Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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Living in the Power of the Resurrection: Suffering
As Peter continues to reveal the nature of the kingdom of God into chapter three, he begins with the word, "Likewise" which tells us that at least the initial part of chapter three is to be understood and interpreted in relation to what he has been speaking about in the latter part of chapter two.

KJV 1 Peter 3:1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;
2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.
3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:
6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.
7 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; that your prayers be not hindered.

The focus has not changed here, for what is being said is that suffering/bearing patiently in a marriage in which a husband is not a believer works the same way that it did in the earlier passages. The unbelieving spouse is going to be scrutinizing the life Jesus Christ in the words and actions of the believing spouse. For the life of grace that is lived is often that which can open the eyes and heart of a non believer to the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ as they watch and scrutinize the life of a believer. A close relative of mine once told me that he was given the grace to stay at home with his wife (who would not attend church with him) instead of going to church each Sunday without her. This went on for many years until one day she came to see and experience the grace of God in a clearer manner and even though he did not say it, it was apparent to me that his ability to see his role in serving her spiritual needs by staying by her side each Sunday morning was a contributing factor in her growth. They now attend the same fellowship together on a regular basis.

Peter continues to elaborate on this thought by saying that the adornment is not in the stuff one wears, but it is what is inside. It is not that braided hair is forbidden, (in Greek this means an elaborate hairstyle in which they weaved gold) or that to wear gold is forbidden, or that the wearing of clothes is forbidden, but the point is that adornment should not be in outward things. The putting on should be in the immortal, inner things of the heart. He again brings the contrast of gold which can perish. He points to the meekness of spirit which is lived in during the trials of life that one is going through. In this case, it is in the case of a wife who patiently bears the difficulty of an unbelieving spouse who may resist their walk of salvation. The value of this hidden meekness is much more valuable than outward golden adornments. Earlier he spoke of gold twice, (1:7) and (1:19) pointing out that as valuable as gold is, it is perishable.

An illustration from the Old Testament is given from the life of Sara. She placed herself in deference (humble submission) to her husband. This was her husband, and this is the example that is for married women. We need to be reminded that taken in context this is much more than principles of how to be a good wife. It is that yes, but what is being shown here is the importance of a wife laying down her life for the desired blessing for her husband in salvation. Jesus modeled and demonstrated this humility when he washed the feet of the disciples. He performed a menial task for them, which indicated that he came to serve. Yes, he was their Lord and Master, He told them that He was so, that he had the authority over them, but yet He performed the menial chore for them. So He calls upon the believing wife to so do for her unbelieving husband.

Sometimes for a person has to live with a husband who is not in faith, it can be a fearsome type of relationship. But by trusting in God , by placing oneself at his disposal, one can be relieved of the fear of any circumstance. He is telling them all to live without fear in all of their tribulations that may be in the future. God is watching over us all, and when we place ourself at His disposal, we do not have to live in fear.

7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with(live with) them according to knowledge, giving honour (placing value)) unto the wife, as unto the weaker (less strong) vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

As husbands we are to give honor to our wife, to consider them important from the heart. Is he saying here is that boys are stronger than girls? Most men can lift more weight than woman, just because they have testosterone. As men we must know that we are stronger than woman, but we are called to show honor to them and to live with them on the basis of this knowledge.

Now in relationship to living with this vessel who is weaker, there is a temptation to rule over the weaker vessel. But we are to alway show deference to people who are weaker than us. Jesus did this, for he washed the feet of those who were weaker than him. This is speaking to us as husbands.

How are a husbands prayers hindered? It occurs when our attitudes and motives are in opposition to what God calls us to be to our wives. For example, if we are praying that our wife be submissive to us in an unbiblical manner, we are praying in opposition to the will of God. In that way we would be praying against God's will. Would God answer our prayer if we were praying for our wife to like a slave to us? Would he hear our prayers when we treat our wife as a possession and not a person?I think not..

8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, (tenderhearted) be courteous: (friendly, kind)
9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing:(reviling, speaking reproachfully) but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:(deceit)
11 Let him eschew (avoid) evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.(follow after)
12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

Peter uses the word finally, which indicates to us that he is making some concluding remarks in this particular section which began at 2:11, where he told them "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12 Having your conversation (behavior) honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation."

He tells them that there is no need to return abuse for abuse, for their inheritance is awaiting them in glory. We do not have to take things in our own hands, since God's eyes are over the righteous, his ears open to their prayers, but his face is against those who do evil. We understand that we are not to use our tongue and lips wrongfully, for God is watching over us, and He is the one who is taking care of those who do evil. So there is no need to react against the wicked, for God is well aware of what they are doing. There is no value for us to return something bad for bad. There is greater value in seeking and pursuing peace.

