1 Peter Message #13 “Submission in Marriage” Ed Miller May 11, 2022

Listen to audio above while reading transcript below (also available to download in Word at www.biblestudyministriesinc.com)

I’d like to share a verse before we go to prayer, and it’s not on your sheet, and it’s from the book of Joel, the prophet, Joel 2:11, “Strong is He that carries out His word.”  Isn’t that a wonderful passage?  “Strong is He who carries out His word.”  Sometimes we think that we need to claim the word and claim the promises.  The strength is not in our claiming; it’s in His carrying out the word.  Let’s commit our time to the Lord, and then we’ll resume our meditations.

Heavenly Father, we thank You this morning for the privilege we have to gather in this wonderful place, and to focus just for moments upon the Lord Jesus.  Thank You for the Holy Spirit who lives in our hearts and who turns our eyes to Christ.  We thank You for every part of the Bible, and especially now for 1 Peter, we ask You to burn into our hearts the message of Christ from that book.  We thank You in advance that You are going to be with us, and we commit our time unto You in the matchless name of our Lord Jesus.  Amen.

We have another opportunity to see the Lord in a fresh way.  In our study of 1 Peter we have been recently focusing on the two chief characteristics, manifestations of the pilgrim experience.  If I am really laying hold of the Pilgrim who lives in my heart, the Lord Jesus, God’s Pilgrim after God’s heart, then these two characteristics will be mine, and increasingly.  1 Peter 2:2, “Like newborn babies long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, we will have a great desire to see the Lord Jesus in the Bible.”  The Living Word in the written word.  The Apostle Paul was more than thirty years old in Christ, and that’s not a babe in Christ, and here was his prayer, Philippians 3:10, “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His suffering, being conformed to His death.”  After thirty years his prayer was still, “That I may know Him.”  We never get to the place where we finally know Him.  That’s the whole Christian life, knowing the Lord.

That’s the first characteristic, a hunger to know Him.  The second we’ve been emphasizing is subjection.  The way Peter uses it is not willingness to do, but it’s willingness to be done unto, and that takes a mighty miracle of God.  That’s how the Lord Jesus lived in His incarnate body.  1 Peter 2:22&23, “Who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth.  While being reviled He did not revile in return, and while suffering He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously.”  He was done unto, redemptively, and the way He survived, He kept entrusting Himself to the One who lived in His heart.  He has called us to do the same.  We’re called to trust the One who lives in our heart. 

1 Peter 2:13, “Submit yourself for the Lord’s sake to every human institution.”  I remind you, and this is the last by way of review, that the Holy Spirit lays out the spirit, the truth of subjection, willingness to be done unto, in terms of human government, and then He applies it many other ways, but all the principles of subjection are in terms of the government.  Let me read again Romans 13:1&2, “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities.  There is no authority, except from God, and those that exist are established by God.  Therefore, whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God, and they who have opposed, will receive condemnation upon themselves.”

So, after he gives this great “submit to government”, then he breaks it down.  1 Peter 2:18, “Servants, be submissive to your masters,” and we talked about that last time.  Then he gives the illustration, and here’s where we are this morning.  This is a domestic illustration.  A pilgrim wife is called upon to submit, and being willing to be done unto to, trusting the indwelling Pilgrim while she submits to a non-pilgrim husband.  1 Peter 3:1&2, “In the same way, you wives be submissive to your own husbands, so that, even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.”

Just like submission goes both ways; we submit to the government, but they have a responsibility toward us.  Servants submit to their masters, but the masters have a responsibility.  Just so here, wives are to submit to the husbands, and there is a corresponding responsibility.  1 Peter 3:7, “You husbands, in the same way live with your wives in an understanding way.” 

