Wednesday, April 29, 2020

The Rock Speaks (5)

Our study of Peter and 'Christian Submission' continues.... out of the frying pan and into the fire! Submission for the glory of God.... not a natural or easy disposition!

1 Peter 3:1–7

[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 and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—[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 own 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. (ESV)

What Peter says about slaves provokes great questions about social justice. What he writes about marriage provokes great questions about domestic discord.

None of the principles in the Bible, however, make sense apart from the gospel message. When John Newton penned the lines "I once was blind, but now I see" - He means the spiritual eyes that are opened in a way that 'it all makes sense'.

"I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else".  C. S. Lewis
The demise of marriage is tragic on so many levels. It has had huge negative consequences in social structures, family stability, the abuse of children, the increased heartache of children, and an overall cheapening of our understanding of love, faithfulness, and intimacy.

A deeper tragedy is that marriage is a picture of Christ's love for His bride as well. When Satan attacks, he especially loves to take down marriages individually and he constantly attacks any overall reverence for the institution.

So let's look at the structure of a Biblical marriage and see its implications:

To the Wife:
Likewise (i.e. look back at the point I am making before... )

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.

and again- I'm not trying to sugar coat it- this passage is saying some HARD things- supernatural things- things that make you say WHY? or HOW? Things that make non-believers sneer, mock, and criticize.

Skeptics will say - DO you see what these fools are buying INTO?

The bottom line- we are talking about SUBMISSION- sometimes painful submission. And yes, sometimes under cruel masters.

How long do you stay? Is it a sin to get out? Do you mean you have to sit there and get abused?

I always answer the question this way... as far as the Lord's grace allows your faith to go.

I don't know if you believe me, but I am having such a hard time here writing this. I have a good marriage, I have a good life- and it is easy for me to write these things in a ivory tower that fits together in a theoretical rant.

And I know there is real pain and tragedy out there.

So- 'Mr easy to say until you live it'- what are you putting on the brother here? And it is with great understanding that I say it- and ultimately only Jesus took it the full mile.


I know of great stories of supernatural forgiveness- way beyond what would be expected- God given examples of forgiving over and over, deeper and deeper.

Consider again, marriage- it is never easy to submit. Culture, human nature, modern feminist notions rail against these words. It is hard in a good marriage to a good man.

But this passage says likewise- be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, 

Peter says- this isn't submission just to a good man.. this is submission to a bad man as well!

So the woman just stays until she is beaten or killed? NO- she has to reach out to help and society must rush in to correct and protect. The church and magistrates MUST courageously confront these rogues. God will not go easy on anyone who does nor defend the helpless and take down the bullies.

BUT WE ARE MISSING THE POINT- the entire passage here has been about a willingness to 'let go of my rights for the sake of others and for the glory of God'....all of this points to Christ. He endured cruel punishment, He yielded to the providence of pain, He did not even speak in defense, He lovingly and humbly stretched out His hands and embraced the nails.

All men fail... but Jesus stayed the course.

Now this is not just a moral imperative that we fall short of- there is instruction here for the wives.

Yield to the authority of the husband; it is an organizational chart.

Included in these instructions: Do not obsess with outward beauty... it is a trap! Focus to be beautiful on the inside: character shines longer, sweeter, and better than any vain, youthful flash.
Be strong, not fearful.

All of this, under the powerful Holy Spirit and the transformation of the gospel, makes for the chemistry of not only a good marriage, but of potential salvation. There have been men and children brought to Christ by the patient perseverance of a godly wife. This doesn't mean to choose an ungodly man for a missionary marriage, but it means that when a Christian says, "I do" it is for better or for worse.


1 Peter 3:7

[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. (ESV)

Likewise? What do you mean likewise? It means this- Men submit as well. When God places a man as Lord of the marriage, He doesn't mean Lord in the worldly sense, He means Lord in the heavenly sense.

The extent that any wife is to follow the husband as leader is always in direct correlation to his humility and submission to the humility of Christ. A godly husband yields to his wife as much as she yields to him. The relationship is a mutual 'yieldedness', not a 'demand my rights contract'. If both parties follow this with passion and trust God for the results, this is what makes a marriage the sweetest it can be on this planet, though never perfect.

The husband in an understanding way.... understands...  he spends energy to know her- wants to please her. Treats her as a 'weaker vessel' not that she is a weaker vessel, but he tenderly cares for her like a piece of the finest china or fragile treasure.

since they are heirs with you of the grace of life,- Both husband and wives are equal heirs to God's grace! The marriage covenant is a temporary organizational flow chart to picture Christ and the relationship to work pragmatically.

so that your prayers may not be hindered.- Men, is nothing happening in your prayer life... How are you treating your wife?

Final thoughts
All of this will lead into a message for all to seek unity, love, tenderness.

But Peter has hammered 'humble yieldedness/ submission' for over 21 verses. Do you remember the last thing Jesus said to Peter after the resurrection?

John 21:18–19

[18] Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” [19] (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.” (ESV)

Over the course of his life, Peter learned this submission in a deeper way. The old Peter was proud and active, he would say before the thought, he would act before he considered. He just did it his way and really couldn't care less what anyone thought. The old Peter was a leader who walked all over any fool willing to follow.

But the new Peter- restored, forgiven, facing the end of his journey- would have to watch his wife be killed for the faith and then himself led to a cross. He made a request- "I am not worthy to be killed like my Lord" and so they crucified him upside down.

And this ultimate humiliating state... GLORIFIED GOD!

And only the redeemed in Christ have any clue how that statement is true.......

They aren't going to applaud. They aren't going to honor. They aren't going to understand.

But you have to do what is right anyway.........

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