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1 Peter Chapter Three, Holiness In Our Human Relationships

In our study of 1 Peter chapter three, we continue to look at holiness. Here, we look at holiness and our relationships with others. That holiness begins with our relationship to God, continues into our marriages and how we treat our spouse, and ultimately flows into all of the other relationships in our lives.

1 Peter 3:1 & 2

Wives, in the same way be submissive to your 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.

This could quite possibly be one of the most wrongly quoted and applied verses of scripture. We are probably all familiar with it as many preachers/teachers have tried to broadly apply it to Christian households. However, this verse is meant for a man and a woman that did not know Jesus before they were married. We know this because this letter was written to scattered Jewish Christians and, according to Mosaic Law, Jews were forbidden from marrying Gentiles. In this case, it appears that after marriage the woman came to faith in Christ. Peter tells the wife, in that case, to be voluntarily subject to her husband so that he too may come to believe. He used the example of the suffering of Christ in chapter two to be the example and reason for her willing submission. The submission that he refers to has limits in that, as a Christian, she is not to willfully follow him into doing sinful things.

1 Peter 3:3 & 4

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, 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.

Here, we are given the ultimate beauty secret for women and it is quite simply this: Accept and follow Jesus Christ! In the case of this woman, he is telling her that her outward appearance is not going to bring her husband to faith in Jesus. You just cannot seduce a man into accepting God's grace and mercy. Many Christian women will marry an unsaved man in hopes that he will love her enough to come to Christ but that is not how it works. We see that real beauty comes from the inside and is a reflection of a woman's walk with the Lord. Many have falsely used this passage to say that Christian women need to walk around looking all plain and unattractive but that is not what Peter is talking about. A Christian woman can wear nice clothes, take care of herself, and look her best to bring glory and praise to God. Christian men can see the beauty of a Christian woman and praise God for his wonderful creation!

1 Peter 3:5 & 6

For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

Peter makes it clear that he is talking about Christian women by saying "who put their hope in God". He gives the example from the Old Testament of Sarah and her submission to Abraham and reminds us that she called him master. The simple fact is that she was submitting to God as master by submitting to the authority that He delegated to Abraham. Once again, we must remember that God comes first and the wife is not to follow a husband into disobeying God. The beauty that Peter refers to comes from a close relationship with God. Obedience draws a woman closer to God and because of that she actually glows and is more beautiful on the outside than ever before.

1 Peter 3:7

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.

Now, Peter turns to being holy as a husband and tells us to be considerate. That means doing what is best for her and showing her respect. He reminds us that our wives are a weaker part but they are also heirs with us in Christ and so deserve that respect. Then, he gives us a reason for treating our wives properly and that is so that our prayers will not be hindered.

1 Peter 3:8 & 9

Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

Now, Peter tells us how to demonstrate holiness in our other relationships. The first thing is to live in peace (do not argue with others). We, as Christians, are to simply share God's word; it is not our job to condemn or to convince. We simply share what God says and trust Him to change people's hearts. We are to put ourselves in other people's shoes and to remember that we all need the grace and mercy of God. Even when we are persecuted, we are to bless our persecutors and remember our inheritance which is eternal life. Jesus told us that we would go through what He went through and so we are to expect evil and insult but we will also be resurrected just as He was.

1 Peter 3:10 - 12

For, 'Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.'

Peter is quoting from Psalm 34 here and it is a good reminder to us that Jesus is watching us at all times. Jesus bought us with His blood and He watches and listens to us. We cannot be double minded where we consistently do evil and then, when its time to go to worship, we switch to being Christians. We are new creations in Jesus and that new creation doesn't go back to the old ways. The turning that is described in the Psalm is repentance where we agree with God that these things are wrong and through His power we will not do them anymore.

1 Peter 3:13 & 14

Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. 'Do not fear what they fear, do not be frightened.'

Although it may not make sense to us that people would want to harm us for doing good, it will happen. The answer to Peter's question of "Who" is those that reject the Word of God but Peter also gives encouragement by saying that, even if that happens, we are blessed. The quote about fear comes from Isaiah chapter eight and is basically reminding us not to fear any man and what they can do to us. Any fear (other than the Biblical fear of God) is of the devil and therefore is nothing that should be a part of our lives.

1 Peter 3:15 & 16

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

First of all, Jesus must be Lord of your heart and that is a decision we make at salvation. Then, when people see us living out our time here on earth with joy, we are to be prepared to tell them how/why we can do so. We are to do this in a loving way as we accept people where they are and trust God to use us as He knows is best. By demonstrating this love, those who say bad things about you and your walk with Christ will be convicted by their own words. Once God brings conviction to them, it is possible for them to repent and turn to Christ as that is our goal in everything.

1 Peter 3:17

It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

Do you ever get the feeling that, no matter what you do, there will be someone who isn't happy with you? Peter is talking about that and saying that, since there will be people that don't like your actions either way, you may as well be disliked for doing good things rather than bad things. At least God will be pleased with you if you are doing good things (things that glorify Him).

1 Peter 3:18a

For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.

Peter reminds us here that we are bought and paid for by the death of Jesus Christ. He has called us to do good things to glorify God and, since he bought us, we are to follow His instructions.

1 Peter 3:18b - 20a

He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built.

What a picture of God's grace and mercy we see in this passage. This passage speaks of the events after Jesus died on the cross and before He rose again. This describes how the Spirit went and preached the message of salvation to those that had already died but had not had the opportunity to hear that Jesus died for their sins. They had been able to see the man made ark being built that would rescue the people from judgment and had not believed but now they got to hear about the spiritual ark which is Jesus Christ. Those that believed were saved just as we are through faith and taken to be with Jesus in Paradise. Those that did not will remain in that place until the final judgment described in the book of Revelation.

1 Peter 3:20b & 21

In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also - not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

This passage starts off by reminding us that only eight people survived the flood (judgment). This was a picture of what was to come as Jesus described the narrow gate (Matt.7:13 & 14). They went through the water and were saved as a picture of baptism. Peter is reminding us that this baptism does not remove the dirt (sin) but is a pledge (response) to that salvation. It is a first step in obedience to Jesus Christ as the Lord of our lives. We are not baptized to be saved but are baptized because we are saved.

1 Peter 3:22

who has gone into heaven and is at God's right hand - with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.

This can be a very comforting verse of scripture for us as Christians. Not only did Jesus redeem us from our sins but He is also at God's right hand speaking on our behalf. All power and authority has been given to Him and He is on our side! Everything must submit to His command and He is looking out for us!

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