Saturday, 9 November 2019
…when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. 1 Peter 3:2
Peter continues with his reason why women are to be submissive to their husbands, even if they are non-believers. And so he says, “when they observe.”
The word translated as “observe” was introduced in 1 Peter 2:12. Peter now uses it again for the last time in Scripture. It signifies to look upon or behold. In both instances, observation of the believer leads to a noticeable change in the beholder –
“…having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.”
“Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.”
Like the non-believing Gentiles who are set to glorify God because of the conduct of believers, even when spoken of as evildoers, so non-believing husbands can be greatly affected by the conduct of their wives which they observe. It is conduct which Peter next describes as “chaste.”
The word signifies pure to the core, unadulterated, uncontaminated, and without any spoil – even to the center of one’s being. There is no mixture of anything impure or worthy of rebuke or condemnation. It is a word used of that which is sacred, holy, and free from ceremonial defilement, as in an offering. Imagine a husband with such a wife. He could never find an accusation against her, and thus his heart would hopefully be pricked each time he considered her ways, knowing it was because of her faith in Christ.
Peter then says that this chaste conduct is to be “accompanied by fear.” The Greek literally reads, “in fear.” There are several possible intents for Peter saying this. The first would be out of reverent fear of God, as it is used elsewhere. Because this has been determined by the Lord, even since the fall of man, it is her duty to act this way in awed fear of the Lord.
The second is out of respect for her husband, fearing that anything less would be improper due to his authority over her, and thus damaging the relationship which exists between them.
And the third would be a fear of the consequences of failing to show proper respect, which would be to further alienate him from a relationship with the Lord. As a believer, her highest duty is to the Lord. Therefore, her duty to her husband is to win him to the Lord. Should she not act with a proper fear of the Lord, of her husband, or towards the gospel, the chances of his salvation would be greatly diminished.
Life application: It should be the great hope of all believers that their conduct would be such that those who observe it will want to know who this wonderful Lord is that the believers would be such fine examples of honorable character.
If you come to Christ and then act in a manner which is in line with the gospel, regardless of how you are treated, others cannot help but notice. Therefore, let your respect for the Lord be of the highest and most exalted manner possible. Let the people of the Lord proclaim His surpassing greatness and be ever mindful of His mercies upon us. By having this attitude, may others see our testimony and our faithful walk and be won over, even without words.
Lord, before we knew You, we lived as those who had no respect or fear for You. Our lips failed to praise You and, in fact, we spoke Your name in inappropriate ways. Now we know You, now we fear You, and now we love You. Give us the desire and ability to always exalt You so that others will see and fear You as well. In all things, may You be glorified through our lives. Amen.