I have been reading and re-reading 1 Peter 3 and actually the entire book of 1 Peter over and over again just to get a feel for the message the Spirit was relaying to us through Peter. A couple of key themes stand out to me: Holiness. Submission. Suffering.
It strikes me mostly that this entire letter seems to be saying (in a nut shell), “Do what’s right. Don’t act like the rest of the world. Let those in authority have the honor their positions were created for. Willingly come under them. And yet be willing to suffer at their hands even if you’re only doing what’s right before God and they still are against you.”
In this study I want to focus on what I’M to be doing, what I get to do by the grace of God as His child whether those in authority over me- government, bosses, husbands or otherwise- are godly and kind or not.
In the past when I’ve read 1 Peter 3 I’ve focused on what I must do to win my husband. There’s nothing wrong with desiring to win my husband, but this time, the Lord is really teaching me to desire to obey Him, “…as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance…” (1 Peter 1:14) whether my husband is won or not.
Some of you kind commenters said you felt this study could apply to more than just your relationship with your husband, and I think you’re right on! Though we should care and pray for those in our lives, our obedience to God should not depend on those in our lives, yet it’s so easy to become consumed with that “mountain“, seeing it as an obstacle, that we waste time circling it rather than continuing to do as 2 Peter 1:5-11 tells us to and “give all diligence” to add to our faith the character of Christ (knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, love…).
So although in this study I’ll be applying what the Lord is teaching me to what I get to do in obedience to God even if my husband does not, feel free to comment and apply the studies to the various people in your lives, maybe those “even if some do not” people that you might tend to “circle” like a mountainous obstacle.
As I read through 1 Peter and was struck by those key themes this week, and then re-read chapter 3 as it applies to the wife, this is what I came up with:
- Wives, likewise. Likewise. The Holman Christian Standard Bible puts it this way, “Wives, in the same way…” In the same way as whom? Chapter 2 answers that question beginning in verse 11. I like how the Amplified Bible puts it:
“Beloved, I implore you as aliens and strangers and exiles [in this world] to abstain from the sensual urges (the evil desires, the passions of the flesh, your lower nature) that wage war against the soul.
Conduct yourselves properly (honorably, righteously) among the Gentiles, so that, although they may slander you as evildoers, [yet] they may by witnessing your good deeds [come to] glorify God in the day of inspection when God shall look upon you wanderers as a pastor or shepherd looks over his flock].
Be submissive to every human institution and authority for the sake of the Lord, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, Or to governors as sent by him to bring vengeance (punishment, justice) to those who do wrong and to encourage those who do good service.
For it is God’s will and intention that by doing right [your good and honest lives] should silence (muzzle, gag) the ignorant charges and ill-informed criticisms of foolish persons. [Live] as free people, [yet] without employing your freedom as a pretext for wickedness; but [live at all times] as servants of God.
Show respect for all men [treat them honorably]. Love the brotherhood (the Christian fraternity of which Christ is the Head). Reverence God. Honor the emperor.
[You who are] household servants, be submissive to your masters with all [proper] respect, not only to those who are kind and considerate and reasonable, but also to those who are surly (overbearing, unjust, and crooked). For one is regarded favorably (is approved, acceptable, and thankworthy) if, as in the sight of God, he endures the pain of unjust suffering.
[After all] what kind of glory [is there in it] if, when you do wrong and are punished for it, you take it patiently? But if you bear patiently with suffering [which results] when you do right and that is undeserved, it is acceptable and pleasing to God.
For even to this were you called [it is inseparable from your vocation]. For Christ also suffered for you, leaving you [His personal] example, so that you should follow in His footsteps. He was guilty of no sin, neither was deceit (guile) ever found on His lips. When He was reviled and insulted, He did not revile or offer insult in return; [when] He was abused and suffered, He made no threats [of vengeance]; but he trusted [Himself and everything] to Him Who judges fairly. He personally bore our sins in His [own] body on the tree as on an altar and offered Himself on it], that we might die (cease to exist) to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed. For you were going astray like [so many] sheep, but now you have come back to the Shepherd and Guardian the Bishop) of your souls.”
- The “in the same way” wives are to submit to their own husbands is in reference to the way ALL CHRISTIANS, as sojourners, those who abstain from the passions of our “lower nature”, submit to government, masters (or in today’s lingo, bosses), and in the same way CHRIST submitted to human rulers though He committed no sin (and we have) and suffered for us. This is the way we as wives are to willingly submit ourselves to our husbands according to God’s word. We’re not to treat our husbands as though their say matters not at all or as though they were in no more position of authority than we are. According to this we are to WILLINGLY submit to our husbands just as any Christian who is abstaining from fleshly lusts, and living in this world as though it is not her home, submits to human government or a boss as Christ did. So what did Christ do?
- “He was guilty of no sin, neither was deceit (guile) ever found on His lips. When He was reviled and insulted, He did not revile or offer insult in return; [when] He was abused and suffered, He made no threats [of vengeance]; but he trusted [Himself and everything] to Him Who judges fairly. He personally bore our sins in His [own] body on the tree [as on an altar and offered Himself on it], that we might die (cease to exist) to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed.” (vs.22-24 from the Amplified)
- This blows me away!!! That is the example Christ gave us, not just to look at in awe and say, “Wow! Amazing grace, thank you Jesus for saving a wretch like me...” BUT, “…that we should follow in His footsteps.” WHAT?!! We are to follow in those footsteps!? YES!! The impossible is made possible by God. We can actually walk in the footsteps of Christ so that some person (our husbands, or others) might be able to look at us and say, “Wow! Amazing grace! Thank you Jesus for saving a wretch like me…” God is doing the impossible through us who have sinned, He is letting us be gracious and merciful, even suffer, because of the sins of others so that they might see Jesus in us and see that life changing forgiveness that is only found in Christ.
- I want to think of my husband as my knight in shining armor, the love who sweeps me off my feet and the friend in whom I can trust and let my guard down with, and though I believe it is possible to have that kind of romantic relationship and intimate friendship with a husband, we as wives cannot forget that our husbands are also responsible to God as leaders– men in positions of authority. God created it that way…they are the head of the home. Sometimes that romance and intimate friendship has to take a back seat to submitting to headship. After all, we don’t always agree with our husbands on everything, and if you agree, then you don’t have to willingly submit yourself…you just agree. Submission to a husband’s headship comes in when you don’t agree. Usually those times don’t bring to mind much romance or intimate best-friendship, rather they require a decision of the mind to trust God as Christ did, “committing Himself to Him who judges justly,” and let the decision of the head of the house be respected and submitted to.
- This has nothing to do with me being a woman. It has to do with me being a Christian. The entire letter from Peter is an appeal to those who have been, “…born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever…” to, “abstain from fleshly lusts that war against the soul.” In fact, as the NKJV puts it, the Spirit says through Peter, “Beloved, I bet you as sojourners and pilgrims…” He BEGS US! There is an earnest pleading of love in this letter for Christians, whether as wives or slaves or just citizens of a location, to be different from the world, and to have our eyes fixed on heaven, not intent on being gratified by our relationships with the government or bosses or even husbands here.
- Just as Christ has done, we can and get to do. He set our example to walk in and He lives in us to do the walking. We are in Him and He in us therefore we get to fix our eyes on heaven and on the confidence that God will judge our situations justly and let our husbands and governmental leaders and those “Gentiles” (unbelievers) who watch us be honored by us while we do what is right…even if we suffer under them.
What are your thoughts on this first study?
Even if _______ do/does not (you fill in the blank), will you, “…abstain from fleshly lust which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among (your husband) the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.”? (Your husband added by me)