PastorRodney’s Weblog

Preaching from the Pulpit of Ephraim Church of the Bible

1 Peter 3:7; God Honoring Conduct – Husband Honor your Wife

03/15 1 Peter 3:7 God honoring Conduct; Husband Honor your Wife

3:1 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– 2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct. 3 Do not let your adorning be external–the braiding of hair, the wearing of gold, or the putting on of clothing– 4 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. 5 For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. 7 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.

We’ve been looking at Peter’s instructions on how to glorify God in daily life (2:12), especially if you find yourself in less than ideal situations. His focus is on proclaiming the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness and into his marvelous light (2:9) by living in such a way that unbelievers see our God exalting good works and want what we’ve got. He’s pointed to our relation to governmental authority and urged us ‘for the Lord’s sake’ to give honor and submit (2:13-17). He pointed to the situation of servants or employees and urged us to be mindful of God as we endure sorrow while suffering unjustly (2:18-20). He pointed us to Christ as the supreme example of one who suffered the ultimate injustice and continued entrusting to God who judges justly (2:21-25). Then he addressed wives who had husbands who were hostile to the gospel (3:1-6). He instructs them in how to win their husbands to Christ without a word by a lifestyle that lets the inner beauty of a submissive God-exalting heart shine through. His argument is from the greater to the lesser. If women with husbands who are hostile to the gospel ought to respond to them in an attitude of graceful submission, how much more those who have husbands that share their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Remember, submission to authority in no way implies inequality or inferiority. This will be clear in the next verse. The authority structure in the marriage relationship is not a result of the fall, but rather has its roots in the created order. God created man and God demonstrated that it was not good for man to be alone, so he created a suitable helper – and boy do we need help! God made man as male and female – in his own image and he created them together to rule over and care for his creation.

But the roots of the ‘equal in personhood but submissive in role’ relationship of husbands and wives runs even deeper than the created order. It finds it source all the way back to the triune God who created us. The Son, although equal with the Father in every way, voluntarily and joyfully submits himself to the will of the Father. Jesus said:

John 8:28 …I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. 29 …I always do the things that are pleasing to him.”

Luke 22:42 … not my will, but yours, be done.”

This in no way indicates that Jesus is inferior to his Father in any way. It is this relationship of the Father’s gracious purposes and the Son’s willing and joyful submission in full unity and equality that the marriage relationship is meant to display.

This truth of scripture is being attacked in our culture, the same way God’s truth was attacked all the way back in the garden. Satan said to Eve ‘did God actually say…’ and there are bible scholars today that are asking that question ‘did God actually say that wives are to submit to husbands?’ And it couldn’t get much clearer than our text: ‘wives submit to your own husbands … as Sarah obeyed Abraham’. The next thing the snake said was it’s not true – ‘you will not surely die’. Yes, God may have said that, but he certainly didn’t mean it. This is a medieval relic leftover from a very different time that has no relevance for us today. We can accept the serpent’s lie to our own harm and the harm of our relationships, or we can submit to the authority of God’s word and humbly receive what God has to say to us as wise and loving instruction from the one who invented man and woman and the marriage relationship. That’s what I hope to do today.

In verse 7 he turns his attention to the husbands. Husbands, too can either bring glory to God by their conduct, or bring reproach to the name of Christ by the way they conduct themselves, especially toward their wives.

7 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.

Peter starts out saying ‘likewise‘. This is the same word he has used in 3:1 to address a new category of readers. He has addressed citizens and slaves and wives, and now he addresses husbands. The difference from these other categories is that here he is addressing the person with the authority rather than those who are under authority. Because of this, he does not use the word ‘submit’ or ‘be subject’ as he did with the other three groups. He says ‘husbands, because it falls upon you to lead, you must lead in this way’.

The first thing he says is ‘live with your wives in an understanding way’. The assumption is that the husband and wife are cohabiting. That should go without saying. You can’t follow these instructions if you have separated. The model is clear from Genesis – leave your father and mother and cleave to your spouse. One man and one woman until death do us part. Cling to one another. Be one flesh – in all that that means. God says ‘do not deprive one another’ in 1 Corinthians 7:5. His instructions here are specifically to the husband:

He says ‘husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way’. Literally it says ‘live with your wives according to knowledge‘ – there are things you need to know and can know about your wife that will make your relationship go well. There is an inclination in many books and seminars to exaggerate and highlight the drastic differences between men and women to the point that there is no hope for ever understanding the opposite sex. I think this is a reaction to our culture – a culture that has eliminated any difference between the sexes and demanded equality on every level. I think this is an over-reaction. You will never ever be able to understand women, so just resign yourself to live together peaceably. Give up hope of ever understanding your wife. Stop wasting effort on understanding her and just follow these 27 steps to achieve a better marriage. According to this text that is wrong and bad advice. Men are not from Mars and women are not from Venus. Peter tells us to live with our wives ‘according to knowledge’. There must be some attainable knowledge that he expects us to embrace that will help in our relationship both with our spouse and with God.

