Right now in our culture a hot topic issue is marriage. What is marriage and how do you define it? For that matter in a broader perspective, what is it to be male or female. This issue has been debated far longer. These are critical issues. In 2005 all fifty states had laws on the books against same sex marriage. In 2015 the Supreme Court declared same sex marriage legal in all fifty states. That’s a huge change in a matter of 10 short years. This is a wake up call to us as Christians committed to biblical truth. We need to be clear on what we believe and how we communicate these biblical truths. We cannot be coasting with the culture, we must be actively ‘swimming upstream’ so to speak. This last Sunday Ron was again talking about the topic of marriage and how husband and wife are to biblically relate in that context. This is so important because it deals with both marriage, and what it means to be male and female.
I’d like to just highlight a couple of things Ron said that we vitally important when it comes to understanding how to understand what Peter means in ch. 3 when he talks about submission and headship in marriage. These are things that are easily misunderstood in our culture and nation. First he talked about marriage being like dancing. Not line dancing, where everybody is just doing their own thing, but like ballroom dancing where someone is clearly leading and someone is following, and when done right two people are literally moving like one. Each knows their role and the moves, and it ends up being a beautiful demonstration of oneness, unity, grace and harmony. Of course this takes lots of practice and gets better and better over time, but in the end is worth the hard work. This is biblical marriage. Two people knowing their roles and doing them well.
But Ron also likened our roles in marriage to a play. One in which both husband and wife show up to auditions and find that they have been given the same part; each one has be given the part of Jesus to play. This week we looked at the wife’s role because that is where Peter starts in ch. 3. Jesus life was marked by submission to the Father. He said “I only do what I see the Father doing”. He wasn’t out to make his mark in the world on his own, he knew his role was to work in close tandem with the Father to accomplish salvation for all mankind. To do this he had to submit to the Father’s leadership and plan. Jesus modeled submission in the Godhead. When a woman is asked to do this in a marriage, she is doing just what Jesus did. She has influence, not primarily thru her words, but even if she never spoke a word she could sway the heart of her husband simply by her humility and example. This is how Jesus responded when he was in front of Pilate. He hardly spoke a word, but his silence was deafening, so to speak. His humility and example in the face of such injustice spoke louder that any works could have. This doesn’t mean Jesus never talked. We know he did a lot of teaching and communicating, but there was a point where Jesus stopped talking. He knew he would not ultimately influence thru words but actions. This is what the Bible is saying when a wife is to submit in marriage. She is to play this particular part of Jesus in her marriage. Its not like she will never use her words in the process of relating to her husband and fulfilling her role in the marriage, but there will come a time when what she does will have more impact than what she says. She understands her part in the dance and follows her husband, and together they move with grace, rhythm and beauty.
Our culture doesn’t get this. It’s going a completely different direction. Its line dancing! We have the opportunity to demonstrate something of God’s nature and character when we see the model and mandate God has given us in His Word and humbly seek to walk it out....no, dance it out for all the world to see. Are you coasting with the culture? Have we given in to worldly ideas of how this is supposed to look in marriage? Its so easy to do. Let’s be different. Let’s live by a biblical model that will challenge and convict a culture that is slowly...well, maybe not so slowly...going down a path that leads to brokenness and failure. What we have in beautiful, Godly, biblical marriages is a dance that, when done well by the grace of God, will demonstrate God’s grace and beauty to a confused and conflicted culture.