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Travis Rymer- 1 Peter 3 and Honoring Christ In Your Marriage

Are you struggling in our marriage? What God intended for good can be incredibly difficult at times. How can God’s word help? 

We know that marriage is the most intimate of relationships. Our marriages display the gospel to our children and to the world. God loves and blesses the institution of marriage. The Bible begins with a wedding and ends with the marriage of Christ and his bride.

And yet marriage can be difficult. when two sinners are that close, problems arise. 

Could this be why marriage rates have dropped? According to the US Census Bureau, only 25% of Americans age 18-34 are married. That’s compared with 59% in 1978- a mere 45 years ago.  17 million unmarried Americans cohabitate, up from 6 million 20 years ago. 

But God gives us guidance in that relationship and power to follow what he says.  He gives us sure help in his word. In this episode you will learn to serve Jesus in your closest relationship. In it Travis Rymer, my associate pastor, walks us carefully through 1 Peter 3:1-7. He speaks carefully to the big picture, to wives and then to husbands. After you listen to it, send it to your spouse to listen to. Why? We want our marriages to display Christ to the world and to our children. 


We want to help you raise strong disciples of Jesus Christ, who can stand strong in today’s culture, and you can get the audiobook of the Disciple Making Parent absolutely free.

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Episode Transcript

Chap: I’m Chap Bettis, and you’re listening to The Disciple-Making Parent Podcast, where we seek to equip parents and churches to pass the gospel to their children. Are you struggling in your marriage? What God intended for good can be incredibly difficult at times. How can God’s word help? 

Hi, my name is Chap Bettis and I’m the author of The Disciple-Making Parent. We know that marriage is the most intimate of relationships. And our marriages display the gospel to our children and to the world. God loves the institution of marriage, and he blesses it. The Bible begins with a wedding and ends with the marriage of Christ to his bride. And yet, marriage can be difficult. When two sinners are that close, well, guess what? Problems arise. Sparks fly. 

Could this be why marriage has dropped? According to the US Census Bureau, only 25% of Americans 18-34 are married, and that’s compared with 59% a mere 45 years ago. In addition, 17 million Americans are cohabitating, up from 6 million. So it seems that marriage is on the decline. 

But God gives us guidance in this good relationship, and he gives us power to follow what he says. He gives us sure help in his word. And in this episode, you’ll learn to serve Jesus in your closest relationship in it. In it, Travis Rymer, my associate pastor, walks us carefully through 1 Peter 3:1-7. He speaks carefully to the big picture, and then to wives, and then finally to husbands. After you listen, consider sending it to your spouse to listen to. Why? Well, we want our marriages to display Christ to the world and to our children. “All men will know you are my disciples if you love one another.” And our children are studying our marriage.

Well, before we start, I want to remind you that if you’re struggling with anger in your home, then Parenting with Patience may be perfect for you. We’ve received numerous testimonies about how this five-week video-driven Bible study has changed people’s lives. For more information, visit But for now, let’s think about how to serve Jesus in our marriage.

Travis: Would you grab a Bible and open to 1 Peter chapter 3 with me? 1 Peter chapter 3. If you’re using a pew Bible, that’s on page 1076. 1076. If you’re new to the Bible, we’re glad you’re here. Bible will help you. The large number is the chapter, small numbers the verses, and that’ll help you find your way as we comment and think about the meaning of what God has revealed here to us.

We’ve been working our way through first Peter, and we’ve come to passage that deals with how a Christian marriage should be structured and founded. And I want you to know that there are a lot of good jokes that I could say today, and I’ve been told I can’t use any of them. So don’t blame me when we get to the end and you’re like, “He missed all the good chances.” It’s not my fault. I’m being censored.

So in light of that, let’s pray and ask for God’s help. And if you would, maybe some of you could pray that my throat would hold up through this. Let’s pray. Father in heaven, we pray now that you would help us to hear your word, to receive your word, and that you would help us to live your Word. And God, in the process we pray that Jesus would be central to all of that. We would see him. We pray that in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Well, the text that we have before us is a text that we might want to avoid if we’re just selecting passages to preach on from week to week. But let me tell you something. I am moved by the beauty of what I see in 1 Peter chapter 3, verses 1-7, and I hope that you will be as well. In a society that’s trying to erase the existence of maleness and femaleness, this text speaks to God’s design, his beautiful design, of two genders, male and female. And in a generation that disparages marriage and wants to avoid it because they’ve never seen a good one perhaps, or they’ve been hurt by the marriages they’ve experienced, this text reminds us that there is a design for success.

The church has an incredible opportunity right in front of us to live out a gospel marriage in our homes and be a witness to society to the goodness of Christ and the reality of Jesus as the Messiah. So church, we should want this teaching. There is a beautiful balance to this text that infuses marriage with life and beauty. Isn’t that wonderful? Let’s read the text and then I’ll give you how we’ll think about it. 

Chapter 3 verses 1-7. 

In the same way wives submit yourselves to your own husbands so that even if some disobey the word, they may be one over without a word by their wife’s life when they observe your pure reverent lives. Don’t let your beauty consist of outward things like elaborate hairstyles and wearing gold jewelry or fine clothes, but rather what is inside the heart, the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For in the past the holy women who put their hope and God also adorned themselves in this way, submitting to their own husbands, just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him Lord. You have become her children when you do what is good and do not fear any intimidation. Husbands, in the same way live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker partner, showing them honor as co-heirs of the grace of life so that your prayers will not be hindered.