Men, here’s what you need to know about women. Here’s what the bible says. Truth #1 She was created by God; handmade by God; therefore she has inherent dignity, value and worth – so treat her with the respect that is due to God’s creation. Treasure her. Thank God for her. When God was done, he said it is ‘very good’. Don’t disagree with God on that one. Truth #2 She was created by God to be your helper – so let her help – you need help – she finds God given purpose when she helps – that doesn’t mean she was created to make your lunch and wash your dirty underwear and bring you a beer from the fridge as you hold down the couch. She was created to rule creation along side of you. She’s probably better than you are at a lot of things. Let her function in her strengths. You can fall off either side of the wagon here. This doesn’t mean you can abrogate your authority in the home and say ‘she’s better at leading than I am, so I’ll just sit here on the couch and let her lead’. God gave you the responsibility to lead, so step up to your God given responsibility and learn from God what it looks like to lead in a way that gives him the glory. Truth #3 Woman was taken from man’s side – so she is different but complimentary – she has what you lack. There ‘s a piece of you that is missing, and she has it. When you marry her, you become whole. She completes you. You are strong in areas that she is weak; she is strong in areas that you are weak. So value the part she plays in your relationship. Honor her for who God created her to be. Recognize you are incomplete without her. Truth #4 She is a sinner in desperate need of the grace and forgiveness of God – just like you are. She has inherited Adam’s fallen corrupt self-centered sinful inclination – just like you did. So be patient with her. Encourage her. Lovingly point her to Jesus. Pray for her. Truth # 5 She is an individual. She has a unique fingerprint, one of a kind DNA. There is no other woman on the face of the planet just like her. And you have an exclusive relationship with her. No one else has the legitimate opportunity to get to know her like you do. So get to know her. Become an expert on you wife. Find out what blesses her, what pleases her, what brings her delight – and do those things. Find out what annoys her, what irritates her, what frustrates her – and stop doing that. Talk to her. Listen to her. Hear her. Get emotionally involved in her life. Find out her strengths and encourage her in them. Find out her weaknesses and shelter her.

Live with her ‘according to knowledge, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel’. Husband, you are to honor your wife. She is worthy of honor and you are to give her that honor. Treat her with dignity. Value her.

Honor in God’s sight belongs to those who are or make themselves last or least in the eyes of the world;

Mark 10:42-45 And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

If your wife has voluntarily sacrificed of herself to serve you, she is great in God’s sight and she will be honored for that.

I want to look for a moment at what Peter calls women here: the ‘weaker vessel‘. Ladies, you might have been offended when we read that. Don’t be. Hear what he says. He calls you a vessel – that’s a container used to carry something. This metaphor is used throughout scripture to refer to human beings. In Genesis 2 we are told that God formed man out of dust and filled him with the spirit or breath of God. We are containers made to carry God’s image.

Isaiah 64:8 ‘We are the clay, and you are our potter’

2Timothy 2:21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.

2Corinthians 4:6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.

Our purpose as vessels or containers is to carry God’s image; to hold the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ; as Peter has put it ‘to proclaim the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness and into his marvelous light.

The text says that the woman is the weaker vessel. She’s not the weak vessel as opposed to the strong vessel. She is weaker – husband, you are weak. Both husband and wife are frail vessels used by God for his purposes. The word here translated ‘the woman’ is found only here in the New Testament – it could be translated ‘the feminine one’ This may refer to average physical strength. Or the wife may be considered weak because of her role as wife. By marrying, she has accepted a position which is in submission to her husband, and she has made herself vulnerable and subject to exploitation [Hiebert, p.206].

The reason stated for husbands to give honor to their wives is because they are fellow-heirs of the grace of life. This is a radical statement for a first century Jew living in Rome to make. Women in their culture got no inheritance. Yet Peter boldly proclaims that wives are joint-heirs of the grace of life. Within the marriage relationship, the roles of husband and wife are complementary and different. But individually in their standing before God they are equal. They are accepted by God on the same basis. They believe in the same Savior, are redeemed by the same ransom, live by the same grace, and look forward to the same eternal destiny. Wives share with their husbands in the ‘inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you’ (1:4). In fact, Peter has already addressed the situation where a wife is on her way to heaven without her husband if he remains hostile to the gospel, but the hope is that she would bring him to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. She, like any individual, is saved by grace alone through faith alone in the finished work of Christ alone.

Galatians 3:28 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.

The result is given in the final phrase of the verse: ‘so that your prayers may not be hindered‘. The implications of this are massive! If you do not live with your wife in an understanding way giving her honor, then your prayers will be cut off. God will not listen to you. Your relationship with your spouse directly impacts your relationship with God. God puts such a value on the husband/wife relationship that he will interrupt his own relationship with someone in loving discipline to get their marriage back on track. This is a specific restatement of a general biblical truth.

Matthew 5:23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

Matthew 6:12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Our horizontal relationships have direct implications on our vertical relationship with God. Do you feel distant from God? Feel like your prayers are bouncing off the ceiling? Consider your attitude toward your spouse.

7 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.

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~

March 15, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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