SUBMIT YOURSELF FOR THE LORDS SAKE PART THREE
1 Peter 3:1-7
Peter uses Isaiah 53 as a back drop to how we are to respond and behave in this fallen world. Whether it be those in human institutions, to those who over us in the workplace; we do this to emulate Christ’s life, as His servants. We cease being the sheep that was so easily led astray due to sin; and now we are servants of righteousness. Why? Because of Christ, and we now demonstrate humility by entrusting in the One who judges justly. And by doing that we are removing the burden of our flesh to do what we ought not to do as witnesses of His grace. We trust God will bring all things before His feet despite how we are treated in this life. This principle applies to how we treat elected officials, unjust employers. This same principle applies to wives as Peter brings this conversation about submission which really is “Honorable conduct”.
The believer, the wife’s desire is to please the
One who called her by His grace.
We would call this an “internal adornment” as Peter addresses the wives in the opening of this chapter in the matter of submission. Submission is the believers “internal adornment” because the heart has been transformed by the gospel and our lives are forever changed. Peter writes, “wives, be subject to your own husbands..” Why? For this reason. (v1b-v4) And just as Jesus was submissive and obedient to God’s will, so a Christian husband and wife should follow His example. Wives are to be subject to their own husbands, for this is God’s will for your life.
Submission Is An Obligation For The Lord’s Sake. (v1-v6)
Being a servant was extremely trying in ancient Rome, much more difficult and confused was the position of a wife. Woman was by universal consent regarded as the inferior of man, and the wife of a heathen was subject to much humiliation and wrong. In first century Greco-Roman culture women receive little or no respect. As long as they lived in their father’s house they were subject to Roman law to be under their father’s power. This grants the father ultimate life and death authority over their children. Husbands had a similar legal authority as well over the wife. Society at this time regarded women as servants who were to stay home and obey their husband. It’s interesting to note that if a woman decided to obey the gospel and change religions on her own, this could result in severe abuse from her unsaved husband.
What is a woman to do in these situations? To become a Christian for a woman was far more dangerous, and difficult, than it was if her husband converted to Christianity. The Scriptures reveal she is obligated to stay with her unbelieving husband Paul was very clear about this “If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband.” 1 Cor 7:13-14. In other words if the unsaved husband wants to maintain this relationship despite her new found religion, she must not divorce him. Yet in (v15) of 1 Cor 7 says, “But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace.”
But what I want to you to see here according to Paul in 1 Corinthians is this....The unsaved husband is blessed because of her faith in Christ, and her obedience and submission towards him.
Submission has to do with order and
authority not evaluation.
Many slaves were superior in many ways to their masters; but they still had be under their authority. An Officer Cadet may be a better person than a Colonel in the Canadian Army. But according to the Military, he is still an officer cadet who is subordinate to his Colonel. Christ is the example of submission as He submitted to the Father. And we are to do the same; it’s not a completion, especially inside the covenant of marriage. According to Paul both husband and wife are to submit to whom? “submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Eph 5:21. Peter isn’t saying you are to be like slaves or to be compared with slaves. You are to be a witness for the Lord; this is how God designed the home not… you, or me. You are to be submitting to your own husband! This doesn’t mean or imply: Moral, intellectual, spiritual weakness in the family, workplace, or society in general. We are both equally wretched sinners, but as God has ordained, His design for each role in the family they all have responsibilities in the home. One of those being for the wife to be submissive to her husband, who is the head of the home. Paul wrote and reminded the church about the order of the home. “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Saviour of the body.” Eph 5:22-23
Neither Peter nor Paul formulated the rules for a husband and a wife. God Himself has established the marital norms....(Gen 3:16; 1 Cor 11:3; Eph 5:22; Col 3:18) So this submission is an obligation that has a gospel purpose; as it does with civil magistrates and the workplace.