What I’d like to do this morning is, the Lord assisting, is to look at Peter’s third illustration.  He said, “Submit to government, and he told the servants to submit to masters, and now he’s going to use the illustration of marriage.  In 1 Peter in the illustration of marriage, he doesn’t mention children.  That’s dealt with in other places.  He just mentions husband and wife.  For those that enjoy logical connection, let me give a little outline, because we’re going to be in and out, and I don’t want you confused.  First, I would like to look at this marriage illustration on submission in a general way.  In other words, I’m going to take the first seven verses and I’m going to make general observations about the whole seven verses.  I want to call attention to three things, because Peter touches on truths in these seven verses that have become issues for some people, and I don’t want to just pretend that they’re not there.  So, I want to at least observe these particular truths, and then make a comment about the issues that come from that.  After we’ve looked at that, I want to home in on the illustration of marriage that Peter gives, and then finally, how does this reveal Jesus.  That’s what we’ve after.  We want to see the Lord.  So, that’s where we’re heading.  So, first these three general observations.

Now, the context of Peter’s first epistle, as we have seen, is subjection.  1 Peter 2:13, “Submit yourself for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king, or to one in authority.”  Submission everywhere, but especially in terms of the government.  And then he says in 1 Peter 2:18, “Servants, be submissive to your masters.”  And then in 1 Peter 2:22&23, he says that’s the way the Lord Jesus did it, “While suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously.”  We submit to the government, servants submit to the masters, the Lord Jesus submitted to His Holy Father God, and now we come to 1 Peter 3:1, “In the same way you wives be submissive.”  What does that mean, “in the same way?”  I think, if you read the context, it means that in the same way we’re to be subject to every ordinance of man, in the same way we are to be subject to the government, in the same way servants are to be subject to their masters, in the same way the Lord Jesus was subject to His Father, in the same way you wives be submissive to your husbands. 

Why am I calling attention to this?  Because of that expression “in the same way.”  Notice verse 7, “You husbands in the same way live with your wives in an understanding way.”  That expression, “in the same way,” means that as you submit to every ordinance, as you submit to the government, as a servant submits to a master, as the Lord Jesus submitted to His Father, as a wife submits to a husband, you husbands, in the same way, submit, submit.  Sometimes we think that submission in marriage only applies to the woman.  It does not!  It applies to the woman and applies to the man, and the man is to submit exactly as much in the same way as the woman does to the husband. 

Now, the question comes, of course, how can this be reconciled with other passages that seem to focus on the woman submit to the man.  They say, “The man is to love the woman, and so on, and submission is in love.”  We know that, but how can you reconcile this?  Am I to submit to my Lillian as much as she submits to me, as completely as she submits to me?  Before I attempt to explain that, and I hope I can, Ephesians 5:21, “Be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.”  We’re to submit to everybody.  Every Christian is to be subject to every other Christian, not only husbands and wives, and wives and husbands, and masters and servants, and servants and masters, but every Christian…  I’m to submit to you, as much as Lillian submits to me, and so on.  So, that’s just a general picture, but now I think I can help by giving the big picture.  So, I’m going to step out of Peter and give the big picture.  It’s not going to answer all the questions, but in my understanding, it will leave fewer questions unanswered.  So, we’re going to try approach it that way.

I think most Christians are familiar with Ephesians 5:24, “As the church is subject to Christ, so the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.”  Marriage is a picture of the church in that passage.  Ephesians 5:32, “The mystery is great, but I’m speaking with reference to Christ and the church.”  So, marriage is a picture, and we need to look at that picture, but I wonder if you are aware of the fact that God has another picture.  It’s not marriage, it’s connected but it’s not marriage.  Ephesians 3:15, “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.”  Marriage is not the only picture.  The family is also a picture.  Every family on earth is patterned after God’s family, the real family.  God loves pictures, and He loves to communicate through pictures.  All the types in the Old Testament are pictures, all the feasts, all the sacrifices, the tabernacle, the temple, and there are many, many, many pictures.  Baptism is a picture, the Lord’s table is a picture, the nation of Israel is a picture.  The husband, wife and children are involved in both pictures.  I can’t talk about marriage without talking about the husband, wife and kids.  I can’t talk about family without talking about husband, wife and kids, but in those two pictures, each person plays a different role.  It’s not the same role. 

In one picture the husband pictures one thing, the wife pictures something else, and the kids picture something else.  In the second picture you have the same people but now the wife is picturing something different, and the husband is picturing something different, and so are the children.  I think a lot confusion comes when people don’t see that there are two pictures, and they take all the facts and they throw them in a pile and they try to reconcile two pictures, and there is conflict.  What I’m going to try to do is show you the roles.

