Summary: Peter Gives instructions for proper relationships and mutual respect in marriage.
How Do You ’I Do’?
Text: 1 Peter 3:1-7
A man named Steve Beck relates the following story: "Driving down a country road, I came to a very narrow bridge. In front of the bridge, a sign was posted: "YIELD." Seeing no oncoming cars, I continued across the bridge and to my destination. On my way back, I came to the same one-lane bridge, now from the other direction. To my surprise, I saw another YIELD sign posted. Curious, I thought, "I’m sure there was one posted on the other side." When I reached the other side of the bridge I looked back. Sure enough, yield signs had been placed at both ends of the bridge. Drivers from both directions were requested to give right of way. It was a reasonable and gracious way of preventing a head-on collision.
Beck concludes: "When the Bible commands Christians to "be subject to one another" (Ephesians 5:21) it is simply a reasonable and gracious command to let the other have the right of way and avoid interpersonal head-on collisions."
Proposition: In order for marriage to work the way God intended it both spouses must be yielded to the Lord and to one another.
Interrogative: What actions and attitudes should Christian couples display?
Transition: Our text today gives us some insight into that, while everything you need to know about marriage might not be here, some important foundations are here, some things that husbands and wives need to pay attention to, there are two instructions for husbands and two for wives. The instructions for wives come first...
Wives should display proper…
vv. 1-2 Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.
Notice first with me the phrase "in the same way" meaning in the same way that all Christians are told to be submissive, in the same way that Christ was submissive to the point of giving his life as a ransom for us.
And what is this biblical concept of submission anyway? The verb used means to arrange yourself under. What is implied is a choice on the part of the one submitting. It is not up to the husband to make the wife his subject but her willing choice to be submissive, and as we’ll see later it is also implied that the husband should be submissive to the wife as well, in a different way yes according to the roles that God has established for the family order but submissive to her and her needs as well. The concept of Biblical submission is not a chauvanistic patriarchy designed to elevate men over their wives but a mutual understanding of god-given roles designed to elevate both.
Also we should note that there is not a general elevation of males over and against females or that women in general are to be submissive to men in general. Peter under the Spirit’s inspiration is careful as was Paul when he wrote about this topic to say that wives are to be submissive to their own husbands.
And what is the particular goal of this submission? Well first of all because it is what God designed, but another goal expressed here is for believing wives whose husbands have rejected the Gospel. It says "if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives"
How many of you have heard the phrase "actions speak louder than words?" What Peter is saying is if Words haven’t persuaded your husband to believe show him how Your relationship with Jesus makes his life better--show him what a Godly wife looks like.
I think there’s an application here also for all of us, when you’re dealing with people who have heard the Gospel and rejected it (because that’s clearly the group of unbelieving husbands he’s talking about--he calls them not just unbelieving but "disobedient to the word"--they know the truth but have rejected it), when your dealing with that kind of unbeliever the way to get through to them with the Gospel is to show them the Gospel with your life, to show a pure and reverent life that will make the Gospel attractive.
The passage doesn’t say that as a wife you should be in fear of your husband--in fact in verse 6 fear is expressly prohibited in a godly wife. It also doesn’t ask you to stop thinking for yourself--if that were the case you wouldn’t have a choice to serve the Lord if your husband wasn’t serving the Lord. In that way it’s the same as believers submitting to any authority...you only submit to the extent you can do so and still be true to the Savior. But show him a life of purity and reverence and let the Holy Spirit in your life work on Him. Show proper submission.