This text is putting in front of us this truth: Serve Jesus in your most intimate relationships. Serve Jesus in your most intimate relationships. Three things that help us think about serving Jesus in your most intimate relationship. The first one is I think this text along with the ones around it are exhorting us to submit wherever possible. Submit wherever possible. You can write just verse 1 for that. 

The second way in which we’re exhorted to serve Jesus in our most intimate relationships is, wives are exhorted to cultivate imperishable beauty. Cultivate imperishable beauty. This is verses 1-6. And then husbands, the third way. Husbands are told to love like Jesus. Love like Jesus. That’s verse seven. 

Let’s think about “submit wherever possible” in verse 1. The verse begins in the same way, which tells us that this is all in the flow of everything Peter has been laying out. This isn’t an isolated text just sort of trying to single out women, and then on the back end, one verse, slipped over to the men. This is a passage that’s in the context of everything Peter’s been saying about who we are in Christ, what our identity is, what our future is, who we all are as men and women before God as his children. 

And in that context, you’ll remember he told us in chapter 2, verse 12, let your eyes hit that verse. Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles. And the time for that is in verse 11: as strangers and exiles. So we belong to another citizenship. We have another citizenship. We belong to another kingdom. We’re from another place. So in that way, we should stick out in all areas of society. We don’t fit in.

And so in light of that, he says, but you’re living in this world, in this society, in this kingdom. So while you’re there, conduct yourselves with honor. You represent Jesus. In chapter 2, verse 13, he says, For the Lord’s sake, submit to ever every governing authority. And then in chapter 2, verse 16, you remember, Peter calls us the Lord’s slaves or his servants, and we recognize that that means we’re bound to him, but it’s also a title of honor. We serve him. Who do you belong to? Who do you serve? The king of the universe, Jesus. So that’s the context, right? 

And so as he comes to verse 1 of chapter 3, he says, In the same way. So in the same manner that you’re thinking about good conduct, being a servant of Jesus for the Lord’s sake, and living as part of another kingdom while you’re in the midst of one that’s not yours. In that way, he sets this up. And all of that is to be kept in focus- chapter 2, verse 12, in light of the day of visitation. Jesus is going to visit all mankind. Jesus is returning and when he comes, he’s coming in all of his glory and everything wrong, he’s going to make it right. He’s going to visit us. And in that day, what the society says is evil will be shown to be good. And the things that society is currently saying is good will be shown to be evil. And the lies that have been told about God and his world and his creation will be exposed for what they are. And all of his people who have tried to live for him, who have followed his word, under God’s grace by his spirit embraced what he has said and lived that out will be vindicated on that day.

And so that’s the context: that we live out the good conduct in this world. And all the questions we have about the text from last week and even this week are to be set underneath that idea. So the good conduct is in all areas of our life. So now here in this passage, Peter turns to the home, where our brother Chap has pointed out is the hardest place to live the gospel out. You can’t hide so well at home, right? You can put on a face at work, you can put one on at church, you can put one on in society, and you can even act like you’re submitting to governing authorities, or you can just turn the other way. But when you’re at home, the people who live with you. . . well, they see it. And they know who we really are. It’s the hardest place to live it out. 

Here in chapter 3 verse 1, the gentiles of chapter 2- notice they are husbands who disobey the word. They’re husbands who disobey the word. So in this passage, what Peter has in mind is that particular group of women in the church who have come to faith, they’ve put their hope in Jesus, but their husbands still haven’t. These are women who are married to pagan men. These are men who go to the temple and worship false gods. They participate in all the Roman activities of culture. They value the things that Roman culture values, and they devalue the things that Roman culture devalues. They are in homes that don’t honor Christ, and he writes to these women specifically.

So the question is, well, what’s a wife supposed to do now that she’s come to faith but her husband doesn’t obey the gospel? She can’t go home and say, “What did you think about the sermon today? She can’t go home and say, “When Peter tells us how to live, what do you think about that?” She’s in a context where he doesn’t receive those things. This was a live issue for these churches because, just like in many churches today, the female population of churches has always been greater than the male population of churches. And women in first-century Roman contexts received the gospel, many times readily, when their husbands were resistant.

And so in the church, the churches became full of first generation believers, first time believers in their home that were having to go home to contexts that didn’t follow Christ. In some ways, in many ways, these women are early Christian heroes. And that produced a situation where many of these women were asking, “What am I supposed to do? How do I live in that context?”

Well, the answer that Peter gives is the answer he wants to give us when we ask the same kinds of questions. And it’s be subject to Jesus. The same thing he told us last week when it comes to governing authorities and in social contexts. Submit to your own husband, he says to the wives. So, the direct context of an unbelieving husband is important because it gives us the hardest cases first. It’s an argument from the hardest to the easier. So he starts where it’s most difficult. He’s not shying away from that. But that actually helps us ask our questions, “Well, what about this scenario? Or what about that scenario?” This is the framework that we can move towards those questions. In other words, if Christian women are supposed to submit to pagan husbands, it places the command in the same stream that we’re all in when it comes to submitting to governing authorities and society itself.

