The Institution of Marriage” Part 1
The Bible tells us that God is the author of marriage, and He gave us a manual of what marriage is, who must get married and how we should live as married people. The manual is the Bible. This manual, tells us that, marriage is between a man and a woman, and it is from this basis that I will be discussing.
Since God is the author and He gave us a manual, the only way to be happy in a marriage, is to follow the manual. This is obvious is it not? Example, if you buy a car, and you operate it not according to the manual, you will not enjoy it because, it will break and give you all sorts of problems. Likewise, if you don’t follow God’s manual for marriage, you can expect all sorts of problems.
What does the manual say? This is what we will be discussing in the next couple of messages. Let’s start with 1 Peter 3:1-7. Peter starts first by addressing a wife in the first six verses and in verse 7, in one verse, addresses the husband. Peter talks about three things with regards to the wife (1) The wife’s conduct, verses 1-2 (2) The wife’s beauty, verses 3-4 (3) The wife’s role model, verses 5-6.
We will start to discuss these in the next message but for now, read 1 Peter 3:1-7 so that you can follow with me.
“The Institution of Marriage” Part 2
As discussed previously, let’s look at 1 Peter 3:1-7. As I indicated, Peter started addressing the wife in the first six verses and the husband in verse 7. Peter talks about three things in the first six verses (1) The wife’s conduct, verses 1-2 (2) The wife’s beauty, verses 3-4 (3) The wife’s role model, verses 5-6.
(1) The wife’s conduct, verses 1-2
Peter starts verse 1 with the word “likewise”. With this word, Peter is making the point that, the same way we are all as Christians commanded, and expected to place ourselves under the authority of the government (1 Pet 2:13), and of our employers (1 Pet 2:18), and obey them, a Christian wife is also commanded and expected, to place herself under the authority of her own husband. This means submit to her own husband (Eph 5:22). It doesn’t matter whether that husband is a Christian or not. This is what is expected of a Christian wife.
Take note that Peter is not saying that the husband must force his wife to be under his authority, but Peter is saying, the wife must, out of her own accord, place herself under the authority of her own husband. This is a voluntary act from the wife’s side. Secondly, take note that Peter is saying a wife must place herself under the authority of her OWN husband, not every man.
How must the wife submit or place herself under the authority of her own husband? Paul answers this question in Ephesians 5:22. Paul says the act of submission to the husband, must be the same as the act of submission to Jesus. The value of the submission is not the same, because the act of submission to Jesus takes priority, over the act of submission to the husband. However, that is how the wife must submit. The same way we all submit to Jesus.
Why must the wife submit? Paul says in Ephesians 5:23-24 that, this is because the husband is the head of the wife, just like Jesus is the head of the church. Now, because the church submits to Jesus as the head, the wife must also submit, in everything, to the husband as the head. Peter adds to this in 1 Peter 3:1, that we are busy with, by saying that, the submission by the wife to her own husband, might lead to some husbands who don’t obey the word of God, to start obeying, without the wife having to say a word. Why? Because they will be impressed by the conduct of their submissive wives. This will happen when they see how respectful and morally pure their wives are. In short, a wife’s submissive behaviour can be used by God to bring the unbelieving husband to repentance and faith.
In summary: A Christian wife must voluntarily place herself under the authority of her own husband as her head. The same way as the church submits to Jesus as the head. The wife must submit in everything to her own husband. Nothing is excluded. Husbands cannot force wives to submit. Wives are only expected to submit to their own husbands and not all men. The respectful and morally pure conduct of a wife towards her husband, might win unbelieving husbands to the Lord. This is how a wife must behave towards her own husband. If you don’t agree with this, then you are not willing to obey God and you must repent.
“The Institution of Marriage” Part 3
We are currently busy with 1 Peter 3:1-7. We have already discussed verses 1-2, which dealt with the conduct of a Wife towards her husband. In this message we will deal with verses 3-4, which deals with the wife’s beauty.
(2) The Wife’s beauty, verses 3-4
Having dealt with the conduct of a wife towards her husband, Peter now turns to beauty. Peter says that a wife should not be preoccupied with external beauty, at the expense of internal beauty. External beauty should not take the highest priority over internal beauty. Too much effort should not be made to ensure that one is externally beautiful, if on the inside they are not. Peter gives examples of what he means by external beauty. He says things like braiding of hair, jewelry and clothing. Peter says these are not the things that a wife must put all her efforts in when it comes to beauty.
