Tag Archives: peter

When you start to change and your friends don’t like it

30 Aug

Photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash

Have you ever gone through a life change, and that change affected your friendships?

You know who your real friends are when you start changing.

Perhaps you believe new things, or maybe you have shed a long-held belief, and your friends are pushing back.  It could be that you have stopped doing something that you and your friends regularly enjoyed, and they are disappointed, even angry with you.

As Peter continues teaching in 1 Peter 4:1-6, he describes how the people he is writing to started following the way of Jesus, and as they moved away from the self-destructive patterns of their old friends, those old friends were not happy.  In fact, Peter says in verse 4, “they heap abuse you.”

“Abuse” is actually the word “blaspheme”, which means “to speak against someone in such a way as to harm or injure his or her reputation.” (Louw & Nida)

What Peter is describing could be the persecution those early Christians were facing.

So Peter goes on in verses 5-6 saying that those old friends will have to give account to God for their behavior. Then Peter makes a most interesting statement.  He says this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead.  Wait?  What?  The gospel is preached to dead people?

No.  Not at all.

Let’s examine this a bit further.

Peter uses the specific words, “preach the gospel.”  What is this gospel?  Gospel is simply a word that means “good news.” What good news?  Last week we looked at how Peter described the good news in 3:18 when he said that Jesus died for our sin, to bring us to God.  That is some good news, that people who are separated from God can now be with him.

But that is not the only good news in The Good News.  God’s good news is that he is doing a work of rectification, which is a big fancy word that means “making things right.”  God wants to set things right in the world.

As Peter has been teaching in this passage, God wants things to be right in our lives.  God wants us to move away from self-destructive sinful desires, and pursue his new way.

God’s Good News is not just a transformation of individual people.  God also wants to set the world right.  And so his good news is good news for all people, all creation.  Where there is injustice of all kinds, God wants to set things right.

That good news is what Peter says, “was preached to those who are now dead.”  “Was preached” is something that happened in the past.  Peter is talking about a preaching that occurred in the past.  Not present preaching, not future preaching.  Also, the word “now” is not in the Greek.  That has been added to help us understand the intent of Peter’s flow of thought.  He is talking about preaching that happened in the past, and some of the people who heard that preaching have now passed away.  They were alive when they heard the preaching.  They are dead now.  More than likely they had become Christians while they were still living, after they heard the preaching.

What does this all mean for those Christians reading this letter who are still alive and facing abuse from their friends?  While they faced criticism when they stopped their wild living and chose to follow the way of Christ, they can take great comfort that they are now living according to God’s way.

It is precisely at this juncture that some Christians have misunderstood what it means to live according to God’s way in our lives now.

I will never forget my visit to the Ephrata Cloister.  They wanted to remove themselves from the world, so they could not be negatively impacted by it.  It seemed like they wanted to live God’s way.  Except that Jesus specifically prayed in John 17 that God would not remove his followers from the world, but that God would keep them safe in the midst of it.

God doesn’t want us to escape from the world.  We can obey God while still living in the world.  The issue is not so much about figuring out what God’s will is for the myriad choices of living in the world.  Such as, can followers of Jesus watch movies or TV shows or play video games with certain ratings?  Can followers of Jesus wear certain kinds of swimwear?

Instead Peter is saying, start from a place where you stop indulging in evil human desires, and start following God’s desires for your life!

Certainly there are times when a follower of Jesus needs to stop or decrease a friendship because that friendship is a negative influence that the follower of Jesus cannot handle.  But in most cases, we followers of Jesus can stop indulging in evil human desires while at the same time maintaining genuine friendships with people who are not following Jesus.

So as we think about what Peter has talked about in 1 Peter 4:1-6, how about you?  Do you love God?

Are you living according to human desires, or according to God’s desires?

Have you armed yourself with the same attitude as Jesus, that no matter what goes on in your life, you are committed to do the will of God!

If you are like most of us, you have some of both.  You want to obey God, but you also find yourself giving in to evil human desires sometimes as well.

What patterns or habits do you need to change in order to live a life that is line with the way of God?

I encourage you to do what has often been called “soul-searching”.  Today is the day, Peter is saying, for us to stop or to begin to learn to stop following evil human desires, and today is the day to start growing our love for God that we might follow his desires for our lives.  He wants to change us into people that are different, and that might be hard for some of our friends and family to accept.  But God wants to change us into people that obey his desires for our lives, and that is the best way to live.

Christians, has Jesus transformed your life? Here’s how you can tell.

