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Living Righteously

AN EXPOSITION OF

1 PETER 3:1-12

     1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;

Turning his thoughts to the unjust suffering of many Christian women, Peter patterns their experience after Christ. The exhortation is given to be loving and obedient with the purpose of winning a lost husband to Christ. The power and price of a virtuous woman is immense (Prov. 31:10). .

     2 While they behold your chaste [clean, pure] conversation [manner of life] coupled with fear.

All women, as all men need to be redeemed by God’s sovereign grace, and the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. That grace can transform any woman, no matter how desperately they have sinned, is reflected in the life of Bathsheba for it was she who is behind the words of Proverbs 31. “The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him.” If Lemuel is another name for king Solomon, then his mother was Bathsheba. Solomon merely recorded what a great lady of grace taught him. No woman is beyond the reach of redeeming grace, for no woman sinned to any greater degree than Bathsheba. She who betrayed her husband, conceived a child in sin, agreed to cover up the crime, though it cost the life of her husband through murder, became a trophy of infinite mercy, and a contributor to the Word of God.

     3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;

A literal and absolute prohibition against fixing the hair in an attractive manner, dressing well, or wearing jewelry, is not in view. Rather, emphasis is placed on the internal riches of the heart.

     4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

     5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:

     6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement [alarm].

It is instructive how often in Scripture the Lord looks beyond a person’s faults to honor their faith. Though Sarah sought a promised child in an inappropriate manner, the time came when her faith flourished and was rewarded. “Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.” (Heb. 11:11)

Peter would have Christian women emulate the faith of Sarah, and her relationship with Abraham insofar as it conformed to gospel standards.

Christian Characteristics of a Daughter of Sarah

A daughter of Sarah will manifest a meek spirit.
A daughter of Sarah will cultivate a quiet spirit.
A daughter of Sarah will esteem and honor the husband.
A daughter of Sarah will do well to all.
A daughter of Sarah will not be afraid.

These virtues are of great value to God.

      7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

As Christian women have gospel duties, and holy goals to seek after, so men have an important responsibility. Men are to know their wives, and respect what they know. Whenever anyone takes the time to know what is going on in the life of someone else it is deeply appreciated. Mamie Adams always went to a branch post office in her town because the postal employees there were friendly. She went there to buy stamps just before Christmas one year and the lines were particularly long. Someone pointed out that there was no need to wait in line because there was a stamp machine in the lobby. “I know,” said Mamie, ‘but the machine won’t ask me about my arthritis.”

If there is no marital harmony in the home, the prayer life will be affected. More than likely, it will be non-existent.

     8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful [sympathetic], be courteous:

     9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.

     10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile [with deceit]:

     11 Let him eschew [avoid] evil [injurious], and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue [pursue] it.

Twelve Ways to Help Have Harmony in the Church

Seek to be of one mind, and let that mind be the mind of Christ.
Have compassion on others, especially those who sin.
Love the members of the royal family of grace.
Be sympathetic to all.
Express common courtesies.
Do not render evil for evil.
Do not render railing for railing.
Bless those who are mean spirited and hurtful.
Speak nothing in a deceitful manner.
Avoid anything that is injurious to someone else or self.
Do good to someone whenever you get the chance.
Seek peace with all people.

     12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

Gospel motives are stated in a positive and negative way.

Seven Positive Gospel Motives for Living Righteously

 There is doctrinal understanding that a life of righteousness is a natural part of the divine call to salvation.

There is a blessing to receive for righteous living, not the least of which is to hear the Lord say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matt 25:21).

There will be a joy in living righteously.

More good days will be experienced than bad days.

The Lord is watching.

Prayers will be answered. 

A Negative Motive for Living Righteously

The face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

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