Friday, July 06, 2007

In the Same Way

Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. (1 Peter 3:7 NIV)

The word “honor” in KJV is “respect” in the NIV. The real definition comes from the context. The sentence starts out, “Husbands, in the same way…” Which way? Verse 1 of chapter 3 starts out “Wives, in the same way…” Which way? We have to go back to chapter two, verses 18-25:

“The same way” refers, first, to the command given to the Christian slave:

Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. (1 Peter 2:18-20 NIV)

Second, “the same way” refers to verse 21:

To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. (1 Peter 2:21 NIV)

Then the example is given verses 21-25:

To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (1 Peter 2:21-25 NIV)

Very early in the last century the book In His Steps was written. The title was taken from verse 21. The heroes and heroines in the book asked the question “What would Jesus do?” if He were in their position. Then they would guess the answer and act on the answer they guessed. The same question is now a fad among Christian adolescents, “WWJD?” The problem with the book and the fad is that they guess the answer when the answer is already given in Jesus’ examples. He did not retaliate.

“The same way” for wives is the same “same way” for husbands. Follow Jesus’ example! Notice the words for wives: “submissive,” “without words,” “behavior,” “purity,” “reverence,” “gentle and quiet spirit.” Notice the words for husbands: “considerate” and “respect.” Here the husband does the respecting. All of these words follow Jesus’ example.

These are heart words, not mouth words. A wife could physically keep her mouth shut and be screaming inside. A husband could “act” considerately, but it would be just an act. If you have the heart, “the same way” will evidence the fruit of the Spirit.

(An excerpt from On Being a Christian by Jim Wilson)

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