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Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.  (1 Peter 2:12, NIV)

Earlier this week, Belfast bakery owner Daniel McArthur lost his appeal against discrimination for refusing to bake and decorate a cake with the slogan “Support Gay Marriage”.  The McArthurs felt unable to do this on grounds of their conscience as Christians, as those who believe in the contemporary relevance and God-given nature of the Bible.

In a sense this case breaks new ground.  The case is not about the bakery saying anything offensive; rather, it is because they refused to be part of saying something they profoundly disagreed with. Clearly there is a vital free speech issue here, as The Guardian comments.

But something else caught my attention: Daniel and his wife Amy’s response to the verdict. Take three minutes to look at this and you’ll see how they witness unashamedly to their trust in Christ.  I love the appropriateness of the fact that he’s called Daniel!

In church on Sunday evenings we are looking at 1 Peter.  In the verse quoted above, which we reach this Sunday, Peter assumes that the unbelieving world will look at the distinct lifestyle of Christians and accuse them of doing wrong.  In view of this, our temptation would be to panic, and try to blend in.  In the face of opposition from secular Britain, this is a peculiarly big temptation for the churches at the moment.

But Peter says that it is as we continue to live distinctively for Christ that heads are turned and people come to glorify God – by which he almost certainly means conversion.  And that’s it: if you and I are Christians today, it’s probably because we met Christians who weren’t ashamed of the truth, but had the courage to live it out, even when difficult.

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