This is a terrible illustration.  Lillian told me not to use it.  I wasn’t going to use it, but I’m going to, and I’m not going to submit.  Anyway, I know the Christian life is not a play.  It’s not acting.  We’re not seeking a role.  It’s a life, and it’s the Life of Christ.  But I want you to picture, for example, if you were auditioning for a play or for a movie, and they would give you a certain script, and they’d give you a uniform to go with that particular script, and so on, and then later you said, “Oh, there’s another.  I’d like to be in that movie.”  Well, they might hand you a different script, and you’d have a different uniform in that script.  In one you might be an astronaut, and so you’d have an astronaut’s clothes.  In another one you might be a detective, and so you wouldn’t be dressing up like an astronaut.  Another one you might a bank robber, so you aren’t going to have a romantic scene…  You understand my point.  We’re not acting, but God has this picture, and the wife takes this role, and the husband takes this role, and the kids take that role.

He has another picture, and now they’ve got to dress up differently, because they are in different roles.  So, I want to get that before you.  The first picture is the family, and the second picture is marriage.  I want to look at the family first.  In the family, and we aren’t talking about marriage, the husband, the man is not the head of the family.  He is not the high priest of the family.  You get that by throwing all the facts in one pile; he is not!  Once again, Ephesians, “Every family in heaven and on earth derives it’s name,” from God’s family.  In the picture, the reality; let’s look at the reality, and then we’ll look at the picture. 

In the original, this is the reality, Genesis 1:26, “God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness.’”  “Let us,” it’s plural.  Genesis 5:1, “This is the book of the generation of Adam in the day when God created man, He made him in the likeness of God.”  In the original, the three are one, “Let us make man in our image.”  In the picture, Genesis 5:3, “When Adam had lived 130 years, he became the father of a son in his own likeness, according to his image.”  In the reality, the three are one.  In the picture the two are one.  In the reality He’s the Creator.  In the picture, we are the procreator.  He is setting up a picture, and it’s a deliberate picture.  So, the God in the reality, the God is the Godhead.  The God, little “g”, of the family is not the man.  The god of the family is the man and the woman, and the “two shall become one.”  And the god of the family is the man and wife united together. 

It’s a terrible thing, if there was not unity in the Godhead, can you imagine in the Godhead if the Holy Spirit had one opinion, and God the Father had another, and then the Lord Jesus had another opinion?  They’re absolutely equal in the family, the husband and the wife.  They are the god of the family.  They are the ones who are going to do what God does.  They are going to provide, they’re going to educate, they’re going to discipline, they’re going to deal with their children, the way God deals with us. 

If the Father said, “I think I’m going to keep them forever,” and then the Son said, “I don’t know.  He denied me.  He went away.  I think we should reconsider.”  And, if the Holy Spirit said, “Let’s give Him one more chance.”  What kind of Christian life would we have, if there was disunity in the Godhead?  I’ll tell you, in the picture, the families of the earth, some families have more than one god in the family.  The kid doesn’t know what to do.  And in some cases they don’t even know who is god.  They’re brought up as domestic atheists, because they don’t even have a god, and they’re all confused.  God made a picture.  In the picture of the family the man and the woman together are one, and they are the god, little “g”, in the family.

In that connection, in our family, as we brought up six children, we were equal, as equal as God the Father, God the Son.  That picture is not submission.  It’s equality, and we’re equal, but in that picture, according to the Bible, the woman becomes a picture of Christ.  Do you want to know why the kids keep running to mother?  She’s the mediator, and that’s why they run to mother.  She’s the mediator.  She’s the comforter, and the one who is going to deal with them, but it’s all a big picture. Then you say, “Well, since she’s the go-between, then where do the kids fit in?  The kids are the church.  So, the husband and wife are the god of the family, the woman is the Christ of the family, and the kids are the church.