But it also makes it even more clear that when we’re talking about good governments, Christian bosses- or just good, good bosses- and Christian husbands, if we can submit to the one, then it should be much easier to submit to the other. You can see the way that this line of thought goes. Now just like the other good conduct that will be vindicated when Jesus returns some of it, we’ll see, some of these ladies will see the fruit of salvation coming by way of their unbelieving husbands coming to faith. Look at verse 1 again. He says, In the same way, wives submit to your own husbands, so that even if some disobey the word, they may be won over without a word by their wife’s lives. The entire thing is filled with hope. 

Sister, you may be in a tough context. You may be in one of the hardest contexts. But there is hope for you in that place where you are alone, perhaps the most alone, to win your husband through this exhortation. You are to live in that context with hope, with the strength that the Lord supplies, with the day of visitation in front of you, and the hope that your husband will come to faith, that he will see the way you’re living for the Lord, and that he will want to follow him, too.

And let me just say to those that are single: recognize that marriage is hard. Paul talks about that, right? That’s why he says that for many, singleness might be better. And so, he warns and he says, when you get married, you have to be responsible for your marriage. You have to take that on, and you have to pick up all the responsibilities of it and then live it out. And so it’s hard. And so the warning from many places of scripture is that if you’re a believer in Christ, you shouldn’t date someone who’s not a Christian. You’re asking to be put into a hard situation. Marriage is hard enough by itself! And then when you start dating someone that’s not a Christian, you’re opening yourself up to an even more difficult marriage. And so on this side of things, if you’re single and you’re tempted with that, I know that it’s hard. I just want to remind you and encourage you from this text, look at what these ladies were facing and guard yourself from willingly putting yourself there when you don’t have to.

But before we talk about what this is telling us to do- so we will do that- let’s think about what it’s not telling us to do. Okay? Remember last week I said there are exceptions and there’s recourse to submission. So everybody that was worried last week when we said “submit to the government” and you went home saying, “I’m not sure if I can ever go back there,” I want to help us think about this. And as you think about it, it actually applies in all areas that scripture tells us to submit. And let me just say, I’m going to try to like, just rattle them off. You can write them down, you can re-listen to this, but it actually requires a lot of thought and careful nuance to work your way towards a situation where you’d say, “I know the text tells me to do this, but in this situation, I think I should do this.” That’s a very precarious place for a Christian to be, so you have to be careful. So let me try the best I can to help us with that. 

So, last week I defined submission this way. I said, submission is a disposition to say yes. It’s your heart’s disposition to say yes. So before the boss ever walks in and starts rattling off the Monday morning list, and before you roll the eyes back and say, “Are you kidding me?” Your disposition is, “I’m employed here and I don’t call all the shots.” And so my disposition is yes. Or when you live in a society, your disposition starts with, “I’m going to do everything I can to keep peace and order in my society and submit to the laws and the governing authorities that are over me.” So before anything comes, we say yes. 

Now for marriage, Wayne Grudem takes that and just nuances it a little further for marriage. And he says, “Submission is an inner quality of gentleness that affirms the leadership of the husband.” I’m going to say that again. He defines it this way: “Submission is an inner quality of gentleness that affirms the leadership of the husband.” Grudem’s picking up the word “gentleness” right here from verse 4 in 1 Peter chapter 3, and by leadership, he’s acknowledging the order that God has for marriage. As Christians, we understand that there’s a design for marriage. There’s a plan for it. He doesn’t just bring two people together who live independent lives and then says, “Now join these together.” Because actually when you live two independent lives where two people are vying for control, what you do is you bring two sinners together to fight for leadership. But that’s not how a Christian marriage should be, and it’s not how God designed marriage. God designed marriage that the husband of the home would lead his home. And the wife would submit to her husband. That’s the teaching of scripture. 

So a key to all of this though, is that God has ordained structure of authority for the good ordering of society. So whenever God tells any of us to submit to anything, he means it for our good. He’s telling us, “Do this, because this is the path to flourishing.” That’s what God means when he tells us this. People mess that up, right? People abuse their power. They abuse authority, and they make us all question that. But God says submit because he wants us to flourish. 

And so let me just urge you, whatever your background is, whatever thing you’re facing right now that’s making you want to doubt or push against the scriptures here, I just want exhort you to hear God speaking and not the person that’s hurt you. And then if God the Father is speaking, and you call him Father and you know him as Lord, well then you can open yourself up to his design. The guiding principle is that Jesus is the highest authority. So no one ever replaces Jesus. No government replaces Jesus. No boss or master replaces Jesus. No husband replaces Jesus. No wife replaces Jesus. No elders or church authority replaces Jesus. Jesus is the king. Period. Full stop. 

Now, a wife in that context does not submit to physical or sexual abuse. Wives, you should never submit to physical or sexual abuse. If you’re in that situation, you should get out of it. You should seek safety. You should tell somebody and we should help you. Jesus is king and so no husband has the right at any time- ever– to hit his wife, to intimidate his wife, to try to use his size to make her cower down in any way. And if you’re a man who does that, you are a coward. And the Lord Jesus rebukes you. Full stop. This is essentially abandonment of your wife even though you haven’t left the house. And so she should leave and you should repent. 

