Model of godly wives and husbands
1 Peter 3: 1-7
Hope in a world that is not our home
1 “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct. 3 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewellery, or the clothing you wear— 4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. 5 For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. 7 Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honour to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you[a] of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.” (ESV)
Context: In 1 Peter, Peter is reminding the believers in the first century who were scattered in various countries, that there is hope beyond this earthly life. They are scattered, they are in a foreign land, they face many trials and temptations, they face a deep sense of insecurity, they face persecutions in a literal sense. But Peter is encouraging them saying – “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” (Chapt. 2:21)
And today this epistle is also reminding and encouraging us 21st century believers that we are pretty much like a chosen people living in exile, like those in the 1st century. Remember we are not this world anymore though we still live in this world. As believers our ultimate “citizenship is in Heaven” (Phil. 3:20).
We are rather called to be the salt and the light in this dark world. The world we live in is dark and tainted with all sorts of wickedness and sins.
And as people saved solely by the grace of God, we are called to live a life worthy of that immensely generous grace.
In the midst of persecution and sufferings, Peter encourages believers to live a godly life. Humbly submitting to authorities. In other words, Looking at Christ as a perfect example, believers are to have the sense of humility to submit to their authorities wherever they are.
In Chapter 2 Peter writes about submitting to Governmental authority and then goes on to write about Slaves to submit to their Masters.
Chapter 2 verse 19b: “CONSCIOUS OF GOD”
Chapter 2 verse 21, Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example….
(In some sense today’s passage is pretty straightforward).
1. Characteristics of godly wives:
- Be submissive
- Submission here doesn’t mean wives are to do whatever the husbands says. And it doesn’t mean that husbands are to abuse their power and authority over their wives.
- Husbands and Wives are equal in all spheres of life, just a slight difference in roles and responsibilities.
- Husbands and wives are saved by the grace of God.
- So this Submission in chapter 3 is not to say that wives are inferior to their husbands. It is just in the order of godly family that God instructs the wives to acknowledge the husbands as the head. It is more for family functional purpose and not in the sense of who is superior and inferior.
- The Triune God – God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit are equal in their status but functions in a different way. Jesus submits to the authority of God his father. But was Jesus equal to his father? Absolutely.
- Wives are to nurture gentleness and quiet spirit – unfading beauty.
- Marriages since Adam and Eve, have been tough because of sin. I think it is getting more and more difficult, because divorces are ever increasing around the world. Of the many factors contributing towards divorce, one of the factor, I believe is when we pursue outward beauty at the expense of neglecting the inner unfading beauty. The outward beauty will eventually fades but the inner quality of a godly characters will remain.
- The thing about cultivating an inner unfading beauty (in this context) by wives, is that even an unbelieving husbands can come to Christ through their godly behaviours.
- (Complementarian vs Egalitarian views of Husband-wife relationship)
Wives are instructed to be submissive to their husbands.
It reciprocates with an instruction to husbands to be considerate to their wives.
Ephesians 5 talks about a God desired Christian Household system were Wives are ask to submit to their husbands AS TO THE LORD, and husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the Church.
2. Characteristics of godly husbands:
- Be considerate to your wife
- Be respectful to your wife
- So that your prayers will not be hindered.
- Your prayer life and your treatment to your wife has a direct connection.
- Spiritual fellowship with God and with one another will be hindered by disregarding God’s instruction concerning husband-wife relationships.
Main Point: Peter is encouraging and challenging Christian wives and husbands in the midst of persecution to live an exemplary lives.
I mentioned in my preaching on the series of Biblical Dating and Relationship, that we go through in the month of May, that it takes times to build a character that is commendable and formidable.
A woman cannot say that I will have a godly character once I get married. Likewise, a man cannot say I will be a godly husband. It takes time and trials.
No matter what situation we are in, we are to live a life worthy of God’s saving grace.