Christian’s Life at Home: 3:1-7.
Peter gives instruction about Christians behavior in their immediate society including their home (2:11-3:12). Peter emphases the importance of humility and submission at home. Christian wives should trust God and accept the authority of their husbands. Peter does not say that women are inferior to obey their husbands. In Creation and family, God has given to man the place of headship. It is a divine order. Also the relationship between husband and wife is a picture of the relationship between Christ and the church (Eph 5:24). A born again person has already submitted to God through Christ. Likewise a wife who submits to the authority of husband will be a living testimony to her husband and society. The unsaved husband will be impressed by her godly conduct and be drawn to Christ’s saving grace. Her beauty is primarily is not in her outward beauty such as clothes and jewelry, but in her gentle and quiet spirit (1 Pet 3:3, 4). Women are constantly drawn to their appearances and beauty. God is interested in the quality of their hearts. He works from their inside out, resulting humility, modesty and submission. They are precious in God’s sight. Peter turns to the Old Testament women to support his instruction. They were submissive to their own husbands. Sarah is the prime example. She respected her husband and called Abraham lord. As Abraham was the father of faithful, so Sarah is the mother of the faithful women. When wives live in submission they become daughters of Sarah and do not have to fear of what their husbands might do. Husband must give honor to his wife and be subject to the social institution of marriage which God ordained. Husband is the head of the family. He should treat his wife with understanding and respect. Wife may be weak physically and dependent on husband. But in most cases they are more devoted to Christ than husband. Wife is also the heir of the grace of eternal life with her husband. When husband does not give honor to wife, their prayers will be hindered. Being head of the family, husbands have much greater responsibility than wife in the well being of the family. When wives submit to husbands and husbands honor the wives, homes are blessed.
Christian Virtues: 3:8-12.
This is the end and summery of the section that deals with Christian behavior in humility and submission (2:11-3:12). Many people think that having enough money, freedom and good relationship every thing will be fine. But Christian life begins with a personal relationship with Christ and it is practical. Believers must have unity of mind. It is the unity produced and maintained by the Holy Spirit. It is not an organizational unity (Eph 4:3). When we live in unity God is glorified (Rom 15:5, 6). Sympathy or compassion for one another is another virtue. The idea here is when one suffers all suffer (1 Cor 12:26). It will fortify Christians to face suffering together. We are called to maintain brotherly love among us. Christians are identified by their love for one another. We belong to God’s family so we love one another. This love is lacking among God’s people today. Love covers multitude of sins (1 Pet 4:8). Sympathy feels the pain of others and tenderhearted people help each other. God is tenderhearted and merciful (Rom 12:1). Also Christians must have a humble attitude. We are exhorted to put on this virtue of Christ (Col 3:12). Humble people are teachable people and they are willing to learn from others (Matt 11:28-30). If we have these virtues we will not retaliate when people hurt us. Instead we must bless them that we may be blessed. Verses 10-12 are a poem quoted from Psalm 34:13-17. Those who want to be blessed of God turn away from evil and pursue peace. The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are open to their cry.
Christian’s Attitude towards Suffering: 3:13-17.
Christians are saved by the grace of God. They are also sanctified by God’s grace. Grace enables them to summit to authority. Peter also explains that God gives them grace in suffering. As long as we look to Christ, we cannot be ultimately harmed. In fact it is a privilege to suffer for Christ,s sake (Phil 1:29; 1 Pet 2:20). Blessed are those who are persecuted for the righteousness sake. (Matt 5:10). Lord watches over us and His ears are opened to our prayers. He will judge those who do evil (3:12). If God is for us who can be against us? (Rom 8:31). We must honor Christ as Lord in our hearts and always prepared to give a defense to anyone who asks us a reason for the hope that is us with respect and gentleness (3:15). This must be our attitude towards people and God. There is more heat in argument than light. Here Peter suggests that suffering may be an opportunity to testify the saving grace of God. We should not return evil for evil because we have a living hope. Christian hope is not a wishful thinking but the confident expectation in the return of Christ. That was the theme of the apostolic preaching. Paul was not ashamed to defend his faith in Christ (Acts 23, 24, 25, 26). It is better to suffer for doing good (3:17). If we have a clear conscience and do what is good, those who speak against us will be put to shame. Conscience is a gracious gift from God to convicts us of our sin and to helps us in our walk with God (Rom 2:15; John 8:9). Good conscience is the result of confessing our sins and forsaking them (Psalms 24:3-4; 1 John 1:9)). When we have a clear conscience toward God, we will have a dynamic testimony.
Christ’s Sufferings for Us: 3:18-22.
Peter gives the summary of the work of Christ on our behalf. He paid the atonement for our sin. Christ the righteous suffered for the unrighteous. So Christians must suffer for doing what is good because Christ suffered and set an example for us to follow. The one who was righteous and sinless suffered for our sins. His suffering was the redemptive act of love and grace. It was necessary to reconcile us to God. His blood was the atonement for our sins. Jesus paid the penalty for sins as a substitute in our place. Christ suffered at the hands of the wicked men. He died in the flesh and made alive in Spirit. His resurrection is the proof that the Father has accepted his sacrifice (1 Pet 1:3, 21). All our blessings flow from Christ's death on the cross. The same Holy Spirit who raised Christ from the dead had enabled Him to preach the good news to the men of Noah’s day through Noah himself. Only eight people who believed were saved. Some scholars suggest that in some point the risen Christ proclaimed His victory and the coming judgment to the spirits in prison. Water baptism is a picture of what Christ has done for our salvation and our identification with Him (3:21). The baptism will not save us. It is a pledge that gives the knowledge that we are saved. It also gives us a good conscience of obeying the Lord’s command (Matt 28:19). Christ’s resurrection and ascension declare His glory and power over everything. Angels and authorities are subjected to Him (Col 2:15). Glorified Christ is now seated in the place of honor next to God as our King and High Priest. He is our victorious Savior and we do not have to fear the terrors of the enemy. Pray that God would help you to have a greater appreciation of what Christ has done for you.