Intro: Following along with the series of messages I am preaching through 1 Peter, as Peter writes to the dispersed and persecuted church in exile throughout Asia Minor, he encourages them by writing, “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.” (1 Peter 2:11-12). In chapter 2 verse 13 through chapter 3 verse 8 he gives us three specific ways that we are able to have “honorable conduct”, even while living in an environment that is hostile to God and the gospel. Those three ways all involve submission to authority in different realms of our daily interactions. We are to be (1) submissive citizens, (2) submissive servants, and (3) submissive spouses.

As we look at these three focal points for submission, I’ve titled this devotional series “Our Mission is Submission – 1 Peter 2:13-3:8.”

Today we will look at an introduction to living in submission within the family:

(3) Submissive Spouses – 1 Peter 3:1-7
More Ways to Submit

In 1 Peter 2:11-12 as he introduced the idea he wrote, “11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, 12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.”

From these verses we have studied a series of paragraphs where he launches into various examples of living in submission to God ordained authority. Submission, as a way of life, as an underlying attitude in our daily walk, gives testimony to the watching world about Whose we are. When we suffer, when we are persecuted, when we are mistreated – which was all happening to those who originally received this epistle from the Apostle Peter – when these things happen, our godly response gives God the glory, it gives God the credit for our ability to live as we should, being salt and light, living the gospel out daily no matter our circumstances.

As we have talked now for several weeks about submission we have come to understand that this is not a discussion about rank. Submission is a military term that refers to willing yielding, or putting yourself under someone’s direction and authority, to surrender our rights and serve someone else. But submission is not about the rank or about who is in charge and who is following. Think about it, Jesus is Lord, yet Jesus served and washed His disciples feet. He did not do so because they outranked Him, but because of His role as their Savior and the Suffering Servant. Submission then is about the role we assume – it is about our attitude and actions in fulfilling the roles to which God has assigned us.

To better understand this distinction, in chapter 2 verse 13 and 14 he told us, “13 Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, 14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good.” To be good citizens of heaven we must be good citizens on earth. We must submit in our role as a citizen of an earthly kingdom, obeying those God has placed us under in our role.

Then, as we studied in verses 18 through 25, he told us to be submissive to masters. This applies to the workplace, as we learned that the term for servants refers to a household servant and someone paid a wage for the work that they provide. In our submission then we saw that we are to honor all men, even wicked bosses and evil rulers. We esteem all others as better than self and strive to serve those around us, yielding our rights in order that we might live as salt and light.

In 1 Peter 3 now he continues in this theme of talking about submission as a way of daily life for the follower of Christ. He begins in verse 1, “Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands.” But as we move through chapter 3 we will see that he actually discusses three more types of submission before he finishes the thought. In chapter 3 verse 1 through 6 he tells wives to be submissive, in verse 7 he tells husbands how to be submissive, and then finally in verse 8 he tells us how we are all to submit to one another, being of one mind, seeking unity and compassion among the church.

Understanding then that submission is about our role and not our rank or the rank of the people we serve, we see that our submission always flows from obedience to Christ as Lord. It is ultimately His authority over us in the world, in the church, and in our homes that leads us to live in submission. We submit to Him through submission to others. In Galatians 3:28 Paul writes, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” In Him we are all one. In Him we are all equal. In Him there is no distinction of rank, ethnicity, or nationality – He is Lord and we reign with Him as joint-heirs of His kingdom. Submission is our way of fulfilling the roles He has assigned us within His creation and kingdom.

In Acts 5:29 that is why the Apostles could answer those accusing them by saying, “We ought to obey God rather than men.” We should obey earthly authorities up until the point there they tell us to disobey God, because our obedience to them is obedience to Him. Seeing then that submission is about roles and not rank, we submit and obey others as part of our submission and obedience to One Lord, living in obedience to the Will and Word of Jesus Christ.

On Monday we will examine the difference between roles and ranks.