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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Wives Like Sarah

We know that Sarah didn't do everything right.

Still, she is still mentioned in the bible for her eventual submission to her husband, Abraham. Read below to find out why her example is one we should follow.

Caution: Material below contains truth that does not appeal to the flesh.
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.

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. 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. [1 Peter 3:1-7, niv]

1. Submission is an inner quality of gentleness that affirms the leadership of the husband.

“Be submissive to your husbands” means that a wife will willingly submit to her husband’s authority and leadership in the marriage. It means making a choice to affirm her husband as leader within the limits of obedience to Christ. It includes a demeanor that honors him as leader even when she dissents. Of course, it is an attitude that goes much deeper than mere obedience, but the idea of willing obedience to a husband’s authority is certainly part of this submission, as is clear from verses 5-6.

There Peter illustrates being “submissive to their own husbands” with the example of Sarah, “who obeyed Abraham,” thus showing that obeying (hypakouo¯) is the means by which Sarah was being submissive (hupotasso¯, the same word used in verse 1). Moreover, this submission is a respectful affirmation, for Peter recalls that Sarah obeyed Abraham “and called him master” (verse 6).

Further understanding of the nature of this submission is gained from Peter’s description of the beauty that accompanies it, the beauty of “a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight” (verse 4). The adjective gentle (praus) only occurs three other times in the New Testament, twice referring to Christ (Matthew 11:29; 21:5; also 5:5), but its related noun, translated “gentleness” or “meekness,” is more frequent (Galatians 5:23; 6:1; James 3:13; etc.). It means “not insistent on one’s own rights,” or “not pushy, not selfishly assertive,” “not demanding one’s own way.”

Such a gentle and quiet spirit will be beautiful before other human beings, even unbelieving husbands (verses 1-2), but even more important, it “is of great worth in God’s sight.” Why? No doubt because such a spirit is the result of quiet and continual trust in God to supply one’s needs, and God delights in being trusted (cf. 1 Peter 1:5, 7-9, 21; 2:6-7, 23; 5:7).

In describing the things that accompany this submission, Peter focuses on the inward attitudes of the heart. When he says that a wife’s source of beauty should be “the inner self” (verse 4), he is speaking of her inward nature, her true personality.

Finally, the greatest reward will be the combined joy of honoring God and receiving His favor. Dorothy Patterson rightly says of this passage, “Submission primarily honors the Lord who established the relationship.Yet in honoring the Lord a Christian wife will also know His special favor. Peter says that the gentle and quiet spirit that accompanies such submissive behavior “is of great worth in God’s sight” (verse 4). God will look on this behavior, which springs from a heart of faith, and will delight in this daughter of Sarah and show her His favor.

~Wayne Grudem in Wives Like Sarah and the Husbands Who Honor Them

I know. Heavy, right? I'm just going to let that one marinate.

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