Dear CSOPC brothers and sisters,
From the Pastor’s Desk
“A Word for Wives”
1 Peter 3:4, “Wives … let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit.”
The Apostle Peter has some clear and candid instruction to husbands and wives. After Peter unfolds the glorious riches of the gospel – after he declares the inheritance that belongs to the church, an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading (1 Peter 1:4) – he moves to exhorting the church in the various aspects of the Christian life. This week, we will consider his words to wives, and next week we will consider his words to husbands. There are three things to note regarding Peter’s instruction to wives in 3:1-7.
First, what is Peter’s general exhortation: “Wives, be subject to your own husbands (v. 1).” Wives are to follow the lead of their husbands (don’t worry husbands, Peter will have some very strong words for you … words that we will examine next week). They are to submit to the leadership of their husbands. Now Peter’s words are nothing new; the Apostle Paul says the same thing in Eph 5:22, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” Now let’s be clear – this does not mean that wives are simply to be quiet and follow their husbands like puppets on a string. What it does mean, however, is that wives are to encourage, support, pray for, and follow their husbands as the husband leads the family in the way of Christ.
Second, what is the reason for Peter’s exhortation in this passage? As he explains in vv 1-2, Peter has in mind Christian wives who were married to non-Christian husbands; and specifically he has in mind the power of their godly witness. As he puts it, “that they [unbelieving husbands] may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives.” Certainly Peter is not advocating silence when it comes to sharing the gospel (see 1 Pet 3:15); rather he is underscoring the power of a life lived to the glory of God. In the surrounding context, Peter makes it clear that the life of a Christian is to look different than the life of the non-Christian (e.g. 4:12-19). There is something unique and wonderful about the life of a believer. Thus as a Christian wife lives with her husband, there is something of the light of Christ that shines in this dark world. Of course, we can and should broaden this principle to the Christian household in general … what a powerful witness for the gospel of Christ is a home centered on the Lord Jesus Christ! As Satan continues his onslaught on the home, one of the most powerful witnesses for the gospel is a home set under the banner of the Lord Jesus Christ (see Joshua 24:15).
Finally, how are wives to do this? How are they to adorn the gospel? How are they to shine the gospel in the home and the community? By focusing on what marks one as truly beautiful in God’s eyes. Peter tells us in vv. 3-6, “… 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” (v. 4). True beauty – beauty in God’s eyes – is inner beauty. What makes a woman beautiful? A Christ-like spirit. True beauty is not what you find on the cover of magazines in the check-out aisle … true beauty is a spirit sold out to the Lord Jesus [note that Peter is not speaking against clothing and physical beauty per-se, he is simply stating that those things do not define beauty in God’s sight. In Roman culture, the outward defined true beauty, see v. 3]. A truly beautiful woman is not the cover model – a truly beautiful woman is the woman who loves the Lord Jesus Christ with all her heart, soul, mind, and strength. A truly beautiful woman is a woman who – when others see her – they see something of the character of Christ. Dear Christian women and wives, may you labor to cultivate true beauty in God’s sight – the inner beauty of godly spirit! And may the light of Christ shine in you and through you!
Rev. Robert Arendale, Pastor of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church (OPC), www.csopc.org