29 Aug

Photo by Matt Botsford on Unsplash

A question for any of you who consider yourselves Christians, followers of Jesus: would you say that Jesus has transformed your life?

Yesterday we saw that Jesus transformed Peter’s life.

It wouldn’t surprise me if Peter has that memory in mind as he continues his teaching in 1 Peter 4:1-6.  In verse 3 he builds on what he has already said in verses 1-2.  To review, Peter has taught that through suffering you are learning to be done with sin.  He says that Christians can choose to no longer live for evil human desires, and thus live for God’s desires, for God’s will.

Now in verse 3, I hear Peter saying: “Frankly, don’t you think you have lived a really sinful life long enough?”  In other words he is saying to them, “You have spent enough time in the past following evil human desires.  Keep following Jesus.”

Peter wants them to take a step back and review their life.  Apparently some of them had really lived it up in the past.  What Peter describes here is some risky behavior.  There is no self-control in this.

The scholars tell us Peter is referring to “drinking parties involving unrestrained indulgence in alcoholic beverages and accompanying immoral behavior.” (Louw & Nida) This is out of control stuff where you are risking your health on a regular basis.  In 2018, it would like getting high on heroine, sleeping around with anyone, getting drunk on a regular basis, and then driving vehicles drunk.  It is very selfish, wasteful, and irresponsible.

Maybe you’ve experienced some of that lifestyle yourself.  Maybe you know people who have.  Maybe your sinful behavior was rebellion in other ways.  Maybe there is some rebellion still going on in your life?

In what area of your life are you lacking self-control?  Is it your mind, mouth, attitude, money, time spent on TV, social media, video games, food, and you know God would say, “Follow me”?

Peter is saying to these Christians and to us that it is time to be done with that old life.

And that is exactly what happened!  Look at verse 4.

Peter reviews their spiritual story.  There was a change.  The people who were formerly partying it up had made a change. They had started following Christ, and they are living the new way of his Kingdom, or at least they are trying to.  The way of Christ is a way of self-control.  Think fruit of the Spirit growing in you and flowing through you.  Love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control.  The new way is exact opposite of the way they used to be.  Where there was lust, there is now love.  Where there was anger and rage, there is now joy, peace, and gentleness, kindness.  Where there was rebellion and fighting, there is now patience and self-control.

Peter is talking to people who actually went through these changes.  So why would he need to warn them, if they had already made the change?

It could be that Peter knows how difficult persecution can be.  Especially when your friends are involved.  And that’s what we we’re going to talk about tomorrow.

The one crucial step that must come before doing God’s will

28 Aug

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

What is the will of God?

Yesterday we looked at the surprising weapon Christians are to arm themselves with: the attitude of Jesus, which was an attitude of following the will of God for his life no matter what.  As we continue studying 1 Peter 4:1-6, Peter goes on to say in verse 2 that we Christians will no longer live for evil human desires, but rather we live for the will of God.

What is the will of God?

Here is what the will of God is not: Peter is not talking about some special plan that God has for our future.

Very simply, living for God’s will is doing what God says.  Another great word for this is obedience.  We followers of Jesus are committed to obeying God, and Peter says that means that we no longer obey evil human desires.  What are evil human desires?

Another way to translate the words “evil human desires” is the word “lust.”  The scholars tell us that the word Peter used means “to strongly desire to have what belongs to someone else, and/or to engage in an activity which is morally wrong.” (Louw & Nida)

When you put verses 1 and 2 together, Peter is saying that through the suffering he mentioned in verse 1, disciples of Jesus are no longer living for selfish human desires, but we are to live for the will of God, which means we obey his desire for our lives.

This the key to living as followers of Jesus: we live to obey the will of God! To obey God’s desires.

To understand this further, Peter uses the word “Flesh” multiple times in these few verses.  In the NIV you see it as the word “body” and as “earthly life”.  What Peter is talking about is that there are so many desires that our flesh has.  But so far in verses 1-2 Peter has been saying that when we experience suffering in our flesh, it really puts things into perspective, and sinful desires pale in comparison.  Thus followers of Jesus make it our focus to live according to God’s will and desires for us.

Let’s talk more about living for God’s will.  It is such a foundational concept to Christianity.

But how to we follow God’s will?  It can feel a bit forced.  Peter is saying, “Do God’s will.” Or, “Just obey.” Is that all there is to it?  Just obey.  Can we just choose to obey?  Is it that easy?