Rather than external beauty, Peter says a wife must put all her effort towards internal beauty of the heart, because this is imperishable. External beauty doesn’t last forever but, internal beauty does. This internal beauty must be characterized by a humble and peaceful spirit. In other words, the wife’s reaction towards her husband, must always be full of humility and peace. Paul says this attitude is precious in the eyes of God. Internal beauty is more important than external beauty.
In summary: Paul is simply saying, in presenting yourself to your husband, internal beauty is more important than external. Put all efforts, in ensuring that you have a heart that is humble and peaceful towards your husband. Present this humble and peaceful heart to your husband, as this is precious to God. Your husband must be attracted to you because of your internal everlasting beauty rather than your external short lived beauty. You will not be beautiful externally forever.
Therefore, as a wife, you must place yourself under the authority of your husband, and must ensure that your husband is attracted to you because of your internal beauty characterized by a humble and peaceful spirit, rather than external. If you don’t agree with this, you need to repent!
“The Institution of Marriage” Part 4
We are almost done with 1 Peter 3:1-7. We have already discussed verses 1-4. We have learned from these verses, that a woman must voluntarily place herself under the authority of her husband. She must also attract her husband not with external beauty that will end, but with internal beauty that will never end, and is characterized by a humble and peaceful spirit. Peter is not saying external beauty is not important but, he is simply saying internal beauty is more important and valuable, because it does not end and is precious to God. Now let’s look at the third point: The wife’s role model
(3) The wife’s role model, verse 5-6
Now, I am pretty sure that some of our ladies have already asked, who on earth wants to be a woman described by Peter, it is unreasonable, it is demeaning and no woman in her right mind should do this. I can just hear some of our ladies saying, give me one woman who has done this. Well, Peter must have been asked about this or thought about this question because, he answers it in these verses 5-6.
Peter says, what he says about how wives are to relate to their husbands, is not unique. In fact, this is how holy women in the past, who hoped or trusted in God, used to relate to their husbands. That is how they made themselves to look beautiful, by placing themselves under the authority of their own husbands. A wife who submitted to her husband, was considered beautiful. External beauty was not the standard. Then, Peter goes on to actually give an example of Sarah. Peter says Sarah used to obey Abraham and call him Lord. That is, Sarah not only placed herself under the authority of Abraham, she went as far as to even call him the one who has authority over her.
Then Peter went on to say, because you as Christian wives, are spiritually Sarah’s children, you must follow her steps. Peter says don’t be scared that you will get hurt when you do this. The possibility of being hurt, when you place yourself under the authority of your husband and having a humble and peaceful spirit, should not discourage you from being obedient to God’s Word. As a wife, just do your part and leave the rest to God. Be the wife that God wants you to be and leave your husband to God.
In summary: Peter has told us in verses 1-6, how God expects a wife to relate to her husband. She must submit to his authority and must react to him in a humble and peaceful spirit. She must not be scared of being the wife God wants her to be. She must be the best wife God wants her to be and leave the husband to God. This godly behavior of a wife, might even win unbelieving husbands to the Lord. This is the standard that every wife must look up to. If you don’t agree with this, you must repent!
“The Institution of Marriage” Part 5
Having seen in the previous messages how God wants wives to relate to their own husbands in a marriage. It’s now time for husbands. How must husbands relate to their wives in a marriage?
In 1 Peter 3:7, Peter says a husband must live with his wife in an understanding manner. The word understanding used here means that the husband, must live with his wife, taking into consideration her vulnerabilities and knowing that, they both have a common Christian hope, which is eternal life in the presence of God.
Peter says the husband must also show honor to her wife as a weaker vessel. Weak here refers only to physical. This means, despite the wife’s physical weaknesses, the husband must respect his wife, and show her how much valuable she is. After all they are both beneficiaries of God’s grace through the institution of marriage.
Also, so that the husband’s prayers should not be hindered, a husband must relate to his wife the way God intended. God will not listen to prayers of a husband that does not live with his wife, in an understanding manner and who does not show his wife honor.
The husband must live with his wife in an understanding manner, understanding her vulnerabilities and her needs. The husband must respect and make their wife’s to feel special and valuable and know that they are the most important person in their life and the most beautiful in the world. What does Paul say? That will be answered in the next message.
