20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20–21, NKJV)
It is essential that the church honors God for the abundant “power that works in us.” Notably, it is “in the church by Christ Jesus” that God’s measureless power is glorified. So, the church is essential. It is essential for the church to know how to give God honor and glory. The church honors God being faithful to obey His will. You see, Jesus died for His church to sanctify it, so it will not have “spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:26-27). God’s will is our sanctification (1 Thessalonians 4:3). Therefore, we must love God and not the world (1 John 2:15-17). When Christians defy the will of God and love the world, Christ is shamed and God is dishonored. The church must do more than say it honors God in Christ. Christians must reflect honor for God by how we live. This is done by obeying Him faithfully. This is how to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). Such obedience is when and how God’s power works in us (Philippians 2:13). Trust God’s power. Live by faith, obeying Him “with fear and trembling.” He will work in you mightily, and take you home to eternal glory.
So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also. (Romans 1:15, NKJV)
Paul was eager to preach the gospel to the Christians in Rome. Not every Christian is a gospel preacher, like Paul (2 Timothy 1:11). But, every Christian must “always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15). To do that, the apostle Peter said we must sanctify (set apart) in our hearts Christ as Lord. We must recognize Christ as our supreme authority. His word rules us. He is the one to whom we submit our hearts and our lives. His word sustains our hope in Him. His word supplies the reasons we give in defense of our hope. So, we be learning and living the gospel (Hebrews 5:12-14). What we preach with our words and by our lives, shows whether we have set apart Jesus Christ in our hearts as Lord. Be sure Jesus rules in your heart. His word must prevail over everything you think and do. Proclaim His gospel with your words and by your actions. Otherwise, you have not yet sanctified Him in your heart as Lord. As such, you are unprepared to preach the gospel to others.
13 And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; (1 Peter 3:13–15, NKJV)
Peter does not say Christians will be free from harm when we follow what is good. On the contrary, suffering for the sake of righteousness will happen. God blesses the Christian who endures such troubles and threats (cf. Matt. 5:10-12). Just as God assured Isaiah that He was his “sanctuary” (holy abode and sure protection) in the face of opposition, so the Lord is for us (v. 14; Isa. 8:12-14). As you “sanctify Christ as Lord in your heart” (NASB), you will be equipped with the necessary faith to be prepared to give an answer for your hope in Christ. So that, even when you suffer for what is good, you will not grow weary. If Christ is not Lord of your life, then you will not long endure suffering for the sake of what is right. Instead of faltering when defamed for being a Christian, let us say with Paul, “For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day” (2 Tim. 1:12).
Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. (John 17:17, NKJV)
In an age when many people possess the mind of Pilate (who said, “What is truth?”), faithful Christians continue to affirm God’s word as truth (Jno. 18:38). Please note it is God’s word that is truth, not the word of human beings. The Bible is not a collection of the opinions men, or the fables of fallible men; it is the inspired, inerrant, communication of the mind of God to the world (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 1 Cor. 2:10-13; 14:37). Divine truth has the power to sanctify sinners (“to purify, to consecrate, to make holy,” Jno. 17:19). Christians are “sanctified in Christ Jesus” and therefore, “called saints” (1 Cor. 1:2). The “Holy Scriptures” make us wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15). Thus, when we believe and obey truth, we are set apart from sin and set apart unto Christ (2 Thess. 2:13-14). Have faith that God’s word is truth. It has power to save you and power to lead your life in holy and godly conduct.
14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” (John 17:14–17, NKJV)
In prayer to His Father, Jesus said He had entrusted God’s word to the apostles as a shield and a sword against the world’s opposition. The “world” that hated Jesus and His apostles is the system or cosmos of evil, “the people constituting the world whose values, beliefs, and morals are in distinction and rebellion to God’s” (Bible Sense Lexicon, Logos Bible Software). The world continues to hate the followers of Jesus because we are not of this world. God’s word of truth exposes the world’s sin. Those who love sin instead of God will hate truth and those who follow it. The world remains under the sway of “evil one” (Satan, 1 Jno. 5:19). But, God’s truth has power to set us apart from the world. As so, we are of good cheer; Christ has overcome the world (John 16:33).