Maybe you have a personality where if God says it, then you are good to go with obeying it, period.  No questions.  You are okay with it.  And you genuinely seek to obey.

But there are others of you who have a different personality or approach.  You hear, “do God’s will,” and you know that it is a good thing, but you are wondering, why should we obey God?  Or is that all there is to it? Is there a reason for it? Can’t God tell us more about this?

I would suggest that there is more.  And that Peter knows there is more.  And that Jesus taught that there is more.  And this is what is more: obeying God’s will is intended to flow from a heart of love for God.

When we love someone, we are inclined to respect them, serve them, treat them well, help them.  God doesn’t want us to obey him begrudgingly because he is the supreme power of the universe, and we are his creatures.  As if God is some dictator.  Or a master with slaves.  God wants us to do his will out of love for him. He wants to be in a real loving relationship with us.

I wonder, do you love him?

Of course we would say “yes” to that.  But perhaps we say, “Yes, I love God” too quickly, without examining our hearts and minds.

I use some phone apps to guide me in reading scripture and praying.  One is from the Book of Common Prayer, and it has morning, evening and night prayer services that you can read through and pray.  It includes plenty of Scripture and the Lord’s Prayer, other written prayers, spaces for silence and your own prayer requests as well.  One of the written prayers that is in there every single day always gets me thinking:

“As we rejoice in the gift of this new day, so may the light of your presence, O God, set our hearts on fire with love for you, now and forever, amen.”

And then yesterday, another app I use had this prayer,

“Dear Lord, instill in my heart the desire to know and love you more.”

In a week when I was thinking about a passage that emphasizes obeying God, these two prayers hit me hard.  Do I love God?  Of course, I love God.  But really, do I love God?

I thought of Peter, not long after Jesus was arrested and taken away.  That evening, Peter is following from a distance, watching, fear rising in his heart, as they put Jesus on trial.  Then Peter is spotted, and pointed out as one who had been with Jesus.  Peter allows fear to overtake him, and he denies knowing Jesus, once, twice, three times.  Vehemently Peter denies knowing Jesus.

Then the rooster crows, and Jesus looks out across the way, locking eyes with Peter.  Peter, who had only hours before made bold claims about dying for Jesus, now has denied him. He flees the scene, weeping bitter tears.  But a few days later, Jesus rises from the dead, and Peter is a changed man.

Jesus reinstates him, saying Peter, “Do you love me?”  Three times, one for each denial.  And each time Peter says “I love you.”

This is a different Peter now.  Having acted out of fear instead of love, Peter is now set on a trajectory of loving Jesus that will carry on for the rest of his life.

Jesus transformed his life. Jesus wants to do the same in your life.  He wants to restore a loving relationship between you and him.  He is not a taskmaster forcing you to do his will.  Instead, he wants you to know, out of mutual love for one another, that loving him leads to obeying him which is the best possible way to live.

A story about what happens after people die

6 Aug

Photo by Ashim d’Silva on Unsplash

What happens after a person dies?  My uncle recently sent me this story, author unknown, that tries to answer that question.

On the outskirts of a small town, there was a big old pecan tree just inside the cemetery fence. One day, two boys filled up a bucketful of nuts and sat down by the tree, out of sight, and began dividing the nuts.

‘One for you, one for me, one for you, one for me,’ said one boy.  Several dropped and rolled down toward the fence.

Another boy came riding along the road on his bicycle. As he passed, he thought he heard voices from inside the cemetery, so he slowed down to investigate. Sure enough, he heard, ‘One for you, one for me, one for you, one for me…’

He just knew what it was. He jumped back on his bike and rode off. Just around the bend he met an old man with a cane, hobbling along.

‘Come here quick,’ said the boy, ‘you won’t believe what I heard! Satan and the Lord are down at the cemetery dividing up the souls!’

The man said, ‘Beat it kid, can’t you see it’s hard for me to walk?’ When the boy insisted though, the man hobbled slowly to the cemetery.

Standing by the fence they heard, ‘One for you, one for me.  One for you, one for me.’

The old man whispered, ‘Boy, you’ve been tellin’ me the truth.  Let’s see if we can see the Lord!

Shaking with fear, they peered through the fence, yet were still unable to see anything. The old man and the boy gripped the wrought iron bars of the fence tighter and tighter as they tried to get a glimpse of the Lord.

At last they heard, ‘One for you, one for me. That’s all.  Now let’s go get those nuts by the fence and we’ll be done.’

