God Sanctified in the Heart
1 Peter 3:14-17
But and if you suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are you: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;…

"Sanctifying the Lord God" means, not making Him holy, for He is already most holy, but regarding Him as holy, treating Him, the idea of Him, and all that is His, sacredly, and in a manner different from that in which we regard all other things and ideas. Then, further, it means treating Him as thus holy, not only in our outward deeds or words, but in our secret hearts, where men do not see us nor know what passes in us. And we must remember, moreover, that when the Apostle says, "Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts," he does not only give us a negative rule, as though he said, "Think of God no otherwise than reverently," but he gives us a plain affirmative one, "Ever have the thought of Him before your pure minds, and take care that it be a holy, reverent, and most sacred thought." To sanctify the Lord God in our hearts, therefore, is to keep up by every means in our power a holy regard of Him. And again, sanctifying the Lord God in our hearts must surely, as a Christian precept, have a more specific meaning, for not only do we believe that the great God is, from the very force and meaning of His Being and omnipotency, present always and everywhere, but we believe that the Deity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, are in some more signal and more mysterious way present and indwelling in the hearts of those who have been made children of God and inheritors of the kingdom of heaven. This sanctifying of the Lord God in our hearts forms, as it were, the real safeguard and sanctification of our imaginations. It will serve to keep holy much within us which is very apt to run wild. For consider what a large portion of our lives there is of which we take little or no account at all, which we think little of as it passes, nor remember when it is past. Consider, for instance, in any day for what a small proportion of the hours we can give an account or recall the true and real occupation of our imaginations and feelings. It is in this respect, then, that the "sanctifying of the Lord God in our hearts" becomes so signally important. This we may maintain always. In activity and repose, by night and by day, in all seasons and circumstances, the sacred thought of God before us, God with us, will abash every thought and feeling which is at variance with His will. Is it of fear of men and their ill-treatment of us? How can such fear remain or be effectual with us if we habitually remember who and what He is, who is all-powerful and all-present? Is it a thought of unholiness or impurity? How can it stand and not perish from our minds if they are accustomed by constant effort to represent to themselves hourly the sanctity of God, who dwelleth in them? Is it a thought of unkindness, ill-opinion, disrespect? How, again, can it live in a heart which is continually recalling itself to remember that the Lord God, who is infinitely great and infinitely good, dwells within it? Is it a feeling of vexation or impatience when things do not go exactly as we would have them, or when bodily pain or distress assails us? How soon will that heart check and calm its impatience, which is habitually taking pains to keep the sacred thought of God before it — God in His sanctity, His majesty, God who dwelleth in our hearts!

(Bp. Moberly.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;

WEB: But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you are blessed. "Don't fear what they fear, neither be troubled."

God Reverenced in the Heart
Top of Page
Top of Page