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Being Countercultural Men

Being Countercultural Men

1 Peter 3:7 – Perspective: Series from 1 Peter – March 6, 2022

Introduction

Reading 1 Peter 3:1–7.

The culture’s messages about men:

  • Most if not all masculinity is really “toxic masculinity.”
  • A man can’t do anything important that a woman can’t do.
  • Men are just adolescent boys in bigger bodies.
  • Sit-com version: Men can be really funny, but it’s the women who are smart and responsible and get everything done.
  • A darker message also out there: Violence is manly, and it’s manly to exploit women—sexually or in pornography or in other abusive ways.

But the Bible is the divine message from God that judges all other messages. Has the last word for us. As our Confession of Faith says,

Our faith must rest when Scripture speaks.
TFC Confession of Faith 1.10

Culture is constantly changing its mind about what it is to be a man, to be manly,

  • We need to hold to the anchor of God’s word.
  • His word needs to speak loudest and clearest.

This week is kind of a Part 2 to last week on Being Countercultural Women.

  • Last week a wife being subject to the husband
  • Having imperishable INNER beauty, not perishable OUTER beauty

This is the Part 2, addressed to the men about being a godly husband.

  • Two Parts give God’s vision for a right and happy marriage.
  • A woman’s submission and inner beauty are designed to fit with—complement—the man’s determination to understand and honor his wife.
  • A man’s godly leadership is meant to fit with—complement—the woman’s submission (first to Christ, then to her husband).

Perspective: 1 Peter series. Apostle Peter near end of his life. Perspective on the most important issues in our lives. Today, attributes of a godly husband.

Good tip as we work through these passages is from Ken Sande: Read Your Own Mail.

  • Easy to take what’s written to the other sex and get judgmental.
  • Better to take what’s written to you and let God search your heart.
  • Read Your Own Mail—not absolute, but good general advice.

Sermon: Being countercultural husbands. (1) Understanding, (2) Honoring, (3) Blessing. First 2 lead to the 3rd.

Prayer – Ukraine, marriages, singles looking ahead at marriage

I. Understanding

Important to get a clear sense of our context. How 3:7 connects to Peter’s argument.

You, husbands in the same way / Likewise” – Ties it back to 2:11–12:

Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. (1 Pet 2:11–12)

  • The battle within, your conduct, SO THAT God glorified
  • 2:13–3:7: Treat governing authorities…slaves to masters…wives to husbands…and now husbands to wives.

Also need to see how 3:1–6 fits with 3:7.

  • Authority is given in 3:1–6, but 3:7 dictates HOW authority is expressed.[1]

In looking at 3:7 we’ll use the NASB translation. I think it captures the flow of thought in the Greek a little better than the ESV.

You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered. (1 Pet 3:7, NASB)

The way the NASB has it you can see:

  • Two main verbs that provide main parts of the sentence.
  • Each of those verbs has an adverbial clause attached: “as with someone weaker,” “as a fellow heir of the grace of life.”
  • And then a purpose statement at the end: “so that…”

First part of the sentence is where we want to start: “You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker.”

Live with your wives in an understanding way

  • Some translations use some version of “considerate”: “Live with your wives in a considerate way.”
  • Way word gets used, this is too weak: Considerate = polite.
  • Peter has in mind something with far more intentionality and effort.
  • “Live with your wife according to knowledge.”
    • The husband is to be a detective, a scholar when it comes to his wife.
    • Takes work because WE DON’T THINK THE SAME!
    • Knowing everything about her.
    • Her history—her past, childhood, schooling
    • Her desires, dreams, fears
    • Her opinions, preferences
    • Her strengths and weaknesses
    • Her spiritual life
    • Her emotions
  • As the head of the household, this affects HOW you lead
    • As a wife, this will affect HOW you follow.
    • It’s one thing to follow someone you’re pretty sure has NO CLUE about who you are.
    • It’s another to follow someone where you’re really confident they KNOW you.

As with someone weaker” – Peter focuses on one specific area of knowledge.

  • Two ways of thinking of this weakness that make the most sense of what Peter is after.

First is “someone weaker” in the sense of being in a “socially weaker position,” more vulnerable in the society.[2]

  • The husband would have enjoyed much more freedom and power in the society than the wife.
  • In his leadership he is to be aware of this.

Second is the more obvious: physical weakness.

  • A husband in charge is likely much physically stronger than the wife.
  • Part of his leading with knowledge is being aware that he might be physically threatening to her without meaning to be.
  • He is being told not to take advantage of her in her weakness.
  • But instead to live with her in an understanding way, aware of her vulnerable position.

In other words, His STRONG leadership must also possess a gentleness.

  • If so, to the woman, his STRONG leadership is a SAFE leadership.
  • She will feel safe to ENTRUST herself to him.
  • Without that, hard for a marriage to thrive.

In Ukraine, examples of this kind of STRONG leadership, aware of the weakness of woman and children.

  • Husbands and fathers working hard to get their women and children to a place of safety.
  • Then? Picking up guns to go after the enemy.

Peter is countercultural here, seeing a woman’s weakness rightly.

