A Marriage that reflects Jesus
In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won overby observing your pure and reverent lives.Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They put their trust in God and accepted the authority of their husbands.For instance, Sarah obeyed her husband, Abraham, and called him her master. You are her daughters when you do what is right without fear of what your husbands might do.In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered. (1Peter 3:1-7 NLT)
Could there be a more counter-cultural passage than the one that lies before us? In an age where being male and female means nothing anymore; divorce rates are at an all time high; the necessity of marriage is questioned; external appearances seem to be the determining factor in many societal choices; human sexuality is completely distorted and aberrant; the Word of God has the ability to anchor us in truth, in the middle of a truth-less society. It speaks to how we, as followers of Jesus, are to relate to others in the workplace (1Peter 2:18-25), in the home (1Peter 3:1-7), and to each other (1Peter 3:8-12). It is absolutely imperative that we understand who we are in Christ: a chosen people, different and distinct (1Peter. 2:9), with a mandate to shine brightly in a crooked and perverse world (Phil. 2:15). One of the places we shine brightest is in our family units. What do our neighbors see in our family? What do our children see? Do they see husbands and wives criticizing each other, always fighting, putting each other down?
The Bible says we are all one in Christ, neither male nor female (Gal. 3:28). Christianity elevates women, who were just possessions to be used in first century Rome, to equal to male in Christ (not equal the way the world defines it, but equal recipients of the grace and gifts of God regarding salvation). Despite being equal, there was still a proper order in the home, where a woman was commanded by God to submit to her husband as head of the home, which is still true today (Eph. 5:22; Col 3:18; etc.). I like the way the NLT puts it here in 1st Peter, “wives must accept the authority of their husbands”. That’s the key – this authority is placed on the men by God – it’s God’s divine order for the Christian household. But one might say, “my husband is not a Christian!”. Then God says through Peter, “Just as Christ submitted, you submit also”. Live a godly life, “pure and reverent”, with a “gentle and quiet spirit”, and just “accept the authority of your husband” and voluntarily submit to it. Now friends, I have met countless number of women who have trouble submitting to their husbands as head of the home, because in their minds their husband was not following Jesus the way they think he should, or he is just not a Christian. From their own testimonies, nagging and criticizing absolutely does not work. It just creates more tension. But I can give many examples where women who have chosen to let their husbands lead, submitted in gentleness and quiet, served their husbands out of respect, and in obedience to Christ, have seen remarkable transformation in their husbands. And that is the crux of what Peter is saying! You will preach the gospel to your husband, even an unbelieving husband, by the way you live your life before him – preaching not with words but with a “pure and reverent life”. Demonstrate that Jesus has transformed you, and your husband may just believe in your Jesus. The key to this whole passage comes right in the middle, “they put their trust in God”, not their own ability to change their husband or lure him with seductive clothing. Respect His God-given authority and place yourself under him, and watch what God will do.
Husbands, you get one power-packed verse. In a nutshell, honor her! Literally value her so much, as a priceless gift given to you. Take the time to understand her, listen to her and treat her as a valued partner in the gospel. If you don’t value her and honor her, God won’t hear your prayers! That’s how serious this is! He wants women treated as His daughters, not as chattel and sex objects the way the Roman world treated them. I like the way The Message put’s it: “Be good husbands to your wives. Honor them, delight in them. As women they lack some of your advantages. But in the new life of God’s grace, you’re equals. Treat your wives, then, as equals so your prayers don’t run aground.”
Marriage is tough. Two really different people, from two really different families, with all kinds of bad examples, wrong thinking, loads of baggage and hurts trying to fit together as one. Seems like an impossible task…it is. But with God all things are possible! And that is the key: God invented marriage, and He is the only one who can make it work, only if we follow His design. When two people who are submitted to God, in the power of Holy Spirit, and allow Jesus to lead them, a powerful partnership is created. We have an enemy that wants to divide and conquer, but we have a God who blesses unity. Let’s follow His blueprint: “I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.” (Matt. 18:19).
May God grant revelation to every couple so as to come under the direction of the word of God, and there receive a blessing! (Read and meditate on Ephesians 5:21-33)