Summary: Living on Mission in a Foreign Land Husbands and Wives, part 1
Living on Mission in a Foreign Land
Husbands and Wives, part 1
We are in our second mini-series in 1 Peter, “Living on Mission in a Foreign Land,” based upon 1 Peter 2.11-4.11. This section of Scripture connects the way we live to the cause of Christ, making disciples. Peter tells us that 'God has called us out of darkness and into his marvelous light to proclaim His excellencies.' Today we start chapter 3, looking at how husbands and wives are to relate to each other.
Big Idea – Wives win non believing husbands to Christ by godly living.
Passage Overview – Since 2.18 Peter has been talking about submitting to those in authority over us, even to unjust suffering, giving Christ as the pattern and power for unjust suffering. Christ endured unjust suffering, paying for our sins so that by faith we might experience the power of the gospel not only to save us but also to sustain us through suffering through the ever present supply of grace and peace as spiritual resources to endure suffering. He continues this theme of submitting to authorities over us by telling wives that as they submit to husbands who reject the gospel, they will win them over to the gospel.
To start, I want to briefly summarize two views in Christianity that describe the roles of men and women in the marriage relationship. The first is Egalitarianism, which sees no role distinctions between husband and wife. The other view Complimentarianism, which the church has historically held, sees the roles of husband and wife as unique and distinct roles.
Wives Who Hope in God:
Follow Husband's Leadership
Remember, Peter writes to encourage the church to persevere in the midst of unjust suffering. In the case of marriage, husbands were the authority in the home and everyone in the home was expected to follow him and his religion. By becoming a Christ follower, the wife rejecting the husband's religion, would be seen as insubordination and a challenge to his authority. To counter this thought, Peter tells wives are told to be subject to their own husbands. What is submission? Submission is a disposition to follow the husband's authority and the inclination to yield to his leadership. It is an attitude that says, "I delight for you to take the initiative and leadership in our family. I am glad when you take responsibility for things and lead with love. It I don't like it when you are passive and I have to make the family work." But the attitude of Christian submission also says, "It grieves me when you venture into sinful acts and want to take me with you. I have no desire to resist you but I can't follow you into sin, as much as I want to honor your leadership in our marriage." Let's also look at what submission is not. Submission is not agreeing with everything your husband says or believes. Peter describes the husband as one who disobeys the word, is a non believer. But the wife heard the gospel, thought about it, and chose to believe. Submission is not thinking for yourself. The wife believed yet the husband did not. Submission is not neglecting to influence or change your husband. The goal of submitting to the non believing husband is to win him over to the gospel. Submission is not giving your husband ultimate authority. Christ is the ultimate authority of for wives. Submission is not getting your spiritual strength and identity from your husband. Wives are described as women who fear God and who hope in God; they looked to God for spiritual strength. Last submission is not acting out of fear. Submission in the New Testament is always a free willing free choice.
Are Mission Minded
Peter tells us the goal of submission is to win non believing husbands by preaching wordless sermons. Apparently he is concerned that nagging, badgering, or pleading will not win them. Our lives are to point people to Christ so that they see and ask – what is our hope? It is interesting that Paul asks the Colossian church to pray that God would open a door for the gospel and that he would share clearly as he ought. Women who hope in God look to God to win their husbands. This is not a license to for single women to marry a non believer nor someone who is not leading you spiritually.
Fear God and Not Husbands.
Husbands are won by means of the wife's life, described as respectful and pure conduct. I do not think this is the correct translation. The phrase is literally, “see your pure conduct in fear (of God).” But he also tells wives they are 'to do good and not fear anything that is frightening.' Wives who became Christ followers would be vulnerable. They were expected to have the same friends as their husbands and embrace the the same gods. Believing in Christ, they would develop new friends, a new spiritual loyalty, and become part of the church. Husbands might not take this well because they would be open to ridicule and the husband might take it out on his wife. But Peter tells them to do good and not to live in fear of suffering. Do not fear because God is your Shepherd and Overseer and nothing can separate you from the love of God found in Christ. Look away from your troubles and miseries of life or the obstacles that make your future look bleak and miserable and look to God's grace and peace for strength in the midst of suffering. Hope in God drives out fear. No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear. Look away from your troubles and miseries of life or obstacles that make your future look bleak and miserable and instead focus on Gods grace and peace so that your spirit will be gentle and quiet. You do not have to look for ways to take care of yourself because you trust God to take care of you. Hoping in God drives out fear that comes from difficult circumstances.