“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 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. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.” (1 Peter 2:21-3:1)
As we worship Christ today it is good for us to review the imperatives (commands) of 3:1-7 in light of the infinitives (truths) immediately preceding them. All that we are commanded to do by God in his Word is founded on the truth of who God is, what Christ has done, and the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in us; in other words, our marching orders are based on who we are in Christ. So, first of all, we are called to a holy life that is founded on the suffering of Jesus Christ, who is not only our example but our leader whom we are to follow (2:21). As his disciples, we should expect to suffer in our relationships—possibly the messiest aspect of living in a world corrupted by sin. Any idea that marrying the right person will lead to utter peace and happiness, or that avoiding marriage will save us from relational struggles is unbiblical and misguided.
There is hope, though, in both the way Jesus managed his suffering and the outcome of it. Verses 22 and 23 remind us that Christ was truthful, restrained, gentle, and completely trusting in his Father’s plan. He submitted, yielding to torture and abuse, rather than take revenge, inappropriately use his overwhelming power, or resist the suffering that was necessary for our salvation. Shall we not yield to a few unintentional insults, misguided helpful comments, or hurt feelings in our marriages, to overcome evil with good? There was no deceit in Christ, meaning that he never added to or detracted from God’s truth for his own benefit but died because of the truth that we are sinners in need of a Savior. Then Jesus let events unfold. Will we speak the biblical truth gently to ourselves first, that we are sinners who always have a role in relational conflicts? Then will we trust God and letting his providence unfold?
Jesus’s sinlessness is impossible for us to imitate but we are reminded that by it he alone is qualified to be our Savior. Verse 24 is a summary of Isaiah 53:4-5, “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.” This is the conclusion to the matter: “By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (1 Peter 2:15)”
The “Likewise” for wives in 3:1 has this great depth of meaning, and not just for wives. It is for all of us who wish to draw others to Christ with dignity and wisdom by our words and conduct. Let’s seek to appreciate the truths of the Bible as we worship today so that by believing more faithfully, we will yield more readily to God’s will and draw others to Christ.