13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?
14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;
15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

One of the major themes of this letter again is brought forth by Peter: Suffering for the benefit of others offers us opportunity to give an answer for the reason of the hope that we have. For when we follow that which is good and suffer for it, there are those who are going to take notice and ask us about it. We then are able to tell them, in meekness (gentleness of spirit) and fear,(respect and reverence) that we have an inheritance that is reserved in heaven, that is incorruptible, undefiled and that does not fade away. We can tell them that this kingdom that we live in is not an earthly kingdom, but it is a spiritual kingdom who is governed and ruled by Jesus Christ Himself.

They understood that Christ was living in them and when there was opportunity to give answer of the hope that is within them, they should do so. In other words, the hope that is in us, is greater than the fear that is without. This verse needs to be kept in context, so that when one is in suffering one will not succumb to fear, but will be able to respond in a good way with humility and respect. When one is going through something in good conscience, one will be able to speak with humility and respect.

17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

We will suffer if we do wrong, but when one does right and suffers for good, it is an opportunity to reveal the Christ in us.

18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once
the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.

He is using Christ as the example, as the one who has suffered wrongly. Christ need not have suffered, but He did and in the place of the unjust. He did it so that they would be brought to God. Even though He was put to death in the flesh, He could not really be brought into death by humans, for they were only the instruments which God used. God ordained this death and Christ yielded his life. (Acts 2:22; John 19:30) He is telling them that since they are alive in the Spirit, they are overcomers, for they are no longer dead in the flesh. We are not look upon our flesh, we are not to look upon our fleshly experience, for we are alive in the Spirit.

v 19...By which he also went and preached unto the spirits in prison; He is alive in the Spirit, as He went and preached to the spirits in prison. So in this Spirit, which He was made alive in, He goes to the spirits who are in prison. Who are they? What does it mean that they were in prison? The spirits probably are not in prison, but something is holding them, and that maybe is death. Are they are being held by death, in being held captive. Now on the basis of His death, but being alive in the Spirit, He went to speak to them. They were disobedient ones, who were captive to death, and what took place seems to have taken place duriing the time of Noah, while God waited patiently. What is God waiting for? For Noah to finish the ark? Is God waiting for the day of destruction? Is He offering them the opportunity to come to repentance? God is waiting patiently, Noah is building the ark, and then we are told that only eight souls will be saved. This is a difficult place to understand.

Peter is speaking about the ark as a means of salvation, for if one is in a boat on the water, they will not perish. They were saved as by the boat. A vehicle is provided that will enable a person to pass through water. The antitype is baptism,

(Antitype: 1. One that is foreshadowed by or identified with an earlier symbol or type, such as a figure in the New Testament who has a counterpart in the Old Testament.
2. An opposite or contrasting type).

It is not of the flesh, it is not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. This act of baptism is not to be used in the sense of a washing. It is not like taking a bath, and washing the dirt from one's skin, but it refers to a good conscience. The baptism is a figure of the one who is baptized, which points to the resurrection. Baptism is the vehicle by which we are passed through the water, ie, the vehicle by which we are saved from judgment, and the act which makes it efficacious (binding) is the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Just as Noah was saved by the ark from the judgment of God, so also we are saved by the resurrection of Jesus.

Jesus received the baptism from John, even though He was not a sinner. John wondered about it at first, but Jesus told him that it had to be done to fulfull all righteousness. It needed to be done to complete all that was necessary for the justification of sinners. Jesus was baptized as a sinner, for he came in the likeness of sinful flesh. He was baptized so that He could enter into the human race for sin, we have been baptized into Him through the resurrection. It is not the water that does it, for water is the instrument of judgment. It is the means by which God was destroying the world, and it was the ark that saved them. The analogy here is with the baptism and the ark. We baptize, not for the water's sake, but we baptize on the basis of the resurrection in the joining unto Jesus Christ. When we are baptized unto Christ, we are passing through the judgment.

22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.


Christ has passed through death for us, and now He is alive. He is seated at the right hand of God, He lives in us by the Spirit, and if we are called to suffer, we are suffering for a good cause, for through this suffering, Christ is revealed through us. We will be taken care of, for God overcame death for us. He was made alive for us, and on that basis, we live. We have been baptized into Jesus Christ, into His death and into His resurrection. Therefore as we continue to live in the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, may we live in joy and peace.


In Christ's power,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 23 May 2011 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala


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