They say the old man had the lead for a good half-mile before the kid on the bike passed him.

That boy and the old man had a very interesting view of God and what happens after people die!

While we might take issue with their theology, we can agree with them that something does after to people after they die.  We believe that there is an eternal destiny for all.

Therefore, a significant element of the mission of God’s Kingdom has been that Christians tell the story of hope that we have because of what Jesus has done for us.  We don’t have to look at life beyond the grave with fear because we have hope in Christ.  Additionally, Jesus said that the hope we have in him matters before we die.  We believe that becoming a disciple, a follower of Jesus, gives us hope for eternal life after death, and gives us hope for best possible way to live now.  We believe that God is preparing a place for us in heaven, and he is seeking to transform society now!  Eternal life in heaven, abundant life on earth.  That’s how we summarize this amazing Kingdom of God.

As Peter continues teaching the Christians in the Roman Empire around the year 65 AD, he now teaches them about how to live out this mission of God’s Kingdom among people who might be antagonistic or atheistic, agnostic or apathetic.

So please read 1 Peter 3:13-17.  This week we’re going to see how Peter instructs Christians to talk about this hope they have.

Why I am not a fan of eulogies (but why they are surprising important for church families)

30 Jul

Photo by Rhodi Alers de Lopez on Unsplash

I am not a fan of eulogies.  I’ve told you before that one of the aspects of being a pastor that I was definitely not prepared for was death.  It affects me.  Some pastors tell me they love funerals, and can’t stand weddings.  I’m the exact opposite. I love weddings.  Funerals, though?  No.  I’m just not a fan.  Of course I officiate funerals, and I hope I do well.  I believe they are a very important event for the family and friends of the deceased.  Grieving is important.  Thinking about matters of life after death is important. And almost always a funeral includes a eulogy.  You know that speech that tells the history of the person who died, praising that person?

I have given numerous eulogies over the years, and many times I don’t like them.  It’s not just the fact that we are talking about dead person, which can be depressing.  It is that so often in eulogies we straight up tell lies.  Most often the family wants you to tell a totally positive story about the deceased, even if everyone knows the deceased had numerous, even glaring faults.

This week as we continue our study through1st Peter, I was shocked to learn something brand new about eulogies.  We’ll be looking at 1 Peter 3:8-12 all week.  Read it for yourself.

One phrase I want you to listen for is: if people insult you, eulogize them!  What could Peter mean by that?  Oh, you don’t see that phrase in there?  I promise, it’s there!  I’ll show you this week!  What’s even more important than finding that phrase is what it means and how we can apply it to our relationships in the church family.

Peter says in Verse 8 “Finally” and by that he means “here is the end of the matter”, or “let me sum up what I am talking about.”  For a few weeks now Peter has been talking about many different relationships that Christians experienced in his day.  If you want, you can review the posts and you’ll see that Peter talked about the following:

  • How Christians should relate to governing authorities.
  • How Christian slaves should relate to their masters…even mean ones.
  • How husbands and wives should relate to one another.

Peter taught a common principle that Christians should apply to all these relationships: submission.  That’s not a very popular idea in our era, but as we saw, Peter was teaching Christians to submit first and foremost to God and the mission of his Kingdom.  If you want to learn the specifics of what Peter said about each of those other relationships, feel free to scan back through previous posts.

What we see today in verse 8 is that he is now bringing his thoughts to a close.  This week Peter is going to talk about how people in a church family should treat one another.  As I said above, he is going to say, “If someone insults you, eulogize ’em.”  Next week, Peter changes the focus to how Christians should relate to people outside their church family.

So his “finally”, his concluding remarks will cover the next few weeks.  As he goes on in verse 8, notice that he says, “all of you” and begins listing adjectives.  He is saying “Church…Christians…every single one of you, let me describe what you should be.  Then he lists five adjectives that should define Christian relationships in a church family.  What adjectives do you think should define a church family?  Tomorrow we’ll look at the first one.  And I promise…the surprising thing I learned about eulogy is coming later this week!


The Christian teaching about marriage that was radical (and will certainly enhance your marriage)

27 Jul

Photo by Andrew Itaga on Unsplash

Remember your wedding day?  (Or maybe you are looking forward to it?)  It is an amazing day, filled with crazy, happy, anxiety and joy as you publicly vow to love your spouse for life.  The road before you seems clear and straight and free from any surprises or trouble.

But before you know it, five years, or 10 or 20 have gone by and all those feelings you felt on your wedding day seem like a distant impossible memory.

