1 Peter 2: 15 (NRSVA)
15 For it is God’s will that by doing right you should silence the ignorance of the foolish.
I have some really great friends locally. I play music with them. I go to gigs or have a pint in the local (award winning!) pub. Great friends but, on one fundamental point, we do not see eye to eye. They are not believers. In fact, one chum would say he is anti-theist rather than simply atheist.
This guy — let’s call him Bill — would say he just cannot comprehend why anyone would believe. He hates the things the church has got wrong over the centuries (me too) but he doesn’t like much of “our moral position” and he believes faith is not rational. He thinks — although he’s usually too polite to say — that we’re all deluded fools.
This verse is but one of the places where the Bible says “hang on a minute” — who is the fool? The Bible tells us that the foolish thing to do is ignore God, or treat him as if he doesn’t exist. It’s foolish to turn away from Jesus and it’s foolish to think that there are no consequences when we do.
Bill would agree with the writer of this verse that we should do good things. But he says the instinct to do that comes from our evolutionary need for self-preservation.
What separates us from Bill is our faith in Jesus as our saviour. Bill’s good works won’t get him to heaven by themselves (he doesn’t think it is real, or even a good idea), but nor will mine. The power of any good works done by Christians is that we do them in gratitude for what Jesus has done. And in doing so, we become more Christ-like. The more we model Christ, the more people see what is and isn’t foolish.
Lord Jesus, help us every day and in every way to recognise what you have done for us. Show us all the ways we can be more like you in our love for your world and your people. Encourage us to do all the good we can even where we look foolish to the world. Amen.