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 a wife honoring her husband:
(3) Submissive Spouses – 1 Peter 3:1-7
Honoring Your Husband – vs. 5-6
In verses 5 and 6 then Peter goes on and gives us one more quality for submissive wives to enhance their character. He says, “5 For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.” He is speaking of an attitude of respect – the opposite would running someone else down. Spouses – wives and husbands – you should never run your spouse down. Never. Not to them, not about them to others. This is from God’s Word.
But think about how quiet it would be at work tomorrow, and online tomorrow, if nobody ran any one else down, especially their husband or wife. We love to tell others about how our expectations are not being met and about how others have failed us and let us down, because after all, it is all about us, right? Instead we need to respect each other. As we have already learned, to honor all people.
Wives, in order to be submissive, you must respect your husbands, following the holy examples we are given in the Scriptures from the lives of godly women who were married to imperfect men. Well, that’s all men, isn’t it? Yes. And all women too! The example specifically mentioned is the example of Sarah, and wives are encouraged to follow her examples as her descendants in the faith.
Titus 2 tells women, “3 the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— 4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.” It is God’s ordained design for the older and mature to teach the younger. Sarah and those women we find as examples in the Scriptures are older women. They as well as their living counterparts serve to be examples for all women. Sarah is listed in Hebrews 11 and commended for her faithfulness to God, and the example given here in 1 Peter is that she referred to Abraham as “lord.” When given the promise of Isaac in Genesis 18, Sarah laughed and said, “After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?” She called her husband her lord.
Now, yes, this has been abused, but this is simply a common way to show respect for your husband. She was honoring him and his position as her husband. This is no way means that Sarah was a servant, or his property. It was a show of respect. Something that we have to understand in the relationship between husband and wife when we are talking about submission in the family, it is not the same as the relationship between a parent and a child. Ephesians 6 tells us, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” And Paul in Ephesians 5 and 6 shows us the relationships between husbands and wives and between children and parents. But submission for a wife does not make her like a child to her husband. She is his equal, his partner, and they should be making decisions together, not for each other! “Co-heirs of the grace of life” Peter tells us. Within the marriage relationship there are two people bowing to the will of the Holy Spirit together as one flesh. That is to succeed in marriage isn’t it? Two people walking in the Spirit submitted to God and His Word, serving Him and each other.
So wives, respect your husbands and don’t run them down. The only exceptions to submission being a coercion to sin, or something that will bring about physical harm. We always say that if a husband is being abusive to a wife, come to the church, we will intervene Biblically. Being submissive does not mean staying where there is abuse. There are options for finding safety. That doesn’t mean we are saying leave or divorce, but get away to safety and we, the church, will help offer protection.
Tomorrow we will be shocked to learn about the role of a submissive husband!