June 6, 2011
As we saw with Abigail, husbands can act in disobedience to the Lord Jesus Christ. When husbands act sinfully, the Lord Jesus intends for wives to take very specific actions to help their husbands end their disobedience.
Wives Follow the Example of Christ’s Submission. Do you see the words “In the same way” in the verse above? Those words tell us that Christ set the perfect example for wives to follow when they intend to be submissive to their husbands. In 1 Peter 3:21-25, page 1896, we read about the Lord Jesus Christ submitting himself first to being reviled, suffering, and threatened. He did not return reviling with reviling. He did not utter threats when men made him suffer. Instead, the Lord Jesus kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously (1 Peter 2:23). We see a picture here of Christ staying quiet, and going to the cross to bear ours sins in His body. As a result, everyone who believes in him would now live to righteousness, and die to sin (1 Peter 2:24, page 1896). The word “submissive” (“ὑποτασσόμεναι“) means to obey, to submit to another person’s control, to subject one’s self. In 1 Corinthians 15:28, page 1801, Christ submits Himself in the future to the will of the Father so that God may be all in all. Christ did not become less than the Father, but displayed His unity with the Father by such submission. Throughout His earthly ministry, Jesus continually did the will of His Father, speaking the Father’s words and doing the acts of His Father (John 12:49, page 1682; John 5:36, page 1663). When a woman submits herself to her husband, she does nothing more or nothing less than Christ Himself will do with the Father, and just as He did during His earthly ministry.
Dealing with the Husband’s Disobedience to the Word. So many wives take it upon themselves to nag their husbands about their bad behavior. In some cases, they threaten their husbands with divorce or separation. In other cases, they just send pointed jabs to their husband about their sinfulness. Every wife should be familiar with this proverb: “It is better to live in a corner of a roof than in a house shared with a contentious woman” (Proverbs 21:9, page 1031). The word “contentious” (“מִדְיָנִים“) there means strife, quarreling, scolding, plotting and contriving. A contentious person is to strife like hot embers and wood are to a fire (Proverbs 26:21, page1040). Whenever a wife decides to quarrel, scold, plot or contrive, she should ask herself: “Would Jesus do that to His Father?” We should also take note that the problem with the husband’s behavior is disobedience to the word. Every husband has one standard to follow, and only one standard: the Word of God. The wife does not get to set the standard of behavior for the husband, just as the husband does not get to set the standard for the wife. God has set the standard for every wife and every husband in His word, the Bible. It centers upon loving each other, as Christ loved us. Wives cannot seek to enforce their own petty views and ideas, or family traditions, but must instead look to God’s word to know what standard of behavior to seek from her husband. As a wife (or husband), you cannot seek to impose behavior upon your spouse, but rather you must encourage behavior consistent with the Word of God. If you have no verse, you have no case to seek change in behavior. Each of us should be granting others the freedom to live in love before the Lord Jesus Christ, before we stand or fall (Romans 14:4, page 1777).
Winning without a Word. While the Word of God sets the standard for behavior, the wife should be intent upon winning (“κερδηθήσονται“) the husband. Jesus used this same root term for winning: “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother” (Matthew 18:15, page 1533). We see that gaining the restoration of your brother brings profit to both parties. Winning means that your husband stops sinning and starts living in conformity to the Word of God. In 1 Peter 3:1, page 1896, we see that Jesus had a specific way to deal with disobedient husbands. The wife should purpose in her heart, just like Jesus did, to entrust herself to God who judges righteously, and not say a word of contention to her husband. As we will see tomorrow, Lord willing, the behavior of the wife will play a critical role in winning the husband. Actions really will speak louder than words, and the wife must concentrate upon Godly behavior.
So we learn more about spiritual wives today and their role in daily devotions.
● Being a wife in Christ means that you live in submission to your husband, just like Christ will submit Himself to the Father in the future. You will be showing your whole family how to live in Godliness.
● Being a wife in Christ means that do not say a word to your husband when he acts in disobedience to the Word of God. Neither your children nor your husband will ever hear you say contentious words to husband, even when he acts in disobedience to the Word of God.
● Being a wife in Christ means that you focus upon Godly behavior in your life for everyone, and especially your husband, to observe. God intends to minister to your disobedient husband through your life. The wife plays a special role in helping win her husband to obedience to the Word of God.
Application for Today
The Godly wife avoids contentions with her husband, especially when the husband acts in disobedience to the Word of God. As in the Lord, she will remain submissive to husband, and make sure her behavior speaks more loudly than words. She loves her husband, and knows that God wants to use her to win her husband without a word. Each of us needs to have more of the loving example of the Lord Jesus Christ in our lives. Will you love people and seek to win them without a word as they observe your behavior today?