Heavenly Minded, Adorned and Furnished

“Wives be subject to your own husbands …”

This instruction begins the third chapter of 1 Peter. Reading this sentence in our modern culture may strike some as a commandment condoning male hierarchy as a sort of setting for the family table of organization.

Interpretations of Scriptures can be twisted out of order. What we need to keep in mind as we read the Bible is the connections made to the institution God established for intimacy—marriage.

Husbands and wives and their relationships form the foundation of human society and always have. God made Adam and then took something from Adam to form woman for him. She was brought to Adam after his sleep. He rejoiced that someone was there for him to have and to hold. He saw right away that she was bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh.

Through the Word, we read of how relationship is placed at the center of what the Lord intends to do here on earth. Proverbs 7, 8, and 31 presents Wisdom to us as both our sister and as the true and virtuous spouse. Wisdom is the one we need to hear and also the one we should seek to romance.

The imagery hearkens back to Genesis and the Creation of man in the image of God. Eve was more than a sister to Adam because she began as part of him. She was brought out of him from a place near to his heart. And she was made in such a way so that these who were now two could cleave to each other to reconnect and be remembered. By design and desire, they came together as one flesh.

Be fruitful and multiply, God told the original man and woman. Fruit comes through a process of nature that involves cultivation. Seed is given to the earth and becomes one with it through the formation of roots and then comes the blossoms and produce. Likewise, love in a relationship bears fruit by the work of the Spirit who sheds love abroad among us as brothers and sisters, husbands and wives.

Take note that Adam did not call his wife “Eve” until after the Fall happened (see Genesis 3:20). Coincidence? I think not. Sin entered the picture and new ideas of identity began to sprout, even then.

A Vision for Life

“… 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” (1 Peter 3:1)

Here, the words are directed to women who may be married to men who are unbelievers. The meek and gentle spirit can powerfully witness in that context of intimacy. This is another of those verses that confirms the standing of marriage in the thinking of God.

Consider what Peter communicates with the understanding that the Church’s destiny is to be the Bride of Christ as we can see in Ephesians 5 and Revelation 19 and 21. One soul at a time, she is being fashioned together for her presentation to the Son. There will be a marriage and a supper. All of this will set up the eternal honeymoon that will be the New Creation.

Be heavenly minded and you will be more good in the here and now. Don’t buy that lie that the heavenly minded are no earthly good. Think of the Wedding Day to come; prepare and behave accordingly. We are betrothed to Jesus. We are critical to the health and prosperity of our neighborhoods, communities, and countries. This world and even the ground of the earth are to be stewarded with care.

See yourself as the Bride of Christ and live in submission to Him. Take up this vision for life and the door is opened for God to do something with you from the inside out.

See yourself as the Bride of Christ and live in submission to Him. Take up this vision for life and the door is opened for God to do something with you from the inside out. Click To Tweet

Peter first speaks of “chaste conversation” — a manner of life that expresses the fear of the Lord. Be cognizant of that word “fear.” It is not referring to our being frightened of the Lord. Rather, it is a sense of awe and honor. Fear of the Lord is really just the first of the Ten Commandments put in action. We fear Him or reverence Him when we have “no other gods before Him.”

In Psalm 51, David’s great song of repentance over his adultery with Bathsheba and the killing of her husband, the first sentences show us who really is pained by our sin. “Have mercy on me, O God … against You, and You only, have I sinned” (Psalm 51:1, 3).

Sin strikes at the heart of God. Anything we do against anyone is an offense that wounds Him who made every person in His own image. To put Him out of first place in our lives is a grief because He knows the consequences of such a choice. Hurt done to us or to other affects the Lord.

And so in living rightly with God, we become meek and gentle in spirit. We see Him and His image in everyone and then we are full of compassion and courtesy because to serve others is to be like Jesus.

Our tongues are under control and we refrain from retaliation. We refuse to answer railing with railing for we know that our battles belong to the Lord. To the Father, we commit the responses for the evil things that we may have to endure for this what Jesus did.

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15).

Throughout this chapter, Peter has emphasized our inner life. Adorn the hidden part of you, he said at the beginning in 1 Peter 3:3-4. Quietness and confidence in God are better than makeup and jewelry and fine clothes.

In Proverbs again, we have a different word picture of our soul as a house with rooms that need furniture and décor (see Proverbs 24:3-4). Let Lady Wisdom do the organizing and rightly arrange your interior — the heart, the mind, the conscience, the emotions, and the will. Gladness and joy will reign in you as the look toward the glorious Day, the moment of His appearing, and the Wedding that He awaits with as much anticipation as we do.

Yes, we hold on strong to our hope of what’s to come, but we also consider and recall what Jesus did, once and for all. He came to complete His work on earth and even got below the surface to the realm that is underneath.

Finished — Future and Past

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: by which also He went and preached unto the spirits in prison” (1 Peter 3:18-19).

The reality of the Church as the Bride points us to the future with Christ. What Jesus accomplished in redemption carried results that also stretched way, way back – all the way to the time of Noah and the Flood.

What I see here is that Jesus entered into death to defeat death and bring down the gates of hell and triumph over the fear of death that plagues us. What did He preach to those down under? The same message He announced from Calvary – “It is Finished” (John 19:30).

My opinion is those spirits in prison awaited the news that they could be present with the Lord. They rose with Jesus as He ascended to His throne on high.

The waves of judgment once washed over the planet. Likewise, the waves of judgment and wrath were poured out upon Christ, the Just One, who died for all the unjust. Baptism, Peter wrote, symbolizes for us by the way of water what the Blood of Jesus did for our salvation.

We are washed clean in Him. We are adorned with the garment of praise, a white robe, a wedding dress without spot or wrinkle. Let’s see ourselves attired like this. We are His and He will have us and hold us. His mercy reaches from age to age. Holy is His Name.

Let us rejoice for from eternity to eternity the Lord reigns (see Isaiah 43:13-15).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steve Andrulonis
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