In the second picture, it’s different roles, because the kids are not the church; the woman is the church.  In this picture, in the picture of marriage, the woman is the church, and the man pictures Christ, and he’s to love his wife as Christ loved the church.  But by seeing that there are different pictures, and different roles, then you won’t be having your hair stand on end, if you say, “Husbands, submit to your wives.”  It’s a different picture. It’s still the reality.  The woman pictures the church, Ephesians 5:22, “Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord, for the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior.” 

Then you ask the question, “If the husband pictures Christ, and the woman pictures the church, what do the children picture?”  Well, the answer is in Romans 7:4, “Therefore, my brethren, you were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who is raised from the dead,” that’s marriage, “in order that we might bring forth fruit to God.”  The children picture the fruit on an intimate relationship.  In that picture, that’s what they’re picturing.  My first observation is that this section deals with mutual subjection, and I think it’s a little clearer if you see that there are two pictures; the family pictures one thing and marriage pictures another.  It’s a great privilege to be allowed by God to be in His pictures.  Family and marriage is not the only picture.  You are also an epistle of Jesus Christ.  That’s a picture.  And we are pilgrim ambassadors; that’s also a picture.  So, that’s the first observation, mutual subjection.

My second observation is focused on verses 3&4, “Your adornment must not be merely external; braiding the hair, wearing gold jewelry, putting on dresses.  Let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle, quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.”  This section deals with clothing, and especially women’s clothing.  A similar passage is in 1 Timothy 2:9, “Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair, gold or pearls or costly garments.”  In that chapter it looks like braided hair, gold, pearls, costly garments are forbidden.  Again, I don’t want to just jump over it.  There’s a lot of issue on how Christians should dress.  So, I don’t want to just pass over it.  I want to make a comment.

I’ve been in circles where Christian dress is a huge, huge issue.  If God were forbidding the braiding of hair, the wearing of gold jewelry in 1 Peter, then you have a problem, because in verse 3 at the end it says, “putting on dresses,” and the Greek is just, “getting dressed, putting on clothes.”  If He is forbidding you to have your hair done up and the other things, then He’s forbidding you to get dressed.  So, we know that can’t be.  He’s not forbidding that.  The fact is, outward adornment is contrasted with inner adornment in 1 Peter, “Your adornment must not be,” “merely” is in italics, that’s not in there, “external, braiding the hair, wearing gold jewelry, putting on dresses.  Let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gently and quiet spirit, which is precious in the eyes of God.” 

I have an idea on the level of earth, and I know it’s inspired, so it came from the Holy Spirit, but on the level of earth it might have been something like this; Peter, looking out the window saw a beautiful woman walking by, and she’s all done up and looking very, very pretty, and in his heart he’s saying, “Boy, I wish they were that beautiful in their heart.”  I think that’s the idea.  The external is, in Peter’s mind, a picture of the internal.  In Psalm 45, we’re not going to look at that, but, oh, it’s the Psalm, the song of the marriage of the king’s son, and it’s a Messianic Psalm about the marriage of Jesus and His bride.  Anyway, in verse 13 it says, “The king’s daughter is all glorious within.  Her clothing is interwoven with gold.  She’ll be led to the king in an embroidered work.”  But notice how it begins; she’s all glorious within, and then it talks about her garments. 

God doesn’t forbid nice clothes.  He’s not opposed to outer adornment.  Of course, if it’s only outer, and there is nothing on the inside, God is opposed to that.  I think some Christians jump on this passage in Peter because there is so much abuse in the Christian world on dress and the way people appear.  Some styles are just outright immoral, and modesty is just sort of thrown out the window.  I think that because of the abuse, people are jumping on hemlines and necklines and making rules, and all, just to have a little holiness in the body of Christ.

In the old days, you can tell I’m getting old now, when I went to Bible school, we had to wear a shirt and tie to class.  Way back them, maybe some of you remember, they had tie pins, a tie clip.  And I had this wonderful little tie clip, and a Mennonite friend of mine, that was his background, Mennonite, he came up and said, “You offend me, because you are wearing jewelry, and Christians don’t wear jewelry.”  So, I made sure that he and I were together when we disposed of my tie pin, and I never wore another, because I didn’t want to offend anybody.  One day a sister came into class and she had lipstick on, and it was a little heavy, to be honest, but she had lipstick on.  Someone said to her, “Why don’t you just put a sign around your neck saying, ‘Come to my lips?” and accused her of adultery by proxy, because she was enticing the young men.

