“Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.” (1 Peter 2:11–12)
In our day, it is common for those around us to speak evil against Christianity. You need not look far to find accusations of hatred and oppression being levelled against those who seek to align their lives with the truths of Scripture. Many now unquestioningly believe that Christians are a hateful people who need to be silenced at all costs, and this fundamentally changes the way God’s people must seek to interact with the world around them. In the midst of a culture that views Christians with such negativity, how are we to respond? One of the primary answers we receive from Scripture comes from the apostle Peter, and the answer he provides is both deceptively simple and remarkably profound: Do good!
Our world is broken, and I think you would be hard pressed to find anyone who would disagree. At the core of this brokenness is the human heart—tainted by sin and enslaved to what Peter calls “the passions of the flesh.” People commit acts of evil because of the passions of the flesh, and evil continues to flourish because the passions of the flesh can not be overcome by human willpower alone. In the midst of this brokenness, Christians are given the ability to be different—to stand out from the crowd—by the God who empowers once-sinful people to overcome the passions of the flesh and do good from a renewed heart.
As Christians, we do not seek to do good to make ourselves right before God. We also do not seek to do good to be seen by others—to puff up our pride and show people how wonderful we are. Rather, we know that our standing before God is entirely founded upon the perfect righteousness of Jesus; we could have done nothing to earn our salvation, and we certainly have no ground to boast about the results! Instead, we seek to do good as an outworking of the grace that we have been given and out of thankfulness to the God who saved when we did not deserve it.
While many may speak evil against Christians, Peter tells us that we have the ability to change minds—not through argument or debate, but through reflecting the goodness of our God by the good deeds He empowers us to accomplish. Our calling is to be so good, so kind, so compassionate, and so loving that those very same people who speak evil against Christianity would be forced to re-evaluate their beliefs when they come into contact with actual Christians! May our church be a place of such love and such goodness that all who come into contact with us would see what a remarkable and profound difference the gospel truly makes!
All the best,
Missional Action Prayer: Father, thank you for the salvation that You have given to me in Jesus. Empower me to be a light in a dark world through the good deeds that you empower me to accomplish. Amen.