Friday, February 5, 2010

Transforming Marriages with True Freedom (Part 2)

Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered. (1 Peter 3:1-7)

The first part of Peter’s household code concerning marriage addressed wives whose husbands were not believers, so that their husbands might come to share in the faith with them. Now, Peter has a word for husbands who are believers.

  • “Husbands, likewise …” Husbands also are to be submissive to every human creature — including their wives.
  • “Dwell with them with understanding.” The Greek word for “dwell with” is sunoikeo, made up of two words: sun, “together,” and oikeo, to occupy a house. It speaks of a domestic relationship and, in the case of husband and wife, would include sexual intercourse. A husband is to have understanding for his wife in every aspect of their relationship.
  • “Giving honor to the wife.” She is to be honored, just as he is. The Greek word for “honor” has a substantive value and, in this case, would include the husband properly providing for and taking caring of his wife.
  • “As to the weaker vessel.” This does not refer to spiritual, moral or intellectual weakness but, rather, to physical weakness. A vessel is a container, just as the body may be thought of as a container for the soul.
  • “And as being heirs together of the grace of life.” The Greek term for “heirs” here refers to co-heirs or joint-heirs. There is no inequality here; husbands and wives share equally in the inheritance of new life in Jesus. The husband is not spiritually superior to his wife; they are both the same before God. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).
  • “That your prayers may not be hindered.” Paul said that faith works through love (Galatians 5:6). If we are not walking in love towards our mates, it can hinder our faith and, consequently, our prayers.
As believers in Jesus, true freedom in marriage is found in mutual submission. It’s not about who’s the boss but who’s the servant. We are each to love, give to and serve one another, not as scorekeepers or accountants, but generously and freely. It is because God so loved the world and Jesus came to give His life for us, that we an able to love one another in this way, bearing the fruit of the Spirit. It is how marriages become strong, and powerful in prayer and faith.

Keeping the Faith When Things Get Tough
Keeping the Faith When Things Get Tough
Peter’s Letter to Jesus Believers Scattered Everywhere
Bite-Sized Studies Through First Peter
by Jeff Doles

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