This past Sunday, I preached from 1 Peter 3:1-7 which deals with the subject of Christian marriage. The theme of this section is Christian submission, and it is all patterned after the submission that Jesus Himself displayed in His earthly life and ministry. Peter shows how Jesus is the perfect example of what a surrendered life truly looks like. In every possible way, God the Son was surrendered to the will of God the Father. As Christ’s disciples, we are to be surrendered to Him in every way.
A life that is surrendered to the lordship of Jesus Christ will have a practical application within a marriage relationship. There is no greater relationship among human beings or one that is more important than marriage. It should come as no surprise then that Satan hates marriage and will do everything he can to destroy it, simply because of the picture that it is of Christ and His church. Marriage is a mysterious and wonderful relationship, a glorious gift God has given, but it is also hard. Pastor and author Tim Keller has said:
“Modern culture would have you believe that everyone has a soul mate; that romance is the most important part of a successful marriage; that your spouse is there to help you realize your potential; that marriage does not mean forever, but merely for now; and that starting over after a divorce is the best solution to seemingly intractable marriage issues. All those modern-day assumptions are, in one word, wrong.”
Over the last several decades, marriage has been in a steady decline in our society. The divorce rate is nearly twice as high as it was in 1960. In 1970, 89% of all births were to married persons, but today only 60% are. Prior to 1960, more than 72% of American adults were married, but only around 50% are in 2018. How ironic it is that we have more information available about marriage than ever before and yet we have more marital problems and divorces than did those generations before us.
Marriage is more about being the right person than it is finding the right person. It is something that we have to work at, and success doesn’t come automatic. And when you add to the mix an unbelieving spouse, it can be especially difficult. Such was the case for many of those Christian women to whom Peter writes. They had come to faith in Christ, but their husbands had not. He also calls upon these godly wives to be subject to their own husbands, and remember that they have an opportunity to lead them to Christ. And lest we think Christian men are off the hook, he’s going to give us some instruction as well. He says that husbands are to live with their wives in an understanding way, showing them honor as equals. Christian husbands need to understand the precious value of their wives and honor them as joint heirs of the grace of life.
There are three parties involved in every marriage—the husband, the wife, and God. If I can live as a surrendered disciple in my home, then I can live as a surrendered disciple anywhere. But if I’m not living as a surrendered disciple in my own home, then I really can’t live as a surrendered disciple anywhere. And so what Peter says in these verses really gets to the heart of where we live—our homes and our marriages.
Check out the sermon notes from this past week for more: