Missional Marriage (1 Peter 3:1-7)

2016-Week 24Wise and good counsel has said, “The problem is not singleness and the solution is not marriage. Rather, the problem is you have sinned and the solution is for you to receive Christ as Savior.” In 1 Peter, we have seen the reality of suffering in life, and in particular, the Christian life. In responding to suffering, we must live honorable lives among unbelievers so that our witness may result in them glorifying God (2:12). This means we honor by submitting to those in governmental authority (2:13-17). This means we submit to those who are in authority even when we suffer unjustly, Christ leading the way as the example (2:18-25). Our witness does not stop with governmental and work authority nor does it stop with our public life. Our honorable conduct must extend to the most personal and intimate aspect of life: marriage. Peter’s use of “likewise” reveals an extended discussion on how we living honorably as witnesses for Him. As before, Peter calls for submission. This time it is a call for wives to be subject to their own husbands. Submission, unfortunately, has come to be known as the forbidden “S” word in many circles. Feminism and egalitarianism scoff at the concept of submission in marriage, arguing man and woman are equal. While it is true man and woman are equal in dignity, for both have been made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-28), it does not mean they have not been given distinct roles. Men have been called by God to be leaders in the home and wives have been called to help support their husbands in their leadership responsibility. But what about women that find themselves married to unbelieving husbands? While Scripture has more to say about that, the focus on Peter’s counsel is sufficient for our purposes: “even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives” (3:1). Honorable conduct in a wife will signify to her husband that something is up. The way she responds to matters says something about her. The godly character of a woman will be what opens the eyes of her husband. It will not be the external adorning and beauty of the woman that ultimately captures the man’s heart for God but her inward beauty. The beauty of the heart, submitting to her husband even in the midst of suffering is what is precious in God’s sight. How can you tell a woman is godly and puts her hope in God? You can find such a woman by observing a wife who is submissive to her husband, even as Sarah was submissive to Abraham (3:6). To be sure, the man does not get off easy. The reception of a husband’s prayer is tired with how he treats his wife. As the leader in the marriage, he is to live with his wife in an understanding way. He is not be domineering as the leader but should be loving and caring. He should seek to honor her just as she honors him. If he does not, his prayers will indeed be hindered. In other words, a husband’s relationship with his wife will have an impact and will reveal his relationship with the Lord. In turn, it will have an impact on the unbelieving world. A marriage that is concerned about self-interest and self-power will not be a witness to the world. A marriage where spouses honor each other, live out biblical principles, and lead godly lives will be a marriage that reflects Christ and the Church, that points unbelievers toward something greater, and that glorifies God.

Reflection Questions:

  • Why is a woman’s inward beauty of the heart more influential to a husband than mere external beauty? Why does God delight more in the inward beauty?
  • How does understanding the biblical framework of marriage affect the roles of husband and wife in marriage?
  • How does viewing marriage as a mission for something greater than self-fulfillment transform your perspective on the relationship?
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