The Gracious Gift of Life
Read 1 Peter 3:1–7
Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.
Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
Like all passages of Scripture, we must read today’s in context and with the understanding of Peter’s audience for his letter. As previously mentioned, Peter is writing to Christians living in a non-Christian world. And as we have seen in prior passages, one of his biggest concerns is how Christians are coming off to the wider world. Will non-Christians be drawn to Christ by watching the actions and attitudes of Christians? In today’s passage, Peter’s concern is what’s happening in families and marriages.
He first addresses Christian women married to non-Christian men and wants their actions and attitudes to their husbands to draw them into a relationship with Jesus. Indeed, many of the attributes Peter calls these wives to demonstrate are attributes of Christ Himself—gentleness, meekness, reverence for God, and purity. Today’s passage has been used over time to oppress women and even to justify their remaining in abusive relationships. But as we can see, this was not Peter’s intent at all. Indeed, Peter calls husbands to treat their wives with respect and as co-heirs of God’s grace and life in Christ. In other words, Peter calls husbands to see their wives not as inferior, but as sisters in Christ.
- Reflect on the way your actions and attitudes come across to non-Christians. What do non-Christians see in you that is different? How are you doing at demonstrating Christ-like attributes?
- If you are married, reflect on the way you treat your spouse. How have you demonstrated Christ to your spouse this week? In what area do you need to grow?
- What is God seeking to draw your attention to through today’s passage?
God, thank You for the gift of relationships and how they allow me to be challenged to practice the ways of Jesus. I know I am flawed and don’t always get things right, so strengthen me in love. I want to love well and with intentionality. Illuminate for me the places I am not representing Christ’s attributes and transform me so that I can. Give me opportunities to grow and the ability to change. Amen.