  • NOT intellectual or moral or spiritual.
  • Peter’s day, sense men were just better than women—bigger, stronger, smarter, more capable, more important.
  • A more categorical kind of “weakness.”
  • NT here is countercultural.
  • By example—Priscilla and Aquila:

He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. (Acts 18:26)

  • By what it commands:

Older women…are to teach what is good, and so train the young women (Titus 2:3, 4)

Self-evaluation:

  • Does your leadership reflect a true knowledge of your particular wife?
  • Do you lead with a gentleness?

II. Honoring

Now we turn to the second part of the sense, showing her honor:

You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered. (1 Pet 3:7, NASB)

Second part of the sentence:

  • Main verb: “Show her honor
  • Adverbial clause: “as a fellow heir of the grace of life
  • Purpose for the whole sentence: “so that your prayers will not be hindered.”

Show her honor

  • Remember 2:17:

Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. (1 Pet 2:17)

  • Peter says this same kind of honoring we give to our wives.
  • It is treating the wife as if she is someone important, respectable.
  • Peter says to “honor the emperor”—how you act towards him, how you speak to him, how you speak ABOUT him.
  • We do that for emperors because of their role in the society.
  • But with our wives it’s for a different reason…

As a fellow heir of the grace of life

  • It’s their spiritual identity that motivates our honor of them.
  • Thomas Schreiner:

Men should honor women because they share the same destiny—an eternal inheritance in God’s kingdom.
Thomas Schreiner[3]

  • The most precious thing the man has is “the grace of life.”
  • Not gold and silver, but a spiritual inheritance.
  • God has entrusted that wealth to your wife and not just you.
  • She’s a daughter of the King, just as you’re a son of the King.

Peter’s perspective was radical for the 1st century.

  • You can find examples of the equality Peter is after in ancient writings, but they’re rare.[4]
  • It’s just false to say that the NT is simply adopting the cultural idea of marriage of that day.
  • Or the cultural ideas about gender around them.
  • Overlap, yes. But no simply carryover from the culture to the church.
  • The culture then had to be analyzed and critiqued, just like our culture today.

SELF-EVALUATION:

  • Do your actions and words honor your wife?
  • Do you have a deep sense of your wife as equal, as a “co-heir”?

III. Blessing

Now we’re at the purpose, the “SO THAT…”

You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered. (1 Pet 3:7, NASB)

So that your prayers will not be hindered.”

  • Not what you might expect, is it?
  • Might expect, “SO THAT peace in your home,” “happy”
  • But the motivation is spiritual.
  • TRUE PRACTICALLY: Takes peace to pray well and to be focused. You being unfaithful as a husband leads to conflict and lack of peace, focus.
  • TRUE SPIRITUALLY: God’s fatherly discipline.

So concerned is God that Christian husbands live in an understanding and loving way with their wives, that he “interrupts” his relationship with them when they are not doing so. No Christian husband should presume to think that any spiritual good will be accomplished by his life without an effective ministry of prayer. And no husband may expect an effective prayer life unless he lives with his wife “in an understanding way, bestowing honor” on her. To take the time to develop and maintain a good marriage is God’s will; it is serving God; it is a spiritual activity pleasing in his sight.
Wayne Grudem, 1 Peter[5]

God does not bless with his favor those who are in positions of authority and abuse those who are under them by mistreating them.
Thomas Schreiner[6]

A really key point: When God entrusts you with authority, his blessings will be tied to how you exercise that authority.

  • God cares about how authority is handled.
  • A master has true authority over his slaves but…

Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him. (Eph 6:9)

  • Government officials in Israel had true authority but…

“Behold, the princes of Israel in you, every one according to his power, have been bent on shedding blood. Father and mother are treated with contempt in you; the sojourner suffers extortion in your midst; the fatherless and the widow are wronged in you….I will scatter you among the nations and disperse you through the countries, and I will consume your uncleanness out of you.” (Ezek 22:6–7, 15)

  • A father has true authority over children but…

Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. (Col 3:21)

God also provides protections for a wife when her husband is not exercising his authority properly:

  • The Church, which can excommunicate
  • Governing Authorities, which can prosecute
  • A man’s marriage is not simply “off-limits” to these other authorities.

Conclusion

As we close we need to know that God’s ways are best.

  • Not just right but beautiful and best—leads to thriving!!
  • A husband of understanding and honor is a blessing—not just obedient.
  • A woman of submission and inner beauty is a blessing—not just obedient.
  • And the two will BE BLESSED, not just be a blessing.

Repentance…rooted in the gospel, 1 Peter 2:24

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. (1 Pet 2:24)

  • For the wife: Submitted? Inner beauty vs. outer?
  • For the husband: Understanding? Gentleness? Honor? Equality, co-heir? See and cultivate inner beauty (vs. outer) in your home?
  • For singles in their attitudes toward marriage: You growing in these ways?

Prayer and Closing Song

[1] On this, see Calvin on 1 Peter 3:7.

[2] Keener, 245.

[3] Thomas Schreiner, 1, 2 Peter, Jude, NAC, 161.

[4] See Craig Keener’s commentary on 1 Peter, 247–250.

[5] Wayne Grudem, 1 Peter, TNTC, 146.

[6] Thomas Schreiner, 1, 2 Peter, Jude, NAC, 161.

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