The word “apologetics” is derived from the Greek word apologia, which means to give an answer or make a defense. In seminary I took classes in apologetics, which were designed to prepare the student to provide a defense of the Christian faith. The ground we covered was far-reaching, including the person and work of Jesus Christ, the reliability of Scripture, biblical evidence in history and archeology, answering objections, and refuting various cults.
We are called by God to be able to give an apologia for our faith.
In your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you . . .(1 Peter 3:15 ESV)
Since coming to faith in Christ in 1995, God has been gracious to renew my mind through the truths of the Gospel and equip me to make a defense for my faith. But I have learned over the years that beyond everything that can be learned from seminary training in apologetics, there is one thing God in Christ gives to every one of His children to use in defending their faith: LOVE! Love is the final apologetic.
When an unbelieving world sees us loving in radical and unconditional ways, they need no other apologia for proving Christianity. Love is the final apologetic of the reality of the Gospel. It convinces those who are touched by it that the Christian faith is as real as it is remarkable. When fallen, broken, and hurting people are loved in radical and unconditional ways by other fallen, broken, and hurting people who have been saved by grace, they begin to believe that God the Father sent God the Son to die on a cross for their sins, so that they might have eternal life.
By sharing with everyone the love we have been given in Christ, regardless of the cost or circumstance, we display a Gospel that is as attractive as it is attracting. It slays suspicion, destroys doubts, and unravels unbelief. It conquers the heart that beats for the self and the will that is oriented inward. It draws people away from self-protection, which opens the doorway leading to self-sacrifice. Love is the final apologetic because love is the greatest of all gifts.
Now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13)
So . . . how well have you been defending the faith lately? What kind of Gospel have you been putting on display for the watching world? How attractive is your God? How loving? The more deeply we understand the truths of the Gospel, the better apologists we become. Whenever you need another quick “class” or “lesson” on apologetics, marinate for a bit in what has come to be known as “The Love Chapter” in the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13.
God’s love for us is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). That means you cannot cast a shadow over His love for you, no matter what you do. Nothing can separate you from the love of Christ (Romans 8:38-39). Blood-bought and eternally His, let us defend our faith daily with a love that lifts others up and leads them to our Savior.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!