Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 2 * BOOK 54
Practical Godly Living – Part 2
I Peter 2:15 – 3:22
All right, we’re going to go right on from where we left off in the last lesson in I Peter. We’re beginning today in chapter 3 verse 1. In the last lesson, we were talking about practical godly living, and what it is to be good under various circumstances – and it’s not always easy to be good, but nevertheless, that’s the admonition.
Now you come into chapter 3 and the first word is, “Likewise.” In other words, in chapter 2, he was probably addressing men more than the women, but lest anybody get the idea that the women weren’t of any count in all this, he says:
I Peter 3:1a
“Likewise, ye wives,…” So these verses are first and foremost for women who are burdened with unsaved husbands. And I don’t envy them. That is not a very comfortable situation. But nevertheless, Iris and I have seen that it works, as we admonish people to listen to what the Scripture says here. Even though it’s Peter writing to Jews, yet, here again, this is so applicable for any period of time.
I Peter 3:1a
“Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands;…” That’s not politically correct is it? But we don’t pay any attention to political correctness; it’s the Word of God that counts. And here Peter is admonishing these wives to be in subjection to their husbands. Now remember, I’ve always stressed, even when we were back in Ephesians when Paul addresses the marriage relationship, that when he points out that the husband is the head of the wife, that doesn’t mean that she’s his ‘go-for.’
When we first started farming, Iris didn’t know how to drive; and after I taught her how to drive, she found out why I taught her. It’s, “Go get this and go get that!” But I don’t think she has ever been able to accuse me of being a slave master over her. But nevertheless, the husband, according to God’s design, is the head of the home and he’s to treat his wife, not as a slave nor as a servant, but as a co-heir and as one who is intricately involved in his business, whatever it may be. All right, now Peter is going to use the same analogy.
I Peter 3:1b
“…wives be in subjection to your own husbands; (and especially) that, if any obey not the word, (for salvation) they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;” Now that’s the whole concept here in these verses – that if a saved woman has an unsaved husband, she’s never going to win him by preaching at him or by trying to drag him to church every time she goes. But, rather, through her Christian testimony that she can just live godly.
Now, often, it won’t be easy. He’s going to try and take her, no doubt, to places that are totally uncomfortable for her. But I think it behooves the believing wife, if at all possible, to accompany him and be a constant testimony of her faith. Sooner or later (we’ve seen it happen. Sometimes it takes a little longer than others, but), these ungodly men will suddenly realize what a rat they’ve been compared to their godly wives. And that’s exactly what Peter is saying here. If you have an unsaved husband, just live such a Spirit-controlled life before him that, sooner or later, it’s going to convict him and he’s going to find salvation; and the two of them then can go on and have a happy and a successful marriage.Now verse 2, and here he just simply puts the frosting on the cake.
I Peter 3:2
“While they behold your chaste conversation (righteous, Christian living) coupled with fear.” Remember, the word ‘fear’ here, and in many other portions of the New Testament, is not shaking in your boots with fear. Fear, here, is a respect and an awe because, after all, the God that we serve is the Creator of everything and we’re to recognize Him as such.
Well, the same way with the wife’s respect for her husband. It’s not a fear that she’s scared to death that he’s going to browbeat her, but rather that she recognizes his place in God’s economy as the head of the home. Okay, now verse 2 again and verse 3.
I Peter 3:2-3
“While they (these unsaved men) behold your chaste conversation (or your righteous manner of living) coupled with fear (or respect, or reverence) 3. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting (or today we would call it the braiding) the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;” All right, now I always have to stop at this verse because too many groups have taken the approach that this just forbids the woman to do anything to make herself look attractive to the husband. I don’t buy that. I think it is perfectly appropriate for a wife to be appealing to her husband; not to anybody else, but certainly to her husband. And there is nothing that forbids her wearing some jewelry or fixing her hair, whatever the case may be. But, what’s the emphasis? Don’t let that be the means of winning his approval.
You know several years ago there was a book written, and I don’t even like to quote it, it was so awful. But it was written, if I’m not mistaken, by a pastor’s wife who was telling women how to win their husband. I mean it was awful. It was atrocious. It was strictly from Hollywood and I could never go along with that. But what Peter is saying here – let the behavior of the wife be so godly; let it be so reflective of the Christ who has bought us and redeemed us; that this man is going to finally come under conviction; and, like I said, we’ve seen it happen.
I’ll never forget one gentleman, years ago, told me, “Les I was getting ready to go out with the boys and hang one on, and all of a sudden I came under such conviction. How could I live this kind of a life when my wife had become so Godly, and had loved me so much when I didn’t deserve it?” He continued, “I just dropped on my knees right in my office and asked God to save me.” Well the man went on from there and became a real trophy of God’s Grace, all because his wife did what I told her to do six-months earlier. She, at the time, had said, “I don’t know if I can do this.” But she did. And the fruit was born.
All right, so let it not be just an outward physical attraction (that which pleases the flesh), but now verse 4.
