Focal passage: 1 Peter 3:1-12
When we hear the word submission, our antennae often go up. The idea of submission is OK in a governmental authority context, a military context or even a workplace context. But, what about the idea of submission in a home context, particularly in a marriage? Feathers begin to ruffle, and the hair on the back of one’s neck may begin to stand up. “Submission,” though it certainly can carry negative connotations, is not a bad word. It can simply relate to placing oneself under the authority of another whose role is to lead.
Peter calls for wives to submit to their husbands, not because the wife is inferior but because of God’s creation design. They will show the reality of their living hope as they live this way, ultimately, in submission to God. At a time where such behavior would be very counter-cultural, Peter admonished husbands to treat their wives “in an understanding way” (v. 7). Wives were generally treated more like personal property, so such action would not go unnoticed. Further, such gracious submission should not only be demonstrated in the marriage relationship, but also toward one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.
We all are going to determine how to live in the husband/wife relationship, and toward others, based on something. We can let today’s cultural norms dictate how those relationships will go. But, even within our contemporary culture, there are many different views. We can base our understanding and practice of these relationships on what we see in Hollywood. We can base our relationships on our emotions, but we know those change like the wind and are wildly different depending on the situation in which we find ourselves.
We need a surer, unchanging foundation. The good news is that we have one. God, the One who designed us for relationships in the first place, has given us instruction as to how we are to live out those relationships in a way that will demonstrate His glory to a watching world that desperately needs to know the living hope we have in Christ.