Holy Living and Submission

The topic of Submission and the command for holy living may not be very popular these days, but this Sunday we will take a look at both, from 1 Peter 3:1-7.

  1. What have you admired about your grandparents’ marriage, or some other older couple? Think of someone who displays inner strength and beauty. What have you learned from that person?
  2. How do you define submission by wives (1 Peter 3:1)? How are husbands to live “in the same way” (1 Peter 3:7)?
  3. In a society where wives were rated among the slaves, what can you find that is progressive about Peter’s marriage principles in 1 Peter 3:1-7? This is a topic that is hard for many Americans to grasp. Note the phrase in 1 Peter 3:1, “in the same way.” How does that help us understand submission (refer back to 1 Peter 2:23)? Can it be that a wife entrusts herself to her husband in the marriage vows, submitting herself to her husband’s care? This does not allow any form of cruelty, emotional or physical abuse, since Peter’s instruction to husbands is to treat them with respect. Submission and respect go together. A husband who respects his wife cannot make her a doormat. A wife who commands respect will not allow it.
  4. What reasons did Peter give for acting according to these principles? For wives (1 Peter 3:1). How can believing wives win their unbelieving husbands to Christ? What may be difficulties spouses of unbelievers encounter? For husbands (1 Peter 3:7). That you prayers will not be hindered?
  5. Why is inner beauty precious to God? List some ways we can cultivate inner beauty.
  6. What can we learn from women, like Sarah, who lived long ago (1 Peter 3:5-6)? Key passages on Sarah include Genesis 12:1-5. Name some of the difficulties Abraham’s obedience may have caused for Sarah. She had to leave her home, her friends, her family; suffer hardship and even risk her life because her husband obeyed God.
  7. In what general ways do other people benefit when believers live holy, pure lives?

An Inspirational Thought:

The holiness we are to exhibit is not our own, but the holiness of Christ in us. We are not holy, and we will not become holy humans. Christ in us can manifest His holiness if we will yield our flesh to Him. This is not a human operation; it is a spiritual one. Jesus installs His holiness in us by grace. Not a once-for-all-time transaction, this is a daily, moment-by-moment striving to live more by the Spirit and less by the flesh.

… A friend bought his daughter a new car, but it must sit in the garage until she reaches the legal driving age. Until her sixteenth birthday she only has partial use of the car, when accompanied by an adult. Similarly, holiness is like a gift already purchased for us (by the blood of Christ), but we cannot have full use of it until a certain date in the future (our glorification).

Becoming holy is a process which includes God’s part and our part. On one hand, our part is to stay out of God’s part—to yield, to surrender, to stop seeking God on our own terms. But our part also is to obey. It is to enter His rehabilitation program.

When you put yourself under a doctor’s care, he cannot help you if you don’t follow his instructions. As the patient surrenders his own good ideas and obeys the doctor’s instruction, he becomes well. The same is true in sanctification. If you and I want to be made holy, then we must willingly surrender ourselves to His care, and we must also actively obey His instructions.

We have no more power to make ourselves holy than a dying man has to save himself. We are weak and tired, and we cannot offer much help. However, we can submit to His rehabilitation program—sanctification. The key to our part is faith—to seek Him in obedience.

(From Walking with Christ in the Details of Life by Patrick Morley)

  1. How can we demonstrate holiness with our lives? Some additional verses you may want to include are Ephesians 4:22-24 (put off the old self and put on the new self) and Paul describes what holy living looks like in Ephesians 4:25-32); 1 Timothy 2:1-4 (prayer, quiet living, godliness, dignity); Hebrews 12:14 (pursue peace, and sanctification).
  2. Why is it important to realize that becoming holy is a process, not a one-time event?
  3. What is God’s part and what is our responsibility in the sanctification process (Philippians 2:12-13)?
  4. Walking in his steps often leads to submission, and even to suffering. In spite of hardship, how might you choose this route?
  5. What is one area in the foreseeable future where you could practice Christ-like submission? And how will you do that?

If There’s Time:

  1. Why do we pay more attention to what people do than to what they say?
  2. List some ways we focus more on enhancing our outward appearance than developing our inner character.
  3. What about our lives will attract people to Christ?

More Bible passages on holy living, see Leviticus 11:44–45; 1 Corinthians 1:2, 30; 1 Thessalonians 4:3–7; 2 Timothy 1:8–9; Hebrews 10:10–14; 1 Peter 1:14–16; 2 Peter 3:11.

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