (KJV -- Matthew 12:
36,37)

Every man will be judged according to “the things done in his body,
according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (KJV – 2
Corinthians 5:10)

Everything said, must be in recognition of your relationship with God and
with His Christ.

It is better, if God so wills, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. Not
that it is better to suffer, but if yuou have to choose – it is better to suffer
with a clear conscience. Let the guilt be the property of the persecutor.
There is an old Swedish proverb: “There is no pillow so soft, as a clear
conscience.”