If you are experiencing difficulty in marriage, know that you are quite normal.  Not that the difficulty is good.  Most times struggle and pain can lead to very good things like growth, maturity, and spiritual depth.  (Check out this excellent podcast episode on Youth Culture Matters to learn more about that.)  In marriage, when a couple is struggling, it is important to work through the struggle.  I am convinced that the earliest Christians were teaching some radical things about marriage in their day.  This radical teaching just might be the key to help you solve struggles in your marriage.

All week we have been looking at 1 Peter 3:1-7 where Peter has been talking on the roles that husbands and wives have in marriage.  Today we get to verse 7 where Peter says something radical to the husbands.  What is this crazy, wild teaching?  It starts when Peter says: “In the same way.” In the same way?  Huh?  How is that radical?  Let me try to explain.

“Husbands,” he says, “in the same way…”  Whatever he is about to say next, he is couching it alongside what he already said to the wives.  He wants the husbands to understand that they need to see a sameness with what he has been teaching their wives.  Just as we saw yesterday when we talked about the trajectory of this passage, Peter is once again laying a foundation for equality in marriage.  There is to be a sameness between husbands and wives.  That alone was unexpected, but he has more surprising things to say to the husbands.

He says, “be considerate with your wives and treat them with respect.”

Husbands treating their wives with consideration and respect is radical.  This would have been totally counter-cultural for the Roman Empire in 65AD.  In an earlier post this week we noted that it was common in both Jewish and Roman culture for men to see their wives as beneath them, even sometimes to the point of seeing their wives as possessions.  Into that patriarchal mindset Peter says, instead, that husbands are to be consider and respectful.  It is teaching that husbands need to hear for their spouses still today.

But as you read the passage, you might question what Peter says next.  He says, “treat [your wives] with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life…”

I think there is a very valid question we could ask: “Well if Peter is being so radical, why does he call the wives ‘weaker partners’?  ‘Weaker’ is so condescending and diminutive.  That sounds like Christian teaching that is promoting chauvinism, not setting a trajectory for equality.”  Very good question.

We might wince at the word “weaker” in 2018, but you need to understand that “weaker” was assumed by every single male in that audience.  That was the prevailing idea.  No one would have questioned that.  But the words “partner” and “heirs” would have raised eyebrows.  The men in the church would have had a really hard time with that, because Peter was clearly putting their wives on the same playing field as the husbands.  This is equality language, and therefore Peter was laying the groundwork, a trajectory, that for Christians means marriage can and should be approached with equality.

And notice the final phrase.  “So that nothing will hinder your prayers.”  That’s powerful. Peter is saying, Husbands, if you don’t treat your wives right, your prayers could be hindered!  Wow.  You want God to hear your prayer, right?  Treat your wives considerately, with respect, as partners and heirs.  We in 2018 need to see how dramatically radical this would have been for men, even Christian men, to hear in 65 AD.

So now is the day to decide what kind of husband and what kind of wife you will be.

First and foremost, make the mission of God your priority.  If you have an unbelieving spouse, win them without words, but with godly behavior.  You might need to stop preaching and start praying.  You might need to stop inviting them to church, and start serving them love right in your house.

Second, remember where true beauty is found.  Not outwardly, but by placing your hope in God and allowing him to transform your spirit.  No matter what you look like on the outside, you are beautiful or handsome or attractive when his fruit of the Spirit flows out of you.  Love, Joy Peace Patience Gentleness Kindness and Self-control.  These are vital for a healthy marriage.  Get the Fruit of the Spirit.  Pray for it.  Work at it.  See help, a mentor, a counselor.  At all costs, get the Fruit of the Spirit.

Third, love and respect and practice kindness and consideration to your spouse.  Wives to husbands and husbands to wives.  Clearly for Peter the issue is not who gets to be the head honcho in the house.  The issue is “make the mission of God your priority, and the best way to do that in marriage is to be a loving spouse.”

I started this week talking about Fred Flintstone’s caveman mentality that “a woman’s place is in the home.”  You can read that post here.  He seems like the classic male chauvinist.  But maybe even Fred Flintstone had a change.  Take a look:

So whether you are a husband or a wife, be loving, sacrificial, kind and considerate to your spouse!

Why trajectory is vital to understanding the marital submission passage in 1 Peter 3:1-7

26 Jul

Rocket launches have been all the rage recently, with private companies getting in the new space race.  I have always been fascinated with space shuttles and astronauts, and thus love watching the blast-offs!  A nighttime launch with is fire trail is especially amazing.  See the trajectory?

