No One Comes to the Father Except Through Me
by Gregory Winfield
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1 Peter 3:15 - 16 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, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. NIV
For many years this scripture scared me. Although I loved studying the bible and felt confident that I could explain the fundamentals of what I believe, I feared being attacked by members of religions who's life's calling seemed to be proving traditional Christianity wrong. My interpretation of 1 Peter 3:15 was that I should be the "Bible Answer Man", always ready and willing to verbally spar and participate in "Bible Wars" with people. I was absolutely wrong in my interpretation. Somehow I missed the words "gentleness, respect, and good behavior" in 1 Peter 3:15.
Our hope is in our Savior and soon coming King Jesus Christ and the salvation He provided for us on the cross. I have no trouble explaining that. But how do you handle someone who wants to spar or prove what you believe wrong?
Small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life and only a few find it....Matthew 7:14 NIV
I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me....John 14:6 NIV
OK, let's face it. We Christians are narrow minded. We believe our way is the only right way. We have a Father who absolutely left no doubt that Jesus is the only way to eternal life. But we, as fishers of men, must be led by the Holy Spirit in how we convey our beliefs or we run the risk of chasing off the fish. So when we encounter someone who wants to debunk our beliefs we must allow gentleness, respect and good behavior to speak on Christ's behalf.....the same gentleness, respect and good behavior that was spoken about in 1 Peter 3:15.
Heated bible debates have a way of getting out of hand quickly. Particularly with people who really arenít seeking answers. Be careful to avoid those whose goal is to discredit our God and in the process cause us to behave in a way that doesnít honor Christ.
Sometimes a calm response or even no response at all can speak louder than yelling at the top of our lungs. Allow your consistent good character to be your defense against your attackers. Live your life in such a way that when someone tries to slander you, as the scripture says, even they will be ashamed at what they had to say about you.
And after many days of watching your lifestyle of commitment to your belief, when they come to you in private seeking honest answers to the hope that lies within you, you will be able to share into the fertile ground of their heart the undeniable power of the Spirit of God.
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