Are you a person who reads the instruction manual before or when assembling something? I really don’t like following directions, but after a number of times of almost having to break something to correct what I have done wrong I’ve come to appreciate them.
The Bible has rightly been called an instruction manual for life. B-I-B-L-E breaks down as, Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. One of those areas that you and I as a believer are given instructions is in is how to function as a believer in the marriage relationship.
In our culture today there is a variety of material on marriage. The reason is because marriage is something that is common to all mankind. Since marriage is common there are all kinds of different opinions and redefinition soft what marriage is. If you narrow it down there are really have two options when talking about being instructed in marriage. You have man’s instruction and you have God’s instructions. The right answer that leads to life and godliness is God’s instructions. We know this for at least two reasons.
First God is the creator of marriage, listen to Genesis 2:21-24 says,
21And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. 23And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” 24Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
The first marriage ceremony was preformed in the Garden of Eden by God. God on the sixth day after He created man from the dust of the ground, put Adam to sleep and took one of Adam’s ribs and then created Eve. When Adam awoke from his sleep he saw Eve and it was love at first sight, he understood that Eve was designed perfectly for him. God sealed their love in an eternal covenant of companionship which we call marriage. For life these two these two were to be looked at as one.
Marriage in the beginning was perfect because Adam and Eve were innocent, then something happened that would affect their marriage and all future marriages, that something is called, “Sin.” In Genesis 3 mankind fell there we see that if Adam and Eve were to function in marriage try need to deal with their sin and follow the instructions of God on how to walk as a married couple.
The same is true for all future married couples. The institution of marriage is perfect, but those who function in it are not. Therefore we first need to be saved and second we need God’s instructions to know how to love our spouses as sinners saved by grace.
The Bible, specifically the New Testament Instructs you and I on how we are to do this. Tonight we will see some of those instructions from the Apostle Peter to the pilgrims of the first century. As we look at this text we will learn two things.
- Wives are to submit to their husbands for the glory of God.
- Husbands are to love their wives for the sake of their intimacy with God.
First in verses 1-6 we learn that wives are to submit to their husbands for the glory of God.
The instructions of Peter in these verses apply to all wives, but the context specifically speaks to those women who had non believing husbands. Not that these Christian women married unbelievers but they got saved and their spouse did not. Peter’s audience was made of if both Jew and Gentile there the women that Peter spoke to would have had husbands who rejected Christ and remained in Judaism or paganism. These wives needed instructions on how to function as Christian wives their home.
1 Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives,
Peter begins this chapter by saying, likewise be submissive to your own husband.
The word likewise draws our attention back to the previous chapter where Peter talks about the believers responsibility to be under the authority of the government and your bosses. The believer is to respect and obey them. Marriage is another institution that God has established with it’s own structor and order.
Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:3 says, But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.
God has established the man as the head of the household therefore the wife is to submit to the leadership of her husband. It’s important to note that the basis your submission is not because you are inferior or not equal to your husband, but it is because it’s the order that God has established.
Look at Christ! We learned in chapter two that Christ submitted to the word of God and will of God, yet Philippians 2:5-6 says that Jesus was equal with the Father. In the same way, the wife in the order and function in the home is to lovingly submit to your own husband.
Two question arise from this:
First what does it mean to submit? It does not mean that your husband comes before God and His word. Nor does it mean that the wife has no opinion and part in decision making.
To submit means that you recognize that God has established the husband to lead his wife and the family, therefore the wife’s responsibility is to let him do that.
The second question is; what if the husband is not a believer? Peter addresses that in the rest of this verse until verse
Once a women becomes a Christian her husband and children become a mission field for Christ. The mission that the Lord has called the believing wife to is not an apologetics conference or a harvest crusade, but a drama of redemption. Don’t get me wrong you need to know what you believe to answer questions and preach the gospel which is how a person believes.
But in the home the witness of the wives conduct, is what is going to be the effective tool to touch the husbands heart. Even if the husband is disobedient to the word, that is a continual rejector of Christ, through your walk without works you can glorify God by your submission.
2 when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.
As you live out Christ in the home you have a captive audience. Your husband will not be able to help but to observe your chaste conduct and your fear for God.