Now in that light, what are some principles that we can bring, to think about are there exceptions to submitting? Here’s one. I’m going to give you five. One, we never submit to what God has said not to do. So we don’t do sin. Okay, so examples of this are the Hebrew midwives. Pharaoh, the Emperor Supreme, told the Hebrew midwives kill every male boy that’s born to the Jews, and they didn’t do it. And they were commended for it. Moses’s parents put Moses in a basket, sent him down the Nile, didn’t turn him in. Shadrach, Meschach and Abednigo would not bow to the statue that was erected and they were thrown into a fire. Esther is another example of this. 

So if your husband says, “Hey, stop following Jesus, you can’t do that.” If you’re here today and you’re married to a man that’s not a believer, and he says, “I don’t want you to follow Jesus,” obviously you can’t. You can’t do that. If a husband says, “Let’s watch pornography together,” you should reject that. If he encourages you to get an abortion, you should reject that. If a boss says, “Hey, fudge the numbers just a little bit so that it looks good and we can get the sale,” you shouldn’t do it. “Make the delivery light.” Don’t do that. If he says, “Affirm the homosexual practice of your neighbor and tell them that it’s good,” you can’t do that. If a government says, “Institutionalized racism,” you can’t do it. So wherever God has said don’t do something, we can’t submit to that. 

But number two, we must do what God has said to do. So this is the positive side of the same thing. So we positively do righteousness. So in Acts 5, the apostles are preaching and they’re told, “Don’t preach in Jesus’ name,” and they say, “Is it right to obey you or God?” Always God.

Abigail and Esther are two women in the Old Testament which are really interesting because I think both of them are breaking submission. So Esther is not supposed to go before the king. She’s in his harem and she’s not supposed to approach him unless she’s summoned, but she risks herself because all her people are about to be killed. So she breaks submission rightly and risks her life to save others. Abigail does the same thing. Nabal says, “Nobody in my house is going to give anything to David.” Well, David’s the anointed next king and he has done nothing but good. And she knows Nabal has just signed his death sentence. So this good wife broke submission to go and give David stuff. Now, Nabal still ended up dying, but she did what was right.  So I think you see examples there that where righteousness is held out, you do righteousness. 

A third one is that we can use every legal recourse available to us. So Paul appealed to Caesar to get his trial moved to a better venue. So he was being tried by Jews and he said, “This is not good, I’m a Roman, I appeal to Caesar.” And of course, in the end, that ended in his death. But he was using legal recourse to expose what was not right and to get a better trial. You can do that. That’s not going against the scripture. 

Number four, where unjust laws or governments exist, we should, in love of neighbor, resist without violence. But we’d better be right. Let me say that one more time. Where unjust laws or governments exist, we should, in love of neighbor, resist without violence. But we’d better be right. Now, what do I mean by that? Well, there’s different levels of laws and there’s different ways that those might affect people, so you have to bring all of that into consideration. But Paul challenged police brutality in Acts 22:26. He was being beaten and he said, “Wait a minute. Is it lawful for you to beat a Roman citizen?” And it wasn’t. He exposed the injustice of what they shouldn’t be doing that they were doing, and they were using their authority wrongly. But Paul didn’t fight back. Paul would not leave the jail in Philippi in Acts chapter 16. He had been beaten publicly in arrested publicly, and then they quietly tried to dismiss him. They opened up the jail, they wouldn’t even go see him, and the authorities said, “Hey, go release Paul. Let him go.” Because they realized they were wrong. And Paul said, “No, you arrested me in public. You brought me here in public. You need to come get me so that I’ll leave.” I think that tells us part of the spirit that we can have as we think about these hard things. 

A final one, a fifth one that you and I just have to work through is that our American form of government complicates matters tremendously. The president is not the emperor and he or she will always be elected to that office and serves under the Constitution. So we actually are a government of laws that all of us have to submit to, including our government officials. But once we elect them, they’re in the office to uphold those laws. So it’s complicated. So what are things that we can do? Well, you can get involved, you can organize, you can vote, you can run for office, you can try to change laws. You can write your own bill and try to get it forward. There’s lots of things that we can do if we don’t like the government that’s over us.

All right. That’s all the time we’ve got for that. But those are five ways that we can think about areas that we don’t submit or we might be able to resist submitting. But the key principles to balance all this call to submission is this: It’s not an absolute submission at all times no matter what. It’s not obedience the way that we obey God. It’s a little different.. So all of that prepares us to hear positively the instructions that we have to wives and husbands. 

So let’s think about the second thing: Wives cultivate imperishable beauty. Wives cultivate imperishable beauty. Let me just address an elephant in the room. It’s a baby elephant, but it’s an elephant. Why are there more verses for the ladies than for the men? And it’s obviously because ladies use more words than men. No, I’m kidding. It’s clearly because men can’t handle more than one verse. We understand it. Peter got it. No. The reason is that the context, as I was saying, is that there’s a large population in these churches of women who are married to men who don’t follow Jesus. That’s driving the primary concern here, and one of the ways that you know that is because in Ephesians chapter 5, it’s reversed. The women in Ephesians 5 get one verse and the men get 10 verses. Because they just need a little extra. So it’s balanced biblically as you think about all that. 