All week long we have been studying a controversial passage of Scripture, 1 Peter 3:1-7.  I’m convinced that the concept of trajectory is vital to understanding this passage.  Not rocket trajectory, but a missional trajectory.  What is missional trajectory?  Keep reading and I’ll explain.

In this passage we have seen Peter teaching about marriage roles.  Already this week, we have looked at verses 1-6.  You might want to read those posts first to see where we are headed…our trajectory!  Now as we continue in verse 6, Peter remarks that holy women of old were submissive to their husbands like Sarah, the matriarch of the Old Testament, who apparently even called her husband “master”.

Peter encourages these Christian women living in 65 AD in the Roman Empire to be submissive to their husbands like that.  Notice what he says in verse 6.  Those women will be like Sarah’s daughters if they do what is right and do not give way to fear.  Those are two interesting phrases.  Do what is right and do not give way to fear.

Why would he say, “do not give way to fear”?  It means that they can trust in God, put their hope in God, and submit. They don’t need to be afraid to submit.

For those of us hearing this with 2018 American ears, it can be very difficult, to hear this passage like those in the Roman Empire in 65 AD would have heard it.  Our cultural situation is vastly different.  We live in a society where there is a strong movement toward equality.  We are not there yet.   We still live in a patriarchal culture.  But in the last 100 years, our society has moved towards equality.  There are loads of jobs where women are paid less than men for the same job, for example.  We could go on and on about the many ways that our society is not equal.

But where we have made progress is in the area of marriage.  Men, most often, do not look at their wives as property.  As animals.  Instead men generally look at their wives in a much more equal way.  Of course there are still in our culture many different perspectives on the roles husbands and wives should have to maintain a healthy, godly marriage.

There is nothing wrong with having roles in a marriage relationship.  In our culture, it used to be that the man worked full-time, fixed the car and house, and did yard work.  The wife would stay home, cook and clean, and raise the kids.  But nowadays our culture has changed.  The man might want to cook, and they both might have jobs, and the wife might be the better mechanic.  What Michelle and I say to couples in premarital counseling is that each spouse needs to figure out which roles work for them.

Why?  Trajectory.  What do I mean by “trajectory”?  What I mean is that Jesus and the disciples were putting in motion a new way that had a trajectory.  In their day, they had to work within the existing cultural assumptions, but set a trajectory for a new way.

You know the Lord’s Prayer?  You know the line where Jesus prays to God asking God that “his will would be done and his Kingdom would come on earth as it is in heaven.”  Jesus says that he wants his Kingdom to come on earth now, as it already is in heaven.  How is it in now heaven?  We read in many places in the New Testament that in God’s eyes men and women are totally equal, and Jesus once said that there is no marriage in heaven.  Before God, then, there is no difference between men and women, as we are completely equal in God’s eyes.  That equality, therefore, is the goal, the trajectory.  This is the same theological argument that is used to stop slavery.  In God’s eyes there is neither slave, nor free, and thus because we Christians are committed to ushering in the Kingdom of God now, we pursue a society in which slavery is eradicated.  In the same way, in God’s eyes there is neither male nor female, and thus because we Christians are committed to ushering in the Kingdom of God now, we pursue a society in which marriage roles are equal.  That is trajectory.

This trajectory has significant practical implications for a healthy marriage.  Because husbands and wives are equal, how should we have a healthy marital relationship?  In all relationships, and especially in the marriage relationship, we need to practice sacrificial leadership.

Did you ever notice how in most relationships one person thinks they are the sacrificial one?  You know how it goes, right?  One person thinks they are serving, helping, cleaning, doing so much, while the other person has been lazy, not helping, not communicating, etc.

And what is the other person thinking?  At the same time they are thinking that they are the sacrificial one.

When we are talking about sacrificing for one another in marriage, it is crucial to remind spouses not to mistake being sacrificial for taking abuse.  Peter is not saying to wives, if you are under a tyrannical husband, you need to continue being abused, as if that would somehow advance the cause of Jesus.  No way.  If you are being abused, get safe.  Same thing, husbands, if you are being abused.  Get safe.

Instead the teaching Peter gives, as we will see tomorrow, when he talks with husbands, is one that should eradicate abuse in Christian marriage.  For today, we focus on trajectory, seeing the biblical teaching of submission as one that was vital for Christian marriage in the First Century Roman Empire, while at the same time setting a trajectory for mutual submission in the future.