Relativism is an established doctrine of today's society. Though there are those who hold to traditional values with respect to culture and religion, the global trend is to promote the idea of "personal truth." This means that what is true for one, may not be true for another: just live out your own truth. Because of this prevailing attitude toward faith and spirituality, the Christian must be spiritually and mentally prepared to engage in apologetics. The Christian must have the proper mindset while standing in defense of the faith. Continuing our examination of I Peter 3:15-16, we find that Peter gives us the proper mindset needed for effective apologetics.
"...but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you..." (I Peter 3:15a)
As opposed to the generalized theism presented in society, the Christian has to have a passionate, unwavering fear, reverence, and respect for the Christian faith and the Lord of that faith, Jesus. Peter commanded that the Lord be sanctified in their hearts. The greek word used for sanctify here means to make holy or consecrate. If Jesus is not considered the only true person of worship, then the Christian will not see the need to defend the truth of God revealed in Christ, or if they do, it will be for the sake of lively conversation rather than an appeal to the listener to receive Christ as the only way of salvation.
In addition to Christ being sanctified in the believer's heart, Peter admonished them to be ready to give an answer. The Christian has to be, in effect, "on standby." Regardless of the day or hour, they are mentally prepared to defend their faith with a reasoned argument, fueled by their hope of eternal life. The Christian's mindset has to be governed by these exhortations of Peter to present an effective witness of Jesus Christ. In our next post, we will look more specifically at the method and/or manner that one should adhere to while in defense of the faith.