Chase conduct is a life separated for God and His word. In context this will specifically be demonstrated in your submission to your husband. Your fear is your reverence for God and His word which is what gives you the motivation and drive to live the way you do.
Peter now expands on these two things. In verses 3-4 we see the chaste conduct of the wife and in verses 5-6 we see godly fear.
3 Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—
4 rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.
The focus of the wives chaste conduct is not the outward appearance. Peter described the modern style that was popular in the Roman culture.
It is important to note that Peter did not say it was wrong to dress up, but don’t make that your only focus to show a changed life before your husband. Rather than focusing on a makeover, you need to show your new spiritual nature in Christ.
The real you is the spiritual you. You are a new creation in Christ, the temple of the Holy Spirit. You have the opportunity to shine this incorruptible beauty from your life as a witness to your husband.
In verse 3 Peter gave some outward examples of corruptible beauty in their day and in verse 4 he gave two examples of incorruptible beauty. The characteristics of incorruptible beauty is a gentle and quite spirit.
The word gentle is the same word as meekness. Meekness means strength that is under control. Meekness is not weakness, Jesus was called Gentle or meek (Matthew 11:29) yet He was the all powerful king of the universe. Meekness is to understand the power of God and your position in God.
A quite spirit is on that submits peaceably which is in contrast to strife and contention. Proverbs does not speak to fondly of a contentious wife. Five times it speaks of the contentious women, the grand finally being Proverbs 27:15 A continual dripping on a very rainy day And a contentious woman are alike;
The Christian wife who trusts in God and the fact that He works all things together for our good and His glory does not need to strive over position can live by faith the position in which you were called.
These two qualities are not only good tools to be a witness in the home, but they are precious offerings that touch the heart of God. I’m told that the words very precious can be translated extremely expensive or costly.
This reminds me of the offering that Mary gave to Jesus when she anointed Him with oil before His death. That act of obedience was costly but it was worth it.
In the same way to submit to God as a Christian wife is costly but it is worth it because God will be pleased. The world may look on and shake their head and maybe even some Christians will also. After Mary was ridiculed by Jesus disciples when they ask why such a waste? Nevertheless you need to know that your life is Christ’s and your life is to be lived for the glory of God.
5 For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands,
6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.
If you live a life of chaste conduct and godly reverence you are involved in a better wives club then one that wears cool hats, sows, crafts or exercises. You become a member of the Biblical wives club.
Peter points to Sarah the wife of Abraham one of the honorable alumni. Sarah’s life of faith, submission and reverence for God is doom stated that she called Abraham Lord. The word Lord is similar to our word sir. Peter’s point is not in what Sarah said, but how she lived as a wife with Abraham.
Sarah was willing to follow the lead of her husband as he was lead by God. Yes, neither Abraham or Sarah were perfect. But in the end they were blessed by obeying God’s will and walking in their designed roles.
In the same way wives, your husbands might not be perfect, he might be a bone head, but there are tons of Biblical examples to show that in the end a life surrendered to God is worth it..
Now we come to our second point in verse 7, in this verse we learn that Husbands are to love your wives for the sake of your intimacy with God.
7 Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.
Peter again begins this instruction with likewise. In other words he is saying that we men also have responsibility. Our responsibly is to love our wives, to make them want to follow our lead.
Concerning the responsibility of the husband Paul in Ephesians 5:25-28 says,
25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.
The husband is to love his wife like Christ loves the church. What does this look like?
Peter gives husbands three ways that we are to live our wife.. First we are to love our wives physically (we are to dwell with them). To dwell means more than just live with our wife. But to dwell implies that we are a companion to our wife.
This includes our second Way we are to love which is emotionally. emotionally (we are to dwell with understanding). Men we are to understand that women can be more emotional then me, we are to not joke about that but to honor them by living them and listening and communicating.
Third way we are to love our wives is spiritually (we are heirs together of grace). Marriage is a spiritual companionship. We are to minister to each other. Men we are to specifically wash our wives with the word and protect them and our homes from ungodly influences.
These things are all essential for spiritual growth. To neglect your marriage is to hinder your prayer life and therefore your relationship with God.
In closing all people need instructions on marriage. You have two choices you can choose the world who is seeking to redefine marriage and its roles. Or you can chose the Bible. Let’s chose the Bible so we can glorify God and grow in intimacy with Him.