If Peter was writing chapter three of his first letter to us, maybe it would read something like this:
First let me speak to all of you wives in the church (the Texan version would say “all ya’ll”). Remember in yesterday’s letter how I spoke of Christ’s example to us – how he suffered for us and we should follow in his steps. In the same way he accepted the authority of God’s plan for him to carry our sins on the cross, YOU must accept the authority of your husbands. Why? Because this kind of godly life will speak volumes to even those who refuse to obey the Good News. They will be won over simply by observing how pure and reverent your life is.
Look inside and see your inner beauty – the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. THIS IS WHAT MATTERS and this is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. Not by concerning themselves with outward beauty enhanced by fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. Instead, they trusted God and accepted the authority of their husbands. This is true beauty. Remember Sarah? She obeyed her husband, Abraham, and called him her master. You are daughters of Sarah when you do what is right without fear of what your husbands might do.
Now husbands, it’s your turn. You must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should or don’t expect your prayers to reach God unhindered.
Now this part is for all of you – husbands and wives, men and women:
…all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. This is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it. For the Scriptures say,
“If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies.
Turn away from evil and do good.
Search for peace, and work to maintain it.
The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers.
But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil.” – 1 Peter 3:8-12; Psalm 34:12-16
Now, if you are doing the good God has called you to do, who will want to harm you? But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of the threats of other people. Instead, worship Christ as Lord of your life!
If someone asks you about this hope that you have in Christ, be ready to explain it to them in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will only be ashamed of themselves when they see the evidence of the good life you live because you belong to Christ. Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong! – 1 Peter 3:17
Let’s consider again how Christ suffered for our sins. He never sinned but he died once for all sinners in order to bring you safely home to God. Did you catch that? “Safely” – remember this when you suffer. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.
Remember those who disobeyed God a long time ago when Noah was building the ark. Only 8 people survived that flood. Christ went and preached to the spirits in prison of those who disobeyed and died. That water is a picture of baptism – it saves you now, not by removing dirt from your body, but as a response to God from a clear conscience. This is effective because Jesus Christ arose from the dead!
Now Christ has gone to heaven. He is seated in the place of honor next to God, and all the angels and authorities and powers accept his authority.
So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin. You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God (1 Peter 3:22-4:2).
So, wives submit to the authority of your husbands and husbands honor your wives, while both of you submit to the authority of God in your lives and honor Him as Lord. When life gets difficult and you suffer, remember that Christ suffered for your sins. Consider your baptism. The water that washed over you symbolizes that you have died to your old way of life, those sins Jesus carried on the cross. When you came out of the water, you were a NEW PERSON– anxious to do the will of God!
You are a new person, one with inner beauty. Instead of retaliating, you keep a humble attitude and remain tender-hearted. You sympathize with others, love each other and pay back only with blessings. This is what God has called you to do and He will bless you for it!