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Summary: Continuing with his call for submission to the Lord, Peter challenged believers to submit to God's given design for the home. Their submission to honor one another would provide honor unto the Lord.

Harmony in the Home

1 Peter 3: 1-7

Our text today deals with the relationships within the home. On the surface it may appear that Peter has taken a different perspective, but the overall theme he sought to convey in the latter part of chapter two continues. He dealt much with our submission to Christ, revealed through the lives we live. Although these thoughts deal with relationships between husbands and wives, the call for submission to the Lord remains. By living according to God’s design for the home, we live in obedience and submission to Christ.

One must consider the context in which this was written to adequately understand what Peter sought to convey. Bear in mind, the Gospel was spreading rapidly, and many were coming to faith in Christ. Inevitably, this resulted in mixed marriages – where one spouse received salvation and the other did not. The Scriptures warn against a believer knowingly marrying a non-believer, but this deals with how the newly saved spouse should respond within the marriage relationship, even though the other spouse is yet unsaved. Although this divinely inspired instruction was given within this particular context, every spouse would be wise to follow the teachings of Peter within these verses. By living in submission to the will of God within the marriage relationship, we honor the Lord and strengthen the marriage.

The theme of the text is that the wife is to pursue inner beauty of a gentle spirit, living in submission to her husband, thereby bringing a spiritual influence to the home. The husband is to treat his wife with honor and compassion, affirming her value and worth within the home. As we examine the expectations of husbands and wives, I want to consider: Harmony in the Home.

I. The Responsibilities of the Wife (1-6) – Peter began this discourse by addressing the wives within the marriage relationship. He spoke of:

A. Her Maturity (1-2) – Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; [2] While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Those with a feminist’s view may take issue with Peter’s instruction, but I see no cause for alarm. He in no way degrades the wife within these verses. In fact, Peter reveals her worth within the home, and the great potential she has to be an effective witness for Christ, eventually winning her unbelieving husband to respond to the Lord in salvation. This requires spiritual maturity on the part of the believing wife. She is called to live in subjection to her husband, seeking an environment of harmony within the home. As the unbelieving husband watches the faithfulness of his wife, through her spiritual conversation and fear of God, he realizes she possesses genuine faith, creating a desire for him to know Christ as well.

B. Her Modesty (3) – Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel. The culture of that day was not much different than the current culture in which we now live. Much like the culture so prevalent in the West today, the Roman culture was very sexualized, with much emphasis placed on outward beauty. A woman’s hair was viewed as one of the most seductive aspects of her appearance. Peter warned the godly wives against falling victim to these cultural customs, and urged them to guard their reputation with modesty. He cautioned against placing too much emphasis on plaiting their hair, excessive jewelry, or provocative dress.

Peter did not imply that the wife was to dress in rags, never fixing her hair, in an attempt to hide her beauty, but that was not to be her focus. We will see in a moment that he urged her to pursue inner beauty above outward beauty. Especially for those with unbelieving husbands, if she dressed and behaved no differently than the world, how would the husband see the transformation that had taken place in her life. She was to present herself in a way that honored the Lord rather than seeking to attract the attention of other men. (This may not be embraced today, but it is certainly needed in western culture.)

C. Her Meekness (4) – But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. Peter urged these godly wives to be known for their meek and quiet spirit, which revealed the Spirit of God residing within. She was to be known for her faithful walk with the Lord rather than her outward appearance.

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