So what does he mean by submit? We’ve already defined it, but how does he tease it out in these verses? Well, to answer that, he contrasts two ways of being a wife. Look at what he says in verse- I’ll just begin in verse 1 and I’m going to read to verse 4.

In the same way, wives submit yourselves to your own husband, so that even if some disobey the word, they may be won over without a word by the way their wives live when they observe your pure and reverent lives. Don’t let your beauty consist of outward things like elaborate hairstyles and wearing gold jewelry or fine clothes, but rather what is inside the heart, the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 

Here he’s contrasting two ways of being a wife. One is external and one is internal. One is external and one is internal. In verse 2, it’s the respectful and good conduct that’s going to win some of their husbands to submission to Jesus as they submit- verse 1- in the spirit of verses 3 and 4. I know it’s a mouthful. Let me say it again. So the respectful and good conduct of verse 2 is what’s going to win their husbands to submit to Jesus as they submit to their husbands- verse 1- in the spirit of verses 3 and 4.

Marital status in Roman culture mattered a great deal. And through marriage, a woman had status, received inheritance, and owned property. And the more elaborate the status, the more attention would be given to external adornment. Because the external adornment is the way in which you showed all those things in society. Specifically, if they wore gold and jewelry, braided the hair. . . Just think of all the Roman statues you’ve perhaps seen of women at the time. Braided hair, often pulled up in certain styles. Very elaborate. This was a very Roman thing to do. And just like today, it was the standard of beauty, the way you wore clothes, the kind of clothes you put on, et cetera.

Verse 3 is not prohibiting taking care of yourself. So it’s not saying that you can’t shop at a nice store or use makeup or anything like that. That’s not his point. There are other places in scripture where the apostles will make a point to devalue those kinds of things, but that’s not what Peter is on about here. He’s contrasting the outer person that society looks at and values, and the temptation that a woman would have to put all that on in order to say, “I’m somebody. I have worth. You should respect me.” And instead, he’s urging us to think about the inner person that God values. The kind of things that a woman might reach for to “put on” in the idea of clothing to have status or approval or beauty and self-worth are the things that a Christian woman, that a Christian man, should undervalue. It’s not that they’re nothing. Attraction is not nothing. 

But those aren’t the main things, right? That’s not what godliness consists of. So in its place is the inner person of the heart, and it’s marked by a gentle and quiet spirit, he says. Now, Luke Harding was here about a month ago and he preached on Matthew 11, and he gave you a synopsis of gentle and lowly. And he thought about how Jesus was meek, right? So I just want to push you to that. You can, you can go back there, in light of this, now that we see this text, and you can think about what he taught there. But let me just remind you of a couple of things. This word meek right here is only used four times in the Bible. Three are in Matthew and one right here.

Now there’s other words for meekness and gentleness, but here the word that’s used is the one that Jesus uses to describe himself. And in Matthew 11:29 it says, I am gentle and lowly of heart. It describes his disposition. It describes the way he lives. Another place that it’s used, not of Jesus, but on Jesus’s lips, is in Matthew 5:5 in the beatitudes, and he says there that the meek will inherit the earth. I have always been struck by that particular beatitude because it’s so counter-cultural, right? The way people think that they get ahead in life is by scratching and clawing and not being meek. It’s like if you want to accomplish something, you want to go somewhere. First thing you need to learn is don’t be meek. Jesus says it’s actually the meek that are going to inherit everything. 

So what Peter’s calling wives to do is to have that Christian virtue that Jesus exhorts all of us to have in the beatitude. Gentle and lowly. Meek. One dictionary put it as not being overly impressed by a sense of one’s self-importance. You’ve probably heard the definition people have given of strength under power. It’s like Jesus restrains all of his strength and he’s meek. Quiet is the same word that means peaceable. Peaceable. You find that in 1 Timothy 2:2. We’re told to pray for those leaders and authorities over us so that we would live peaceable lives or quiet lives. So gentle and quiet. This is getting at that inner disposition, that quality of character that is peaceable. That is that in your tone, in your attitude, in the way that you might voice a complaint, in the way that you might want things to be different in your home. It would be marked by peacefulness.

It works against the eye-roll, and the under the breath complaints, and sighs that say “There he is again, sitting on the couch like he always does.” That kind of gentle meek disposition isn’t reflected in that tone. But it also works against the desire to have control, to resist control. If you have a gentle and quiet spirit, you recognize the impulse to grab control and say, “It has to be my way.” Or to try to turn things in a certain way so that you get the outcome that you want. Listen, I know that can be really hard, especially if your husband tends to be a little more, maybe, hard of hearing. But if you’re gentle and quiet, then you have to check that. You have to let the Lord grab a hold of you and ask, “Well, where should I direct my angst?” And obviously it’s to the Lord, but we’ll see how that plays out. 

But realize this isn’t talking about not having a voice. If you’re a submissive wife, that doesn’t mean that you don’t speak up, that you don’t have a voice in your home and you can’t say, “Husband, I don’t think we’re doing well here.” If that’s your idea, or husbands, if that’s your idea of a wife being submissive, that that’s not right. A wife certainly has a voice and should have a voice in her home. This is talking about a spirit, a heart disposition. Jesus was peaceable but challenged wrong. He was meek, but spoke against sin. He sought out disciples. He was assertive in those ways. He cleansed the temple, and he went about busily doing good all the time. That’s our picture of gentle and quiet. 