“The Institution of Marriage” Part 6
Peter having told us in 1 Peter 3:7, that a husband must live with his wife in an understanding way and showing honor to her. Paul adds to this in Ephesians 5:25-31.
Paul compares the love of Jesus for the church with the love the husband must have for his wife. Paul says a husband must love his wife, with such love that they are willing to give up their lives for them. Just like Jesus gave up His own life for the church, a husband must be prepared to do the same. A husband cannot love any other person more than his wife.
Just like what Jesus did for the church, a husband must through the word of God, and not force, guide his wife to conformity with the Lord Jesus Christ. Husbands must lead their wives to salvation through the word. In other words, it is the husband’s duty to preach the word to his wife.
The same love the husband has for his own body, must be the same love he has for his wife. In what way? Paul says in the sense that, no one has ever hated their own bodies but instead they nourish and cherish it. In the same way, husbands must nourish and cherish their wives. What does this mean, this means a husband must provide for the needs of his wife, comfort her, and show her tender care.
Lastly, contrary to our culture (especially black culture), where we expect the women to leave her parents, and be part of her husband’s family, Paul says it is the man that must leave his parents and hold-fast to his wife. Paul here is quoting Genesis 2:24, which means this is what God said and created. The word “hold-fast” means literally to closely adhere to, to be super-glued to. Therefore, a man must leave his parents and be super-glued to his wife. The husband’s parents cannot be more important than the wife. Paul is not saying neglect your parents, he is simply saying your wife takes higher priority. What about the wife’s parents? Well, since the wife is submitting to you, it is obvious that you will also be the highest priority.
In Summary: Just like Jesus gave up His own life for the church, a husband must be prepared to do the same for his wife. Husbands must lead their wives to salvation through the word. A husband must provide for the needs of his wife, comfort her, and show her tender care. A man must leave his parents and be super-glued to his wife. The husband’s parents and by extension family, cannot be more important than the wife.
“The Institution of Marriage” Part 7
As we conclude our series today, let us look at how Paul concluded his teaching on how to relate to one another in marriage. This is what Paul says:
Ephesians 5:33 (ESV Strong’s)
_33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband._
God created marriage and created also men and women with certain needs, that can only be, and must only be satisfied in a marriage. As the creator, God created a man with ability to fully satisfy all the needs of a woman in a marriage, and created a woman with ability to fully satisfy all the needs of a man in a marriage. These needs of men and women can be summarized in these words: Love for the wife and Respect for the husband. these are not the only needs but, are the main ones.
If you look at everything we have discussed in this series, since we started, from 1 Peter 3:1-7 to Ephesians 5:22-32, you will realize that these two words, “Love and Respect” give a summary of all of them. That is why Paul concludes in the above verse by saying a husband must love his wife as his own body and the wife must respect her husband.
It does not mean that the husband doesn’t have to respect the wife or the wife doesn’t have to love the husband, they must respect and love one another but, the biggest need for respect is on the husband and the biggest need for love is on the wife.
Failure to satisfy these needs continuously, is the biggest cause of unhappiness in a marriage. God as the creator of marriage, has given us all that we need to know, to have a happy and enjoyable marriage, all we have to do, is to obey His word. Failure to obey God’s word is to sin against God. Sin therefore, is the biggest cause of divorces.
I’m talking about sin in whatever form. It can be sin because of the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes or pride of life (1 John 2:16). Whatever it is, sin is the biggest cause of divorces. If we fully obeyed God’s Word with regard to marriage, and how to relate to one another in a marriage, there would be no divorces period. But, since we are sinful beings, hence we end up divorcing.
To prevent divorces, we need to repent, accept Jesus as Lord of our lives and put our trust in Him for our salvation. Without the Holy Spirit, we cannot obey God. Therefore, we need to be born again. Once we have the Holy Spirit, we will love God’s Word and will want to obey it all the time. If we strive to obey God’s word all the time, we will by default, love our wives and respect our husbands in a marriage. We will be able to hold one another to the marriage standard as God designed it. This will in turn create a happy and enjoyable marriage.
You want a happy and enjoyable marriage? Repent and put your trust in Jesus Christ and obey Him. If your wife or husband is not a Christian, concentrate on being the best wife or husband you can be as designed by God, and leave your wife or husband who is not a Christian to God. This concludes our series.