Summary: Submission: Radical Then and Radical Now
If you have your Bible, I want you to turn with me to the book of 1 Peter, and I want to begin to read. I want to read verses 1 through 7 this morning into your hearing. Beginning with verse 1 of chapter 3 of 1 Peter, it reads like this:
"Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious.
For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening." Verse 7, gentlemen. "Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered."
You know it's been said down through the years many men have emphasized verses 1 through 6 and silently walked away from verse 7. This text we're reading today, and in particular this verse 7 you just read and we'll look at a little more in a little while, is a very radical verse. It was radical over 2,000 years ago, and it is very radical today.
The reason it was radical over 2,000 years ago is because in the first century women were viewed just a little bit above cattle. They were property. They didn't have a lot of respect whatsoever. I could go in depth about it, and your mouth would probably hang open, and you would probably scream a big, "Amen," that we don't live way back then. Right?
When verse 7 was rendered to the Christian husband or even the husband who now had a wife who was a Christian, it was pretty radical because it put her in a place of honor, this lady. Be equal with this lady. Common ground in Christ. That's pretty radical, because after all… "Wait a minute. That's supposed to be kind of like my property." That was radical 2,000 years ago.
Today it's radical because we mostly live with a watered-down, worldly version of what submission really is. Right? "Woman, get in there and cook me something to eat!" Those kinds of things. That's really what a lot of people believe submission really is, and it's not. Submission, as we look at it in a biblical context, is a mutual respect. It is a mutual identity in Christ. There is equal footing before God in Christ. Right?
How many of you understand that, too, is a radical concept? What was radical then is certainly still radical now, but here's the beauty of it. It is a God thing. Order has always been a God thing. There's nothing wrong with order, because in order, chaos begins to lose strength and power, and God can take us from where we are to where we ultimately need to be.
When you look at verses 1 through 6 and when you look at verse 7 in 1 Peter and you go over to other passages like Ephesians, chapter 5, or Galatians 3, or Ephesians 6, or here in 1 Peter, chapter 3, you look at that. What you begin to discover when you put it all together is a mutual submission begins to come to the surface between the man and the woman.
In fact, the very secret of what true beauty is and the very secret of what true strength is begins to come to the surface, and what was radical then is still radical now, but it's a beautiful radicalness because God is in it. So I ask you a couple of questions this morning just to kind of entertain these questions I want you to kind of allow to settle in your hearts as we dive into this Word a little deeper here in a few moments.
Let me ask you a question. What if the true beauty of a woman comes from the heart? What if the true beauty of a woman comes from the heart and not so much what she puts on or wears or what the world tries to dictate to her who she should be in a society that very much is a visual society? What if true beauty is truly what comes out of a woman's heart, this quiet and meek spirit God has called her to?