All of you

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, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—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. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. 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. Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For
“Whoever desires to love life and see good days,
let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit;
let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.  1 Peter 3

As I wrote about in my previous post, this summer I have spent my study time diving into Peter’s two letters. They have devastated me. These posts will be lessons I learned and notes I took from I and II Peter. -jon 

To get this chapter, you have to go forward then back, then forward again. Here we go…

As you read Peter’s letters you see a pattern developing. A progression from obedience to glorification in the believers life. This path is followed by learning about grace and then growing in your faith. When you get to the passage above, Peter starts with addressing wives and then husbands, then in verse 8 he states, “finally, all of you…” Just in case someone thought there were the exception to the rule, Peter emphatically argues the contrary.

What is it that “all of you” (us) should obey, learn and grow in? 

The passage is broken down by chapters and verses, but if you were reading this from Peter two-thousand years ago it would not have been divided. Rather, this was all a single letter, a single sermon that “all of you” (us) were meant to grasp. This is key to understand because this chapter is not just a spanking for husbands or wives, but for all of us.

In context, wives were given several specific charges: subject to husbands, pure and good conduct, beautiful on the inside, holy before God, no fear.

Husbands also were to: live in an understanding way, honor to the wife, grace of life so that prayers are heard.

At first it may seem like woman are getting blasted, but this is not the case for verse eight nails everyone. We all should have unity, sympathy, tender heart, and humble mind. No vengeance, no hate, but to bless according to our callings.

This is what hits me, catch verse 13-22. If you were to hear me preach and I just railed on wives and husbands and all of you to do this and to do that, there is no way I would then do what Peter does to validate his above points. I would have wanted to build them up from this point on and end on a high note of praise for what they were doing right. Peter doesn’t do this. Peter nails us with a conviction of comparison.

Peter compares (and links) our lives of suffering to do good with Christ suffering once for sins.

Think about the depth of this thought. When you want someone to do something, you give them incentive, a reward or promise that at the end of the thing there will be blessings. Peter doesn’t point to reward but rather to Christ suffering and that we should obey so that we have “good conscience.” Peter is not preaching works salvation, nor is he teaching something crazy, rather he is reminding the reader of what our real motivation should be in this life to do what we are told to do…“Christ also suffered…for the unrighteous.”

Suffering then is God’s will. So if it is God’s will that we will suffer, do good. 

Since God has planned it all out, we are to obey the lot given to us as Christ also obeyed the plan. Now this comparison makes several huge statements that must be addressed and then applied to the Christian life:

  • We must be dead in the flesh and alive in the spirit (vs. 18)
  • Deeds don’t make us right with God, Jesus makes us right with God (vs 18)
  • We will be treated like Jesus, so don’t get comfortable (vs. 16)
  • We will be lonely at times like Noah (vs. 20)
  • Deeds (like baptism & Noah’s ark) don’t save you as in salvation from hell, but save you from a dirty conscience of false deeds. (vs. 21)
  • Everything is under Jesus control and power, even us. (vs. 22)

Now go back and look and look verses 1-7. What Peter points to as what we should be doing. It is convicting, cause we ain’t.

Thoughts to chew on:

  • Do we care more about the outside than the inside?
  • Do we win people to Jesus just by our actions?
  • Do we fear that which is frightening?
  • Do we live in an understanding way and mindset? or do we just jump to conclusions about people?
  • Do we show honor to others?
  • Have our prayers been answered? Really?
  • Go back and read that last bullet again.
  • Do we have unity, sympathy, love, tender, humble hearts and minds?
  • Do we “desire to love life and see good days”…by obeying the above?
  • If we are suffering, it is brought on by our own doing or is it brought on by God?
  • Since the above question’s answer is both, then are you suffering for good?
  • Do you have “shame?”
  • Do you have “a good conscience?”
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