Influence, Intercession, and Inheritance in Marriage

July 10, 2013 at 10:02 am | Posted in Biblical Marriage | 4 Comments
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In the last lesson we looked at two of the duties of Christian spouses:

I. Duty to Inhabit
II. Duty to Investigate

Now we will see the:

III. Duty to Influence

Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands…

I Peter 3:1

“Be in subjection” means to be voluntarily submissive – to recognize and honor the husband’s God-ordained headship, to be a loving follower and supporter.

“Likewise” refers back to the previous chapter:

For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

I Peter 2:25

It would be foolish for sheep to rebel against their shepherd, just as it is foolish when Christians rebel against Christ. The shepherd is responsible for the care and protection of the sheep.

Husbands also have a duty here:

Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel,

I Peter 3:7

A precious vase is not despised for its weakness. Rather, it is treasured and cherished both for its value (wives are practical and important “helpers”) and for its preciousness (your God-chosen wife is a singular rarity). Husbands are supposed to protect their wives, and to realize their worth before God and to themselves. Husbands must also remember that their wives are “vessels:” containers that Jesus purchased with His blood and filled with His Spirit.

IV. Duty to Intercede

Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

I Peter 3:7 (emphasis added)

There is an obvious duty for husbands to pray for their wives, and for wives to pray for their husbands, but there are at least three possible meanings to that part of the verse. It could be envisioning a scenario where the husband is not fulfilling his duties to inhabit the marriage relationship, or to investigate and influence his wife, so that his own prayers are being hindered. It could also mean that the husband is not honoring his wife and treating her right, and that, therefore, “their” (both of them) prayers for each other and their marriage are hindered. Finally, it might mean that there is bitterness between the spouses because of the husband’s behavior, and therefore it is too uncomfortable for them to pray together. In other words, the prayer time itself is hindered. I think application can be made for all three. The Greek word translated as “hindered” means to cut off or hew down – the way you would hack down a tree that is producing bad fruit and throw it in the burn pile. The word translated “prayers” is pretty generic, but we know that in marriage the husband represents Christ and the wife represents the Church. When Christ prays for the Church He “intercedes.” He goes on our behalf and pleads our cause and presents Himself as not only our Advocate but our Substitute. Therefore, as husbands and wives pray with each other, they should also pray for each other, making intercession before the throne of God as representatives of the relationship which God joined together.

V. Duty to Inherit

Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

I Peter 3:7 (emphasis added)

God grants a special grace to married people to enjoy life together. It is an “extra inheritance,” and because marriage is a lifelong commitment and union, the grace is for all of life: memories, children, conversations, physical intimacy, shared secrets, trust, appreciation, peace and joy in the household. But we have a duty to accept the inheritance. We must cultivate it, and not waste it in “far countries” like the prodigal son. Spouses are joint heirs – no more “yours, mine, and ours.” In marriage it’s all “ours:” from money to moments to ministry – if you are married these things bring great joy when shared and cause complications when hoarded away from each other.

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