May 21, 2017 - A Reason for Your Hope

Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts.
Always be ready to give an explanation
to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope,
but do it with gentleness and reverence.

Peter 3:15

It sounds like Peter is exhorting us to be ready to offer proofs of God's existence. But proof-seeking runs counter to other passages in Scripture (See April 23, 2017 - Proof of God's Existence) and we must acknowledge that it is not possible to objectively prove (or disprove) God's existence.  

Perhaps Peter is asking us to justify how faith's values differ from secular values. But their content is virtually identical: both encourage kindness, charity, and humility. 

The difference may be in what motivates us.  Both the faithful and secular people are motivated by the human instinct toward altruism, we want to avoid punishment and receive reward (whether its earthly or otherwise), and we want to be well regarded.

But Peter's exhortation suggests another motivation exclusive to people of faith:  the impulse to sanctify ourselves and make ourselves worthy of the divine attention humanity receives. This would be nonsensical to an atheist, but to a person of faith may well be the principal aim of a well-lived life.