I don’t want to just pass over this section, because some people really have a problem with it.  God is not forbidding external beauty.  He’s not encouraging excess.  Excess in anything is not good.  Excess in eating is wrong.  Excess in sleeping is wrong.  Excess in studying is wrong.  Excess in exercise is wrong.  Excess in working is wrong.  And some people talk too much.  That’s also wrong.  He’s not encouraging female vanity, and he’s not encouraging male vanity, either.  He’s not against jewelry and perfume and ribbons and pretty hair, and all of that, body building and groomed beards; he’s not against that.  Of course, there are great principles of dress.  Peter doesn’t spell out the principle, but I don’t want to leave this section without giving you a principle.  So, what I did was, I took the message of 1 Peter and I created my principle around the message.  If he had written a principle, it would be something like this.

So here, according to the message of 1 Peter, let me suggest several principles of dress.  Number one, dress in the spirit of subjection.  Many, many wives don’t dress in the spirit of subjection, or else, since adornment was used, dress in keeping with the beauty of the Lord.  I think that would be a great principle to apply.  Or, another way to say it is to have your outer garment in keeping with the One who lives in your heart, “Holy” Spirit, and the Lord will help you apply that.  Let’s leave the dress thing.

My third observation, not only mutual subjection, husbands and wives, wives and husbands, not only inward and outward dress, 1 Peter 3:5&6, “In this way, in former times, holy women, also, who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him ‘lord’.  You become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.”  The order is that they hoped in God and called their husband “lord” with a little “l”.  I want to emphasize the message of 1 Peter 3:15, “Sanctify Christ as Lord in your heart.”  Before Lillian can call be “lord” with a little “l”, she must call Jesus Lord with a capital “L”, capital “O”, capital “R”, and capital “D”.  In other words, submission to men must be terms to submission to God.  And it’s just pictured with this word, “lord”.  We submit ourselves to delegated authority in terms of absolute authority.

I have one duty, and it’s not to my Lillian.  It’s to my Lord, and to Lillian in terms of that.  She has one duty, and it’s not to me.  It’s to the Lord, and to me in terms of that.  Lillian calls me “lord” with a little “l”.  Sometimes, if you hear her speak, you might not see the word “lord” with a little “l” in there.  Is the word “lord” included in the word “idiot”?  Anway, I want to drill down a little bit deeper.

We looked at the observations, mutual subjection of husband and wife, wife and husband, the dress code, how to be modest before man and before the Lord, and then Him first and then submission to man.  But I want to dig a little deeper into verse 6, “As Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him ‘lord’.”  The question is, it seems a little strange to me, why did Peter bring up Sarah as an illustration?  He not only calls attention to her obedience, but he sets her up as a model of Christian obedience of women submitting to their husband.  Just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him “lord”, you become her children if you do what’s right without being frightened by any fear.  You become her children.  So, why he did bring up Sarah, the wife of Abraham, and why is she the quintessential illustration, the model, of obedience?  The most logical thing to do, “Sarah called Abraham, ‘lord.’”  I’m a bible student, so I say, “When did she do that?”  So, I would have to go back and look up when she did that.

 As far as the record goes, there is only one occasion when those words are used.  So, we would have to go back to that story, and it’s in Genesis 18:13-15, where the Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre to inform him that his wife, Sarah, was going to have a baby.  Romans 4:19 reminds us that her womb was dead.  She was a very elderly woman.  She must have been very beautiful, as well, when you read the record.  It was on this occasion, and as far as this record goes, when she called Abraham “lord,” but she didn’t actually say it with her mouth.  She overheard the Lord talking to her husband.  She was in the other room eavesdropping, and she overheard the Lord talking to her husband.  Genesis 18:12, “Sarah laughed to herself saying, ‘After I’ve become old, shall I have pleasure, my lord, being old also?”  That happened in her head, and in her heart.   She laughed to herself.  Those words never came out.  She didn’t say, “Abraham, my lord…”  She just said, “How is this possible, my lord being old?”  That’s the full record that she called Abraham “lord”.  And immediately she was rebuked, by the way.  Genesis 18:13, “And the Lord said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh, saying, “Shall I indeed bear a child when I’m so old?”  Is anything too difficult for the Lord?  At the appointed time I will return to you.  At this time next year, Sarah will have a son. Sarah denied it, however, saying, ‘I did not laugh,’ for she was afraid.  And He said, ‘No, but you did laugh.’” 