I Peter 3:4a
“But let it be the hidden man of the heart,…” Now we’re talking about the personality – that’s what the generic term ‘man’ is. Let these women who have an unsaved husband or maybe unsaved children (it can go all the way down the line), let their testimony be such from within, from the heart:
I Peter 3:4b
“…in that which is not corruptible, (that which is in the realm of the Spirit) even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” Now you see, that’s why I will always admonish women or, if it’s the other way around, a husband with an unsaved wife. You don’t win them by haranguing them and preaching at them and pestering them – you just simply live that quiet peaceable life of God’s Grace and it will do its work. All right, now verse 5.
I Peter 3:5
“For after this manner (This isn’t anything new, it isn’t something psychology has suddenly dreamed up. This goes all the way back to antiquity. Even in this manner) in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:”
We don’t see much about the faith of the women in the Old Testament economy. We know there were a few in Israel’s history like Deborah and Ruth and so forth, but for the most part we do not have a lot of detailed descriptions of the Godliness of these Hebrew women. But they were. Not all of them of course. But, Sarah and Rebecca and some of these were Godly women; and were they bad to look at? How about Sarah and Rebecca? They were so gorgeous that the King of Egypt wanted them in his harem. They weren’t awful-looking women. They didn’t just let their hair grow all scraggly and not care how they looked. No, they were beautiful; the Scripture says they were. But they weren’t just beautiful on the outside, they were beautiful on the inside and that’s what counts.
And this is what Peter is admonishing – that even these women on the Old Testament economy who, we know from Scripture, were beautiful, they were attractive; yet their major attraction was the meek and quiet spirit which was of the heart, incorruptible and in the sight of God a great price.
I Peter 3:5a
“For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, …”
So these “holy women.” Now there’s that word ‘holy,’ and I guess I’d better stop and define it. It scares a lot of people to be called holy. Well, I’ve explained it before and I’m going to explain it again. To be holy doesn’t mean that you are so God-minded that you are of no earthly good. That’s not what holy means. Holy simply means you’re set apart. You’re not the same as the crowd. You’re different. And that’s all it means. For example, the utensils in the Temple were called ‘holy.’ Why? Because they were not to be used for the mundane butchering of the meat, and so forth, during the week – they were to be used only for the sacrificial worship. And so they were called holy. They were set apart for God’s purposes. That’s all it means. All right, so don’t let the word ‘holy’ scare you.
I Peter 3:5a
“For after this manner in the old time, the holy women also,…” They’d been set apart. They weren’t like the pagan Canaanites around them, and so forth. And they were in subjection to their own husbands. They knew God’s order because that’s the way God ordained it. Now let’s go back to I Timothy. Often people will accuse Paul of being anti-feminist and that was not the case at all. Paul was strictly inspired of the Spirit, every word he wrote – it all was according to God’s provident design. And it started way back with Adam and Eve. I Timothy 2:12. Now don’t read more into this than what it says.
I Timothy 2:12a
“But I suffer (permit) not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man,…” Now that’s the key part of that phrase. God never intended for women to be in authority over the men.
I Timothy 2:12b
“…but to be in silence.” In other words, they were to know what and where and when to speak. Now here’s the reason in verse 13. Not because Paul had a thing against women, not because I, or anybody else, would have a thing against women, but it’s God’s design. The reason Paul says what he says in verse 12 is:
I Timothy 2:13
“For Adam was first formed, and then Eve.” And that was to be the process from that time forward. See? That Adam was the head of the home and Eve was subjected to his authority. Never forget that. And, again, like I mentioned either in the early part of this program or in the last program, always remember that, as God instituted these things, it was for mankind’s own good. And when it got defiled, it was because man’s Adamic sinful nature spoiled the original. So, now then, back to chapter 3 of I Peter:
I Peter 3:6a
“Even as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord:…” Now the word ‘lord’ here is just like we would use ‘Sir.’ It has no divinity associated with it whatsoever.
I Peter 3:6b
“…whose daughters (remember he’s still addressing the women) ye are, as along as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.” All right now verse 7, he’s going to come right back and hit the men between the eyes with the same concept.
I Peter 3:7a
“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, (God’s knowledge) giving honor unto the wife,…” Saying it a little different way than what I said a moment ago – the woman is not just to be walked on, she’s just not to be the husband’s ‘go-for’ – she is to be treated with honor.
I Peter 3:7b
“…as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together…” Now speaking of heirs, this is a good time to look at joint-heirs and heirs. So, come back to Romans chapter 8 and see that this is what makes our Christian faith so glorious – and nobody but Paul teaches this. Peter doesn’t speak of this relationship with Christ as Paul does.
“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, (that is those of us who are believers) that we are (not hope to be, not may be, but are) the children of God: (we’re the born-ones of God by virtue of the work of the Holy Spirit) 17. And if children, then heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ;…” That’s our relationship and one day we’re going to cash in on it! My, we have no idea of the glory that’s awaiting us. The Bible doesn’t tell us much, and I think that’s the reason. My, if the Bible would just give us a real good look at what’s waiting for us, we’d probably all be prone to start starving ourselves to death and get off this planet as soon as possible because that’s how glorious it’s going to be – so He hasn’t told us a lot.So all we know is that God is getting something ready that is beyond human comprehension because we are joint-heirs with Christ.