Submission To Her Husband Is A Gospel Opportunity. (v1b-v2)
And unsaved husband will never be receptive to the preaching of the gospel by nagging him to Christ. Peter uses a phrase here “they may be won without word" Now! This doesn’t mean she doesn’t use Scripture; because that would be contrary to what Peter said previously in (1:23). And as Paul said to the Roman church, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Rom 10:17. What Peter is pointing out here is that….. her godly behavior is her most valuable testimony in order to open her husband’s heart to the gospel.
Her godly conduct will be able to be observed
by her unsaved husband.
Her husband is able to observe her submission as a faithful wife that she truly commends the gospel to him. How the believer lives is truly the most effective gospel witness to those in this fallen world system. A lovely, gracious, submissive attitude is the most effective evangelistic tool we have as born again children. In “The Confessions of Saint Augustine he described his mother this way, “She served her husband as her master, and did all she could to win to You, speaking to him of You by her conduct, by which You made her beautiful…Finally, when her husband was at the end of his earthly span, she gained him for You.” As difficult it was for Augustine’s mom, hard-pressed for many difficult years look for strength in the quiet words that Peter wrote in His letter here. Augustine's father. He was at the time, a nonreligious, unfaithful to his wife, and he was a hot tempered man. He's pretty much the polar opposite of Augustine's mother, like the Disney movie, “The Beauty and the Beast”. But in the end her unbelieving husband, Patricius, was brought to personal faith in Jesus. You could say Augustine’s mother received the full outcome of what Peter promises back in chapter 2:12. Our honorable conduct is doing something whether you see results or not. God does, as we saw last week (v25)
Her attitude to please the Lord is her responsibility to live a chaste and respectful life, which was to be exemplified and taught by older women. “Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” Titus 2:3-5. That the word of God may not be blasphemed! That the gospel may not be destructively spoken on account of the inconsistent lives of those who profess to be influenced by it. The proper biblical approach is for the wife to have a pure conduct towards God and her husband. This is a characteristic that we should be teaching our sons to look for in a woman, for marriage. “My son, fear the LORD and the king, and do not join with those who do otherwise,” Prov 24:21. Her life, like mine, and yours, are to give honor to God, through reverential fear of God as living sacrifice. In the Christian home we must minister to each other A Christian wife is to help and encourage her husband to grow by what he sees in his wife.
Submission Is An Ornament Of Christ. (v3-v6)
Devoting your time to make sure you are beautifying the Hidden Person of your Heart. How? Kent Hughes said, “Arise, put your feet on the ground, and get dressed from the inside out.” “Adorn” is “kosmos” in the Greek and this gives us our English words “cosmos” and the cosmetic. Peter warns wives about the external decoration of one’s character. Why? Roman women were captivated by the latest trends and fashions, and they competed with others in dress and hairstyles. It wasn’t uncommon or strange for Peter to address this behavior; many of the women did this as a way of impressing others.
The Christians, specifically the wife are not to be
overly concerned about external beauty.
Why? This passion for external adornment comes at a terrible cost for today’s woman. The sense of never looking good enough. Never being pretty enough. Never measuring up the world’s standard of womanhood. This only leads to terrible ends about oneself about where the standard of beauty… begins and ends. What a woman should be seeking is this! (v4) Your outward appearance should be a reflection of your inward heart! Disclaimer! This doesn’t prohibit wives from styling their hair, wearing jewelry or lovely clothing. Because in other translations the phrase in (v3) is “Your adornment must not be merely external. “Merely”…. is referring to your outward adornment, this is not to be your preoccupation or main concern in the matter of drawing an unsaved husband to Christ. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment. The inner beauty which is your spiritual virtue as a Christian woman. Peter calls this “an imperishable beauty” this is the same word used to describe the believer’s eternal inheritance in heaven. This imperishable conduct comes with a gentle, quiet spirit; which is precious to God. (v4-v5)
Gentle being meekness and or humility.
Quiet is referring to still or tranquil.
Spirit is the true inner beauty of the believer.