And that’s why it’s shown in pure and reverent conduct in verse 2. This is an inner disposition, a gentle and quiet spirit that’s going to reveal itself in respectful and pure conduct. It’s going to show up in the attitude, in the voice, in the tone, in the things that are done. It’s going to reveal itself as our heart always does. Reverence is that fear of God that we talked about in chapter 1 verse 17, that all of us are to live in now. We’re to live in the fear of God, the awareness that you live in God’s presence who judges impartially. 

Now ladies, think about how this would help you. As you hear the call and the anxiety and fears of what could go wrong, pop up. The fear of God, the awareness of the Lord’s presence can meet that anxiety right where you sit. If you live in the fear of God and you live with awareness that he’s here, he sees, he’s with me. I’m not alone. It can fill you up in that way. It can also move you towards it if you’re struggling to do it. You can pray to the Lord, “Lord, I want to give myself to you, I want to move in this way.” Fear of God is what helps you get there. 

This is what Peter said is imperishable. Looking at verse 4, he says, but rather what’s inside the heart, the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. Peter calls it imperishable. This is an adornment that never wears out and it doesn’t shrink as you get older. And it never goes out of style. This is heavenly fashion, heavenly couture that you can wear all the days of your life, all the way to the end, and walk right into heaven with the same garment on.

Isn’t that incredible? It is imperishable. And it’s not just imperishable, but our text says in God’s sight is very precious, or is of great worth. This word that’s translated “precious” in the ESV or “of great worth” in the Christian Standard Bible is the word in Mark chapter 14 verse 3, that was used to describe the alabaster flask that Jesus was anointed with, the one of great precious value that was broken and poured on Jesus. And people said, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. You’re wasting all that precious ointment.” And Jesus says “She’s done a good thing.” I hope it’s not stretching the text or the application too much to say that this is a way in which you could daily anoint the feet of Jesus. That if you lived with a gentle and quiet spirit, with the desire to submit to your husband wherever you could, anointing the feet of Jesus, this is what God considers to be of great worth. You say “What? What’s valuable to God?” A gentle and quiet spirit. If you’re not motivated yet, I am. I want to have a gentle and quiet spirit.

Now, church, this tells us what real beauty is. So I I hope that this is becoming beautiful to us. Ladies, resist worldly beauty at the expense of godly beauty. Resist worldly beauty at the expense of godly beauty. Young girls, young ladies, teenagers, the world cuts at this from both sides. The world does not promote this in any way. So as you go about your days, as you go to school, as you read books, as you watch movies, as you listen at school, as you hear your peers,  if you’re on social media- I hope you’re not, but if you’re on social media as you’re looking at stuff, you have to understand that the world is trying to undermine this. And it’s saying, “Don’t do that. Don’t be gentle and meek. Don’t be quiet.” It’s telling you to have a certain image. It’s telling you to have the right look, and then you’ll be valued and then you’ll be loved. This is coming from an emptiness, however. The world is offering you a full glass, but their glass is empty.

So you’ve got to see that. You’ve got recognize that. And when you see it and you feel that pull and you want to give into that and you want to do what everybody else is doing, you’ve got to see it’s coming from emptiness and it’s placing your self-worth, your value, your beauty in somebody else’s values. God wants to be the one that you look to for that value. God wants to be the one that you look for for the value of beauty. So make sure there are things that you can do. 

The world will cut at you another way. It will say, “Make sure you’re not dependent on another man or under a man. So it’ll say you’ve got to take care of yourself. You’ve got to make sure that you never need a man in your life. And this is coming from a place of hurt. And it’s not how God wants you to live. That’s not the spirit he wants you to have in your heart. So you can take every reasonable opportunity to get educated, develop skills, take care of yourself, get in a position that you can provide you for yourself if you need to if God ends up calling you to a position where you end up in that place. But most of all, make sure that you work harder at getting a godly spirit. That’s the most important thing. And men, if this is what God says is of great worth, this is what should shape our view of beauty. This is the kind of woman you should look for and value.

If you’re married, this is what you should praise the most about when you talk about your wife. Certainly, attraction has value, but of greater value is the hidden person of the heart. So look for this value it, appreciate it, honor it. Talk about it, talk about it to your kids. Point out what mom does. Point out what she what she’s labored to bring about in this house this week, and honor that.

Ladies, the example of Sarah in these verses gives us one more picture of these qualities. She’s offered as an example in line with other godly women by the way in which she referred to Abraham. We can’t take much time on this, let me just say a couple words about this here. In verses 5 and 6, she’s held out. This is verse 5: For in the past, the holy women who put their hope in God also adorned themselves in this way, submitting to their own husbands, just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him Lord.

The citation is from Genesis chapter 18 verse 12. And it’s somewhat puzzling to everybody as you look at the context, because there’s places where Abraham asked Sarah to submit that we would all naturally go to. Just think about the first, the first place where the Lord, visits Abraham. He says, “Get your family, get up, leave your home and go to a place you’ve never been to.” And he’s got to present that to Sarah when he goes home. You could go there, but he doesn’t. He goes to this place where the angel of the Lord is telling Abraham that this time next year Sarah is going to be pregnant. And she hears outside, she’s outside the tent, and out of her lips comes “Really? When he’s old? Will I have pleasure again when my Lord is old?” It’s just like a phrase that like pops out when she’s actually laughing at something.

