Summary: What are the proper roles of a husband and wife in marriage as designed by God?
I Peter 3:1-7 “Family Duties”
Intro—As you can tell from our text today and the title of the message, we are going to be looking at the relationship between husbands and wives, but before I delve into that text I want to talk for a moment about the attitude we need to bring to any study of what the Bible says about marriage and relationships, because the Bible talks about these relationships in ways we are not used to in 21st century America, and too many of us reject what the Bible has to say out of hand, or want to twist it to suit the politically correct culture of our day.
So let me say first of all, we need to approach this text carefully, leaving any sinful selfish attitude behind—The Bible teaches us that the very first sin, the sin Satan committed that caused his fall from grace, was the sin of pride—and pride results in selfishness...the “me, me, me” attitude so prevalent in today’s world... Now you may think you don’t approach the Bible with any taint of selfishness in your relationship with your wife or with your husband...you may be saying to yourself right now, “well, I don’t have any problem with this...our marriage is a 50/50 proposition,” but I would say to you, that if you think marriage is a 50/50 proposition, that’s a selfish attitude, because marriage isn’t about balancing things out, it’s about giving everything you have without reservation. So if we discuss the necessity of men loving their wives as Christ loved the church, or of wives submitting to their husbands, your first thought ought not to be, “Yeah but what do I get out of it?”
The second thing I want to mention is that we need to leave behind the modern attitude that everything we do today is done better than it ever has been before...I never cease to be amazed at the attitude that this society is the peak of social development, so therefore if the Bible doesn’t agree with the prevailing attitudes the Bible is wrong...In 1995, there were 6,400 marriages per day in the US...and 3,200 divorces...from 1970 to 1994 the number of divorced people quadrupled...half of all children live through a divorce, and half of those live through a second divorce...and more than 1 in 4 children live in single-parent households. And lest you think I am just talking to young people, the generation in America with the highest divorce rate is what’s been termed the “builder” generation—those between the ages of about 55 and 75 today. But we still hear that the Bible is outdated and things are much more enlightened today...well I would ask you to approach the text today forgetting that attitude and trying to hear what the Word has to say to you as we look at what Peter has to say about the duties of husband and wife.
I. The duty of a wife to a husband, Peter tells us in verse 1 of Chapter 3, is to be submissive to him. Now unfortunately, this command has taken on a negative context that it really shouldn’t have, so the first aspect of submission I want to touch on is why be submissive?...the Greek word here, “hupotasso,” just means to properly place oneself beneath someone else in the chain of command; it’s almost a military term. Peter is not saying that a wife is the husband’s slave, nor is he saying that the husband can abuse the wife, nor is he saying that the wife is not allowed to have a personality...he’s simply saying that God has created an institution, marriage, that’s described all the way back in Genesis 2:24, where it says a man and woman shall be joined together and the two shall become one flesh...well, how does that work?
Unfortunately (or fortunately), our brains don’t actually fuse together so that we think the same thoughts...so in this melding of two people into one, God has designated the way in which it is to work...and the husband is given certain responsibilities and duties that the wife is not. In I Corinthians 11:3, Paul puts it this way… “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.” You see, Paul is just giving us a chain of command, he’s not saying anything about the equality of any party in the chain with regard to another. Is Christ inferior to God because God is His head? Not at all...in the same way, neither Paul nor Peter is saying that a submissive wife is inferior to the husband...her duties are just different.
Now you may say, “I don’t want to submit, and I don’t care what you or the Bible says about it pastor.” Well, you don’t have to...if it was automatic, Peter wouldn’t feel the need to command and explain it, would he? But God says, in His Word, that this is the way to please Him and to be happy in your marriage...and if you look around at the marriages that don’t follow Peter’s command in the world today, you’ll see how unhappy people are because they refuse to follow God’s blueprint for our lives.