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 conclude Submissive Spouses and look at what it means to be co-heirs of the grace of life:
(3) Submissive Spouses – 1 Peter 3:1-7
Co-Heirs of the Grace of Life – vs. 7
Husbands and wives, we are heirs together of the grace of life, and we walk together in submission so that our prayers may not be hindered. The phrase grace of life is not referring to saving grace, but is telling us that our marriages are an evidence and an opportunity for grace. We are companions in grace.
Remember in Ecclesiastes 9:9 where Solomon wrote, “Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life which He has given you under the sun, all your days of vanity; for that is your portion in life, and in the labor which you perform under the sun.” The high point for you in the vanity of life is that you are blessed to have a wife. We are companions, co-heirs of this grace of life, working together to fulfill the God designed roles for us within marriage as a picture of the relationship between Christ and His Church.
Peter closes this thought by saying that when the husband and wife are doing what they should be doing unto each other and the Lord, then their prayers are not hindered. This is unhindered fellowship and worship. Now there is nothing mystical here. Peter is not saying that God will refuse to hear your prayers if your marriage relationship is not perfect. It does not mean that if we have struggles then God won’t listen to us. That is an abuse of this verse. What this means is that if you are not living in obedience to the Word of God and treating your spouse like you should, then you are not likely going to be spending time praying or worshipping together. It doesn’t mean your prayers are not heard or answered – it means you are not praying.
Ephesians 4:25-32 helps us understand what Peter is saying. As we work diligently and strive to be submissive in all of these areas of life, Paul says this, “25 Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor (who is a closer neighbor than your spouse?),” for we are members of one another. 26 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil. 28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. 29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”
If husbands and wives treated one another like this – which is how we are expected to treat other members of the body of Christ – how great and how strong would our marriages be? And as great a conclusion as these verse from Paul are to our discussion about husbands and wives, listen to the next verses in our study in 1 Peter 3.
“8 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; 9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.”
When we submit to authority as we should, when we work to fulfill our roles within society and the family, all of that is done for the glory of God and the spread of the gospel. To be a faithful disciple of Christ, and to be a faithful spouse, you must begin by denying yourself, by submitting yourself to someone else. We are to voluntarily yield our rights, our rank, and our reputation for the sake of serving Christ and each other.
Tomorrow we will begin the conclusion of this series: Our Mission is Submission.