She referred to Abraham as “lord”, but she never called him lord, and so Peter says, “Here’s a great illustration, a model for all women and for all time of how to submit to their husband,” and we end up here.  Charles Spurgeon, put a wonderful spin on this verse.  In order to magnify the grace of God, he said, “If there are ten things in your sentence that need to be condemned, and one thing that needs to be rewarded, God will find that one thing, and reward it.”  That’s very devotional, and I know it’s the truth of the Bible.  God is that graced, because her whole sentence was to be condemned.  She said it in unbelief, but she had one word there, and she makes this chapter, that by faith that she called Abraham “lord.” 

1 Peter 3 :4, because of this verse, “let it be the hidden person of the heart.”  And because of Genesis 18:12, “Sarah laughed within herself,” and because it was internal, as I study and meditate, I was thinking that perhaps that’s not the story Peter had in mind.  Is there any other story in the Old Testament where Sarah on the inside would have called him “lord”?  Then, more in keeping with 1 Peter:3, I look for another event, and I think I found it.  The woman in this chapter in Peter, Peter is calling attention to 3:1, “even if your own husbands, if some of them are disobedient to the word.”  The woman who is subjecting herself in Peter’s example, her husband is disobedient to the word.  That could mean that he doesn’t know Jesus, and that he’s not saved, that he’s an unbeliever, that he’s not a pilgrim.  That happens to a lot of people, maybe a woman gets saved after she’s been married and now, she’s stuck with an unsaved man.  Is she supposed to submit to an unsaved man?  That’s a possibility.  But that expression “disobedient to the word” doesn’t necessarily have to be unsaved.  I’m a Christian and there’s been times that I’ve been disobedient to the word.  So, as the woman submits to somebody disobedient to the word, either way the Christian pilgrim, and it goes again that maybe the man is married to an unsaved woman or a disobedient woman, Peter mentions Sarah and describes her experience, if you’re her children, do what is right.   What did she do that was right?  According to 3:5, “In this way, in former times, the holy women, also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves.”  That’s what she did that was right.   She hoped in the Lord, the same as Jesus did when He continually entrusted Himself to the One who lived inside of Him.

Is there any record in the Old Testament about Sarah, and about Abraham when he was disobedient to the word, where she would have submitted and called him “lord”?  I’m suggesting there is, and it’s Genesis 20.  In this story Abraham is not obeying the word.  If fact, he’s selfish, he’s unreasonable, he’s insensitive, he’s reckless, he’s weak, he’s cowardly, and not acting like the father of faith.  Abraham could have had his wife killed in this chapter, at least violated.  He put her in a dangerous place, and when he tried to explain it, Genesis 20:11, “Abraham said, ‘Because I thought, surely there is no fear of God in this place, they’ll kill me because of my wife.’”  Imagine his mind, thinking that there is no fear of God in this place, and I think I’ll give them my wife.  That’s a terrible thing going on in Abraham.  That’s when he lied about his wife. 