So it seems like that’s what Peter’s actually picking up on. Her disposition is such that in her casual speech she referred to Abraham as Lord. Isn’t that interesting? So verse 6 adds at the end, You are her children if you do good and do not fear anything frightening. And I so appreciate, that Peter put that there because it’s like Peter can hear the anxiety rising as he writes this, and he knows some women are going to be afraid. But he says, listen, “Sarah was in positions where she was afraid. Sarah was in positions where she should have been afraid, and Abraham didn’t always lead well, but her disposition was to say yes. And what she had to do was to believe the same things that Abraham had to believe.” Think about that. When they got up and left Ur, Abraham said, “I believe what God said, we’ve got to go.” She had to believe that in order to follow him when he was making mistakes and doing dumb stuff, she had to still believe the promises. That’s how you battle. Proverbs 3:25. Do not be afraid of sudden terror or of the ruin of the wicked when it comes. For the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught. That’s what he’s talking about.

Now, if you’re hearing this and you’re not a Christian, this all may sound crazy to you and you’re like, “Are you kidding me? In 2023? Am I hearing this right?” But let me tell you, our whole religion is this way. Jesus Christ was born in a town, in Bethlehem, and he was raised in Nazareth, and he was a human being. He was a man except he was God also. And as God, he could have done anything he wanted. But what he did was he submitted to the Father and his Father called him to come to Earth and live among us and let sinners push him around. And let sinners slap him in the face and let sinners mock him and make a crown of thorns and shove it into his head and say, “Ha ha. Hey, king, how are you doing now?” And lay his life down all the way to the point of being naked, exposed on a cross and dying, to the point at his last breath, he had to say to the Father, Into your hands I commit my spirit. Our entire faith is based on that. So everything that Jesus calls us to do is to follow in his footsteps. That’s what he says in chapter 2. We follow that pattern, and what God’s calling you to do is to follow the same pattern. You have to submit yourself to God by repenting from your sins, and if you do, Jesus’s sacrificial death will count for you because God is very merciful and he forgives every single sinner. Whoever turns from their sin and comes to him and says, “I submit to you,” that’s the calling that God is calling you to. And of course that means that you’ll now live your life honorably among the Gentiles and you’ll learn what it means to follow in a cruciform life, as we said last week. I’d love to talk to you at the door if that’s you.

Let’s turn now to the third thing, verse 7. Be subject to Jesus by loving like Jesus. Husbands, love like Jesus. Look at verse 7 again. Husbands, in the same way live with your wives in an understanding way as with a weaker partner, showing them honor as co-heirs of the grace of life so that your prayers will not be hindered. In the same way, it’s just like verse one. Now he’s turning to the husbands and he’s telling you, here’s how you’re going to live honorable conduct. And I said before that there’s a beautiful balance to God’s design for marriage. And this is the other side of the coin. So this is the side that husbands bring to the table in the calling of wives to submit.

And the main thing he tells husbands to do is live with your wives in an understanding way. Now I’m calling it “love like Jesus,” because the other places in the New Testament where you get this, it’s “love your wife the way Jesus loved.” And I think what Peter’s doing is he’s saying the same thing. He’s just coming at it from a different angle, with a different phrase and a different context, which I think will make a lot of sense when you look at it. So he says, Live with your wives in an understanding way, or “Love like Jesus.” So he qualifies it after that with motivation and explanation. So he says, live this way, and then he’s going to motivate us and he’s going to explain it.

There’s no way around the fact that what God designed for marriage is a pattern of husbands leading their home and wives submitting to that leadership. But that in no way puts a Christian man in a position of king. So no Christian man should hear this and say, “All right, cool. That’s what I was hoping for. If submission orients the wife to her husband, living with your wife in an understanding way requires that you orient yourself to your wife. How can you live in an understanding way if you give no thought to it? How can you do that if you don’t give her the attention that it would require to actually obey this?

And even though the calling to submit places wives in a more vulnerable position, if husbands lived up to this calling, that vulnerability would be met with a powerful infusion of trustworthiness. Or one way we could do it is men, you should make it easy for your wives to submit. And that might be a good diagnostic question to ask as we go home and as you go through this week, is, “Honey, how am I doing?” You ready for that? “How am I doing with this? Is it easy for you to submit or is it hard?” And if you get like, “Well. . . “ then you need to be open and asking and saying, “Okay, tell me.” Without rebuttal, without defense. That doesn’t mean she’s going to be right in every aspect of that. But you need to hear it first. You’ve got to hear it first. 

And as a society, we need this. Listen, you want this in society. You want the calling for men to lead their homes and to live with your wives in an understanding way. Our society tells men to take a seat. And you know what that does? That destroys men. It leads them to play video games and indulge in pornography and never take on responsibility. So as a society, when we say “Men, take a seat, take a hike,” we tell men, “We don’t want you.” And the men go, “Well, then, what do I live for?” And men also go, “Well, then, fine. I’ll live for me and I won’t do anything worthwhile and I won’t take on any responsibility because it’s a lot.” That’s not the society we want.

