The influence of a godly woman is not to be underestimated. Peter makes that point in 1 Peter 3, a chapter we’ve been focused on recently. We looked at 1 Peter 3:3 and asked, “How much jewelry is too much jewelry?” That was last time, on Monday, in APJ 1834. Earlier we looked at 1 Peter 3:1–2, two verses about the husband-wife relationship and how a wife responds to her husband’s ongoing sin patterns. That was APJ 1830. And we are back to this theme of a godly woman’s influence, especially on her husband, in 1 Peter 3:3–4. There’s a connection in this verse between a wife’s jewelry and her influence on her husband — an interesting connection made by Peter in his epistle and pointed out briefly by Pastor John in Monday’s episode. It’s a point expanded on in a sermon clip from a 1986 sermon by John Piper. Here he is.
You remember what it says of Sarah in Hebrews 11? Hebrews 11 begins with a definition of faith. “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for” (Hebrews 11:1), and all you see through chapter 11 are heroes and heroines who hope in God. For example, “By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised” (Hebrews 11:11).
In other words, we learn from Sarah that women who are holy look away from the frustrations, the miseries, the tragedies, the obstacles of joy in this life to God. They reckon him faithful and sovereign and powerful and loving and kind and unfailing in his promises, and they strengthen their soul with hope and pick up and go on — dirty diapers and all, loss of a husband, divorce. They go on because they hope in God.
“Holy women hope in God and allow no terror to immobilize them in their duties.”
Not only that, but they are freed from something that tends to make life miserable. Look at the end of 1 Peter 3:6: “And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.” Do you want to be a daughter of Sarah? Hope in God, and allow that hope to drive fear out. Holy women aren’t afraid of things, except one — displeasing God. Or let’s not overstate the case; let’s be accurate and realistic. Let’s say it this way: holy women, who hope in God when fears and anxieties rise, make war on those fears with the weapon of the word until they drive it out, have hope filling them, and thus gain strength to get on with life. That’s number one in this text. Holy women hope in God and allow no terror to immobilize them in their duties.
Second, this hope in God results in a kind of clothing within. First Peter 3:5 says, “For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves.” And the adornment is referring back to 1 Peter 3:3–4. Let’s read it. Here’s the description of the garment within:
Do not let your adorning be external — the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear — but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.
Now, why did Peter bring up the issue of clothes and hairstyles and jewelry? It doesn’t seem to fit. Let me try to show you why I think he brought it up. I think verses 1 and 2 give us the clue that explains why he brings it up. He has in mind not only Christian wives of Christian husbands but Christian wives of non-Christian husbands. And he says to them, “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.”
“The world can tell you how to attract men to yourself. Only the Scriptures can tell you how to attract men to God.”
Now, it’s Peter’s desire that Christian wives live in such a way that unbelieving husbands will be persuaded that God is real. Isn’t that an awesome challenge — to so live that the conscience of an unbelieving husband will be stricken with guilt, the reality of God will shine, and he will embrace her God? It’s an awesome call for this woman to influence her husband. But he warns them, “Don’t preach at him.” You see that. He says, “without a word.” That’s a warning to the wives. Watch out, lest you drive him away by nagging him about religion.
I think verses 3 and 4 are another warning for how not to try to win an unbelieving husband; namely, don’t try to do it with trendy hairstyles, a better tan, delicate jewelry, and clinging robes. You might attract him to the bedroom — and there’s nothing wrong with that — but you won’t attract him to God. And if your goal is to attract him or anybody to God, it’s got to be from within. The world can tell you how to attract men to yourself. Only the Scriptures can tell you how to attract men to God. And let me insert here for the single women that your hope ought to be in God, not in getting a husband, because the only husband worth getting is one who wants to play second fiddle in your life.