Peter uses the example of Sarah, the wife of Abraham of what godly submission looks like. Sarah is the perfect choice, but the culture will try and fill your mind and convince you otherwise. I truly believe that’s why there is such a disdain towards men into culture. Because younger women are being told they don’t need men and all men are pigs. The Feminist movement heralds the liberation of these texts from tyranny of such make dominance. R C Sproul wrote, “Feminism has created unbelievable turmoil within the family and in homes the country over. It seems that we are facing an endless power struggle between men and women and between husband and wife. All of that has produced disastrous results, but it is incumbent upon us as Christians not to interpret the text on the basis of contemporary movements or on what is deemed politically correct.”
Rather, we are trust in the God of the Scripture as it pertains to roles in the home and in the marriage. It’s the godly woman who lives counter-cultural to this present day thinking. Why? A biblical example of womanhood is polar-opposite of today’s woman. Sarah is prime example of modeling an inner beauty though the Scriptures instruct us in examples of godly women, like: Ruth, Esther, Mary the mother of Jesus. Peter exemplifies Sarah as an example of godly submission unto the Lord. Sarah exemplified a…. pleasing, godly, and modest, by what she wore and acted, displayed the inside of her life. Peter draws our attention that she called her husband “lord”
In other words she treated her husband as master, which is an attitude of respect towards Abraham. When did she first use this word, it was a time where she was laughing. ”They said to him, "Where is Sarah your wife?" And he said, "She is in the tent." The LORD said, "I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son." And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years. The way of women had ceased to be with Sarah. So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, "After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?" The LORD said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh and say, 'Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?' Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son."
Why does Peter use Sarah? She loved the Lord and wanted to please Him first above all else. And by doing this, she showed that same love towards her husband. The most effective women are those who possess the inner qualities of gentleness and quietness. Why? Because they receive favor from God..... (end of v4) A true inner beauty is far more important than your outward appearance as it pertains to godly gospel witness. A wife that is passionately in love God first, will love her husband as God intended her to.
Sarah is a beautiful picture of the
Proverb 31 woman.
Proverb 31:10, “An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.” Similar language used by Peter here in (v3-v4). Proverb 31:11-12 says, “The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.” Peter mentions Sarah as an example of this in (v6). Prov 31:25 says, “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: "Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all." Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.” Prov 31:25-31
It’s a wonderful thing when a woman is seen in this light by those around her, especially her husband. (whether he is saved or unsaved) Sarah laughed out amazement to what God told her husband and it’s the same laughter we find Proverbs 31:25 were, “she laughs at the time to come.” This is the laughter of entrusting faith, this is her inner disposition. As she demonstrates biblical submission towards her husband for the Lord’s sake.
Unfortunately! The culture teaches all of us it’s about power. Without power you are weak and will be trampled over by others. So we all need power, but submission isn’t about power, it comes from an attitude of heart towards God and the gospel. When I am weak I am strong! When the world is in full colour of sin, I will humble myself under the grace of God to be an example of His righteousness. The Bible says strength and dignity should be our end. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” Gal 5:22-25
When a Christian woman is doing this according to Peter; she should be praise by her children and especially her husband. Because this is what submission looks like that is pleasing to the Lord, and brings Him the most glory in and through your life.
All around us in today’s world are things that are not of God. But it is God’s desire for Christian women, to wrap themselves in honor, inner beauty, and strength. You can do this by seeking God in all you do, and by studying His Word to learn how He wants you to live. The Lord is most pleased when a believing woman’s modest yet thoughtful and lovely reflects the inner beauty Christ
has fashioned in her. As we read in the Book of Ruth, “And he said, "May you be blessed by the LORD, my daughter. You have made this last kindness greater than the first in that you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich. And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman.” Ruth 3:10-11. Those who are faithful to submit because it is good and right; can be used by the Lord in the salvation of their husbands. Submission is the believers “internal adornment” because the heart has been transformed by the gospel and our lives are forever changed.