Domestic Subjection 1 Peter 3:7

March 23, 2016—Wednesday at Lakeview!

7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

Peter has been pressing home the point of subjection. Subjection is something that believer’s embrace. The idea for Peter is that Christians are to live in such a way that others might ultimately glorify God. So believers are exhorted to submit to every authority. That is the main understanding. We are to be in subjection to every authority whether they are kind or harsh, whether they are Christian or not. That is binding on every believer. If Christianity does not work in these specific situations, Christianity does not work at all.

Then he begins to flesh out what this subjection will look like in specific relationships. For the Lord’s sake the slave is to submit to the master. The believing wife is to submit to her lost husband in hopes that her conduct will be used to win him to the Lord.

Now in verse 7, Peter addresses the believing husband. So we want to look at what Peter says here.

1- The Matter of Marriage!

Let me begin here and highlight some things that I think are important for us to consider. We make a huge mistake when we don’t view marriage primarily from a theological standpoint. Marriage is not a man made institution governed by the state, regardless what the Supreme Court says. It is a Godly institution governed by the church.

Paul presents marriage as a picture of Christ and the church while Peter presents it here apologetically, but both are theological realities.

A. Our Relationship with God

Our relationship with God affects every relationship we have. Whether it is our relationship to government, masters, husbands, wives, or any authority our relationship with God governs us in them. Our relationships are not held in isolation from our relationship with God. It’s not like dating two people and you don’t want the other to find out about the other.

What that means is that our relationship with God is primary and always comes first. So a wife may be right and the husband wrong but she submits to him because of her relationship with Christ. Society may call for the husband to treat his wife a certain way but he honors her because of his relationship with Christ.

B. Our Responsibility to God

Because of the purchase of our souls from the bondage of sin, we have a responsibly to follow and obey God. He is God and there is no other God in your life. Your spouse in not your God. You family is not God. Your friends are not God. There is no other relationship you have that takes precedence over your relationship with God. You are responsible to him first.

That means our responsibilities in earthly relationships are grounded in our responsibility to God. So we subject for the Lord’s sake not the governments sake, not the master’s sake, not the husband’s sake, and not the wife’s sake, but for the Lord’s sake.

I started here because submission or subjection cannot be the central issue. If subjection becomes the central issue than marriage is already distorted. If all we can think about is submitting ourselves then it will be distorted. If all we can think about is this is not fair, this is not right, I’m right and he’s wrong, they are not worthy of subjection or that they are not kind, we will distort the relationship. Christ is the central issue in marriage and every relationship. My responsibility is to God and he determines my level of responsibility in my other relationships. I can’t disobey God to maintain other relationships.

2- The Mutualness of Marriage!

It is not that all the obligations of marriage belong to the wife and all the privileges belong to the husband.

A. The Construction of Marriage

There are two words, Peter uses here: husbands and the wife. Then he says that there is a dwelling with each other. Both words: husbands and the wife are gender specific. In other words, in the Greek, a husband refers to a male and in the Greek, a wife refers to a female.

The word dwell means to live with, to make a home, to be a family and the idea is to keep doing this. A Biblical home or family cannot be made without a male husband and a female wife.

The world is corrupt and it seems the church is confused. What seems to be true, at least to me, is that there is not an attack on marriage, as much as there is an attack on the Word of God. God decides the construction of marriage not man. It is a male husband and a female wife that constitute a home or family.

B. The Cooperation of Marriage

Peter says, likewise ye husbands. Because there is not an exhoration of subjection here for the husband, likewise here means also, or in turn.

In marriage, there are mutual obligations. The obligations are different and they are not dependent on each other. In other words, the wife is not only submissive when the husband fulfills his obligation and vise versa.

It is not even each pulling a load and sometimes one has to pull the bigger load. It is each one, the husband and the wife, both doing what God has commanded them to do. It’s not giving and taking it is obeying God.

The husband is to honor his wife. The word honor meaning to value, to prize, to see as precious. She is to be honored in word and deed. Of course, the primary way you honor your wife is that you love her and you are faithful to her.

So the cooperation that must happen is that the wife subjects herself to the husband and the husband honors her. We cooperate as we both fill our God given roles.

7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

3- The Mindfulness of Marriage!

Peter says that the honoring of the wife by the husband is according to knowledge. Peter has already said that when we were unconverted we were in ignorance. So our being in Christ also brings us into knowledge. The idea of honoring the wife is to be done with divine insight. The husband needs to know his wife, not that women are like spaghetti and men are like waffles or any of that psychological nonsense. Peter gives us three insights the husband is to have concerning his wife.

A. Specific Consideration

Peter says, husbands give honor unto your wife as you think about her as the weaker vessel. Now what does that mean? We know that all of humanity is weak. Sinfully weak but he says here she is the weaker vessel not he weak vessel.

I don’t think that it means that the wife is intellectually weaker or morally weaker. It could mean that she is physically weaker than the man. That is normally biologically true. It could mean she was socially weaker. Certainly in that society, the woman was seen as weaker socially than a man. A man could divorce his wife but she did not have the same right. This fact left the woman in a very vulnerable position.

What I think it means is this. The wife is weaker because she is being obedient to God by being in subjection to the husband. Her obedience to God puts her in a weaker position. The husband is to remember that and not Lord over her but honor her for her obedience to God. She is not to be walked on because she is in subjection, she is to be honored for it.

B. Salvation Commonality

The husband is to be mindful no only that she is the weaker vessel but also that they are heirs together of the grace of life. They share Salvation Commonality.

In that society she might be seen as less and in her obedience she subjects herself to the husband but he is to see her as being in Christ and his equal. Her identity in Christ is to be recognized by the husband and not ignored. They are both the same in Christ. There is one Lord, one God, one Spirit, one salvation, one cross, one resurrection, one people, and one baptism. She is his wife in the marriage but she is also his sister in Christ.

The husband must be mindful that she is in Christ and they share this reality that they will be the same in eternity. They both are children of God and share the same etneral life in Jesus Christ.

C. Spiritual Communication

The third insight the husband is to have is the his prayers may be hindered. Failure to honor the wife will result in a barrier between the husband and God. The idea is that your prayers will be cut off. There is a way to live with our wives that can clog our prayers, and a way to live with our wives that will help our prayers.

What is being implied here is that disobedience in our earthly relationships have an effect on our spiritual relationship with God. An abuse of power, an dishonoring of the wife has spiritual consequences. And the same is true for all our relationships.

I don’t know about you but I don’t need my prayers hindered. I need a fully open line of communication with God. When we honor our wives because we are mindful that they are obedient to the Lord in their submission and we love them, protect them, provide for them, and lead them. We are mindful that we share with them life in Christ and we don’t belittle them, then are prayers are helped and not hindered and the world can see that they too need Christ.

Created By
Mike Belcher
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