So, he handed her over to that band of sinners, the heathen men of Gerar, and there must have been a nightmare for Sarah.  You can imagine her.  The king of Gerar actually took her into his own chambers.  The Bible tells us that he was going to have sex with her, to violate her, but God protected her.  Genesis 20:3, “God came to Abimelech in a dream of the night and said, ‘Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is married.’”  Can you imagine that?  Your first contact with God, “Behold, you are a dead man.”  That’s a terrible way to be introduced to the Lord.  And then Genesis 20:6, I love this, “God said to him in a dream, ‘Yes, I know in the integrity of your heart you’ve done this, and I also kept you from sinning against Me.  Therefore, I did not let you touch her.’”  I don’t know how he worked that miracle, but God protected Sarah that night.  I think this is the story that Peter must have had in mind, because she had a hidden person of the heart, a beautiful, imperishable, powerful testimony.  She hoped in God, and then it says, “She was not frightened by any fear.”  Now, put yourself in her situation.  You talk about a miracle of God.   She’s not only willing to die in the place of her husband (he was very unwise and un-thinking, and so on), but she hoped in God, and God filled her heart with peace.  That’s an amazing thing.  Up until this time, Peter has just been saying, “Submit, and submit to everybody.  Submit to the government, and servants submit to your masters, wives submit to your husbands, but now for the first time in 1 Peter he begins to lay out what it will look like, and how does it appear in my life if I submit to the One who lives inside of me, and he begins to describe it.  1 Peter 3:6, I’ll just reemphasize it, you become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.  The first manifestation, if you really trust the One who is living inside, and you are unjustly dealt with, God will fill your heart with peace, and in the most terrible circumstances you can have that peace.

Under the figure of adornment, I can also expect a beautiful testimony, more beautiful than any woman could ever dress herself up to be.  1 Peter 3:1, “In the same way, you wives be submissive to your husbands, so that if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives.”  Not only is it a beautiful testimony, but it’s called in verse 4, “an imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit.”  KJV says, “incorruptible.”  This idea of trusting the Lord when you’re being done unto, sometimes it’s not just for a moment.  Sometimes it’s for days.   Sometimes it’s for weeks.  Sometimes it’s for months, and you know and you’ve heard testimonies that sometimes it’s for many years.  Many years women have to put up with a lot of junk, and many years men have to put up with a lot of junk.  At first we just say, “I’m going to trust the Lord, and I can handle it.  I’m not going to say anything.”  But then after a while, how long can you keep it up?  It wears on you after a while.  After a while you begin to fight back, and you begin to repay in kind, and you say the same things and you lose your temper, and so on.  But if you are looking to the One inside, you are going to have peace in your heart.  You are going to have a beautiful testimony, and it’s going to be an imperishable, indestructible, and it’s going to go on and on, day after day, month after month, year after year.  That’s why we need the One who lives inside.  If we’re hoping in the Lord, that’s it will look like.  We’ll have peace, and it’s beautiful to behold and it’s imperishable.  And then verse 1, “That they may be won without a word.”   It’s redemptive and powerful, and it has the power to win over.

Next week I’ll spend a little more time and enlarge on the power of the silent witness, and without a word, and that God can use that.  But here’s what it looks like if I trust Christ.  I’ll have peace in my heart, it will be a beautiful testimony, it will be perpetual and will go on and on, no matter how long they give, I’ll be able to take it, and it will be effective and powerful and it will be redemptive.  Finally verse 4, “Which is precious in the sight of the Lord.”  It will bless God’s heart.  What Peter has described is what he said earlier that we are to show forth the excellencies of Him.  These are the excellencies of Him, that He gives us peace, that He gives us a beautiful testimony, that it’s a continual miracle, that it’s powerful to transform, that it brings joy to God’s heart.  That’s what he’s describing.

In this chapter, these verses on submission in marriage, what is the revelation of Christ?  May I suggest, who is Christ in this passage?  1 Peter 3:4, “He is the hidden person of the heart.”  He’s the One inside who makes all of this possible, and we when we come to these things, we need to always focus on Christ. I used to think the hidden person of the heart was describing the good me; there’s a bad me and then in there there must be something good, the good me.  There is no good me in there, and there’s no good you in there.  It’s not your character, and it’s not your personality, it’s not some religious thing you do.  The hidden Person of the heart is Jesus, and we can thank the Lord this morning that if we’re looking to the hidden Person of the heart, He’ll give us peace and a beautiful testimony, and He’ll continually sustain us as we’re being done unto, and He’ll make it powerful, and people will be won, and God will be blessed.

Let’s pray together.   Father, thank You for 1 Peter 3:1-7, for all that You’ve inspired it to mean.  Will you work that in our hearts?  I want to thank You in advance for the hidden Person of the heart, that You indwell us, that You make this Christian life a possibility.  Oh Lord, teach us to do what sister Sarah did, to hope in God, and not be frightened by any fear.  We ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.