What a relationship! How few people understand that – that just like the husband and wife are joint-heirs in their physical and material properties; so also, one day, we’re going to be in that position with Christ Himself. All that’s His is going to be ours. That’s what it means to be a joint-heir. And then people are afraid to become a Christian because they’re afraid they’re going to lose out on something? I’ve got news for them – the things of this world are nothing, as Paul says in the next verse.
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” So the best is yet to come. Okay, back to I Peter again.
I Peter 3:7a
“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:…” There can be nothing happier on this earth than a Christian home. A father and a mother who love the Lord, and kids who love the Lord; that’s almost Heaven on earth, see? And so the Scripture is admonishing the husband to realize that when he becomes a joint-heir with a believing wife then, together, the two of them can cash in on the Grace of life, even in this material world. And, then, here comes the spiritual promise:
I Peter 3:7b
“…that your prayers be not (what?) hindered.” Now what does that tell you? That when a husband and wife can pray like-minded, they are far more apt to see those prayers answered than if they pray separately. Now, that should also answer a question that comes up so often back in Acts chapter 16. Paul and Silas have been up there in Philippi, and have been put in prison. They’ve been scourged by the authorities and they’re bleeding and they’re hurting and in stocks. But, in spite of all of that, they have been singing praises unto the Lord,even at midnight – and God miraculously sent an earthquake that opened the prison doors and dropped all the shackles. And the keeper of the prison was going to commit suicide thinking he’s lost all his prisoners.
“But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. 29. Then he (jailer) called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, 30. And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” No doubt, he had heard Paul preaching up in Philippi that afternoon before they arrested him and Silas – and I think he must have gotten pretty much the message that Paul had been talking about. How that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and rose again, and to believe that for salvation. And so now he comes under conviction and he says, “What must I do to be saved?”
“And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” And that throws a curve at people. Yeah, what does that mean? Just because the man was saved, does that mean that automatically his wife and kids are going to be saved? No, not automatically, but what is it? It’s a matter of chances.
If you’ve got a saved husband, the chances of him winning the wife and his children are pretty good. But if you’ve got a saved husband and a saved wife, the chances of winning their kids are very good. Not always 100% but they’re going to have a real good chance of winning most of their kids to the Lord. And that’s the whole concept – that if you have that Christian influence from the father and the mother on the kids, you’re quite likely – I’m not going to guarantee it in every case – to have a Christian family.
And you know, I’ve mentioned on the program before, we get so many phone calls of parents, sometimes fathers, sometimes mothers; almost weeping that their kids are out in the world. Married and they’ve got kids with no spiritual concern whatsoever. And you know my first question? Where were you when you should have been winning those kids to the Lord? Well, too many times, they were lost themselves. They were bar-hopping. They were partying. And they were doing anything but being spiritual parents. So, it just naturally follows that, when parents are believers, they’re going to have a far better chance of winning those kids to the Lord, than if they are not. Okay, now back again to I Peter chapter 3 verse 8.
I Peter 3:8a
“Finally, be ye all of one mind,…” Now Peter is talking to the whole congregation again, the men and the women and the younger people.
I Peter 3:8-9
“Finally be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, (in other words have feelings for everybody else’s needs and hurts and sorrows,) be courteous: 9. Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise (on the other hand) blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.” Now what is this? This is just the good life. You know I was thinking the other night as I was mulling all this over in my mind and Iris was laying there sleeping. I go clear back, and we had come down to visit Iris’s mom here in Poteau, Oklahoma (we were farming up in Iowa). I had to have some work done on my car and it was a beautiful Spring day. So I just drove down to the garage, which was only about a mile from her folks, and I left the car and I walked back. And like I said, it was a nice Spring day, so doors and windows were wide open and I walked by this one house; and such screaming, and such profanity, you can’t believe! I could hardly wait until I was out of earshot. When I got home, I told Iris about it.And I have to wonder, how many homes are like that almost all the time?’ The husband was screaming at the wife, and the wife was screaming back at the husband. The kids were bawling and you could just almost, in your mind’s eye, see what was going on in there. Well is that a happy home? Horrors! And yet that’s the case with far too many.
But see the Christian doesn’t have that kind of thing, hopefully. If everything is as it should be (because Peter is saying that if we have this kind of behavior between the wife and the husband and between believers and other believers), then he will love life.
I Peter 3:10a
“For he that will love (what?) life,…” Now we all like the ‘good life’ don’t we? That’s what this is. This is promoting the good life.
I Peter 3:10b
“…and see good days,…” Now there’s nothing wrong with being happy; there’s nothing wrong with being prosperous.
I Peter 3:10c
“…let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:” Well now, did I leave you with the picture of the opposite? Oh, my, it was days before I got the sound of that raucous argument out of my mind; and it stands to reason it cannot promote happiness.
I Peter 3:11-12a
“Let him eschew (or hate) evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. 12. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous,…” And with that, I’m thinking of a verse over in the Book of Proverbs –”righteousness exalteth a nation.” Never forget it.