Today’s Reading: 1 Peter 3
The story goes that a lady approached Charles Spurgeon and told him that she felt called to the ministry. Spurgeon asked about her home and family. When he heard she had thirteen children, he exclaimed, “Well, praise God, not only has He called you to the ministry, but He’s given you a congregation as well!”
Our family is our first ministry priority.
But how do you win your family to Christ? Today’s chapter is one of the most important sections of the New Testament that gives us brilliant advice on how to win family members to Christ.
But let me first tell you what was happening in the early church. Women were getting saved faster than men. In fact, the women wrote to Paul in 1 Corinthians 7 asking if they should divorce their husbands since they were saved and their spouses were not. Paul told them, “Not so fast”:
If a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is content to live with her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been made holy by his believing wife. And the unbelieving wife has been made holy by her believing husband by virtue of his or her sacred union to a believer. Otherwise, the children from this union would be unclean, but in fact, they are holy. And wives, for all you know, you could one day lead your husband to salvation. Or husbands, how do you know for sure that you could not one day lead your wife to salvation? (1 Corinthians 7:13-16, TPT)
Wives, for all you know, you could one day lead your husband to salvation. It seems once Paul got the women to stay with the unsaved spouses, Peter stepped in. Here is the strategy he gave to win them to Christ:
In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. (1 Peter 3:1-2)
Peter’s advice to the women: stop using words; stop talking.
There comes a time when you must tell yourself; They have heard the gospel message from me. Now they must see the effects of the gospel through my life and not just through my lips.
It’s time for them to see Christ, not just hear about Christ. Preaching the gospel does not just need your voice. It is more powerful when it’s shown through the other parts of your body.
I think Peter’s words to these women are not just for ladies with unsaved husbands but for anyone with an unsaved family member whom they want to win to the Lord. I love Peter’s words: that they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives.
The way a son wins a father . . . the way a daughter wins a grandmother . . . the way a brother wins his sister . . . through behavior! They can watch the life of Christ as it comes through us in our attitudes, our commitments, and our actions.
A. W. Tozer said: “There are those rare Christians whose very presence is an incitement to you to want to be a better Christian.” I want to be that rare Christian. I think the same is true for those who are not Christians wanting to become a Christian because someone’s life inspired them.
There comes a time when doing the dishes, being home at curfew when asked, respecting the rules of the home, showing wise stewardship over the family finances, and making family a priority preaches more than if you had a preacher in the home.
Peter was giving advice not just to women but to all saved family members who live in the house with unsaved family members. The first words of verse 1 are so important: “In the same way . . .” He was referring to the verses in 1 Peter 2. The same way as . . . ?
Here is who Peter was referencing:
This is the kind of life you’ve been invited into, the kind of life Christ lived. He suffered everything that came his way so you would know that it could be done and also know how to do it, step-by-step. He never did one thing wrong, not once said anything amiss. They called him every name in the book, and he said nothing back. He suffered in silence, content to let God set things right. (1 Peter 2:21-23, MSG)
That’s his answer: In the same way that Jesus faced the cross is the way we deal with our home life with unsaved family. Our example is Jesus.
Peter said that they can call us names—church boy, holier than thou, fanatic. Even then, we must be quiet with our words and not respond or retaliate. Well, we can retaliate . . . with good behavior, being content as we wait for God to set things straight.
There’s a story about Alexander the Great, a great military general. One night during a campaign, restless and unable to sleep, he left his tent and walked around his soldiers’ campground. As he wandered around, he came across a soldier on guard duty who had fallen asleep, a very serious offense. One, in fact, that could get him killed.
The soldier awoke as Alexander the Great approached him and immediately recognized who it was.
“Do you know what the penalty is for falling asleep on guard duty?” Alexander the Great asked the soldier.
“Yes, sir,” the soldier responded, his voice quivering.
“Soldier, what’s your name?” asked Alexander the Great.
Alexander the Great repeated the question: “What is your name?”
“My name is Alexander, sir,” the soldier repeated.
A third time and more loudly, Alexander the Great asked, “What is your name?”
A third time the soldier meekly said, “My name is Alexander, sir.”
Alexander the Great looked the young man in the eye. “Soldier,” he said with intensity, “either change your name or change your conduct.”
Let our actions speak loudly of who Jesus is, so our family can see the difference.