If we call men to this, they will rise to it because God’s put it in them. That’s why he made us how he made us. So literally the phrase here in an understanding way is “according to knowledge.” That was a really helpful insight to notice this week, what’s translated understanding way is “according to knowledge.” And it’s a little more clumsy in English this way, but I think it helps fill out what Peter’s talking about when you and I hear live in an understanding way. We hear that as really helpful advice that you should know, your wife’s shoe size, her dress size, what her favorite color is, what her favorite movie genre is, what restaurant she likes to eat at, what kind of food she likes.

You should know all that stuff, and if you can’t remember it, ask her and put it in your phone. That’s really helpful advice. It’s not unique, it’s not original to me, but just, brothers, I don’t see any of you writing it down, but you should be writing it down, all right? That’s our first thought.

And I think that’s definitely application of this. 

However, that’s actually downstream a little bit upstream is the knowledge Peter’s been talking about of knowing God. Remember in chapter 1, verse 14, he, he says to all of us, No longer be conformed to the former ignorance of the ways of the world, the former way you used to live when you didn’t know God.

In chapter 1, verse 18, he tells us that we’ve been redeemed from our empty way of life. And then in chapter 1, verse 22, he said, we were purified by obedience to the truth. And then in chapter 2, verse 12, we are therefore to conduct ourselves honorably. Living with your wife in an understanding way, I think, is a much bigger picture than just knowing your wife. You now know God. You didn’t know how to live before. You lived according to the passions of your flesh. Whatever popped up, whatever impulse you had, whatever impression you got from society, whatever good example or bad example you had from your dad. But now in Jesus, you know how to live. That’s the knowledge that we should live with our wives in. 

And look how that plays out. He says, as with a weaker partner, I’m going to mention that, but then showing them honor as co-heirs of the grace of life. The first place that that new knowledge takes you is, “This woman is my equal.” Society has made us not equal. In a Roman context they were not equal. But the gospel comes in, brings us into the church and says “The same.” Sot same in gender, not same in callings, same in value, same before God. It’s restoring us to the way he made us. Radical equality. And that’s even true of the qualifier here of “weaker partner.” Peter’s not trying to be offensive. Weaker partner or vessel is simply describing the physical differences between the way God made men and made women. Men are generally bigger and stronger than women. That’s not true in every case. It’s a broad sweep. There are certainly exceptions, and there’s nothing in this to signal that Peter’s trying to demean women in any way.

He’s actually trying to elevate them and he’s telling men, “Recognize the strength you have should not be used to devalue the woman that you have. But the strength you have should call you to her to honor her.” This is the equality of the spouses that elicits honor of the differences. Just like the Trinity. Weakness in anything you care about in life always leads you to protect or strengthen it.

Think about that. Anything that in any way you would say, “There’s something here that’s vulnerable,” it leads you, if you care about it, you try to protect it, and you try to strengthen it. That’s what Peter’s talking about. That’s what he’s calling us to. God has created women in a way that they should be cared for, and look at the word that he uses: honor. Verse 7, towards the end, showing them honor as co-heirs. Honor is what’s supposed to mark all of our conduct. Honor is what’s shown to the emperor! Honor in chapter 2 verse 17 goes to everybody. So, man, we’ve got to get this. Of all the people in your life you should honor first and most importantly, your wife. If you’re married, your wife should be the first person that you honor. So men, this means she’s not a bro. We don’t say “Bruh.” She’s not a roommate. Don’t get mad if she doesn’t want to watch football. Some ladies love it, but a lot of women don’t. She’s not a man. Don’t try to treat her like that. She’s not your travel partner or your maid, she’s your wife.

That word “wife” should have honor attached to it. Somebody mentions your wife’s name, you should think, “That’s my wife we’re talking about.” Perhaps we should all ask our wives today how she sees it at home. Sadly, some husbands show more honor to everyone else than your wife. You might be in public restraining your tongue, deferring to others, listening well, and then as soon as you get in the car, you shut her out. You talk over her or you put her down. That’s honor to everyone except your wife. That’s not right. I always cringe when I hear a man talking about his wife in a way that she would be mortified if she were present. That should never be on our tongues. Husbands, we should always talk about our wives as if she’s sitting right next to us.

There’s room for honest critique, so you can go to a brother and you can say, “Listen, I’m struggling. Here’s what’s going on. My wife, is like this and, and I don’t know what to do about it.” That’s honest conversation. That’s different than disparaging your wife. So she’s not “the old lady.” She’s wife, deserving of honor. And the warning at the end should stand out to all of us. It’s a reminder that nobody replaces Jesus. He says, so that your prayers would not be hindered. Now, whatever he’s talking about there, we don’t want to find out. 

So during your time as a sojourner, conduct yourselves honorably. We’re servants of Jesus. So we’re subject to governing authorities and all of our social responsibilities. And we should show society a beautiful example of how to be a family. Wives submitting to their husbands, husbands loving like Jesus and living with knowledge just like Jesus did with the Father.

Let’s pray. Father, we thank you for this wonderful, beautiful truth. We pray that, God, the picture we have would motivate us, fill us, encourage us, strengthen us. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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