1 Peter 3:1-7
Likewise, you wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word…
Here, in the Word of life, we have fallen upon a text that deals with female attire, condemning one style of adorning, and commending another. God loves beauty of every kind, both the beauty of nature and the beauty of holiness. How do we know that? Because everything that He makes is beautiful. The works of nature are beautiful on all sides, and on all sides alike beautiful. It is not a bright exterior, and a rough ungainly interior; it is not a polished side to the public road, and a slovenly rubble wall on the shaded side. Nor is the most elaborate design or the most exquisite colour reserved for the most enduring objects. The snow crystals, and the frosted tracery on the windows, are as perfect in design and execution as the monarchs of the forest that outlast fifty human generations. Man is the chief of God's works, and enjoys most of His care. He was made most beautiful, but has disfigured himself by sin. When His best work was damaged, the Creator did not give it up, and give it over. He framed a plan to restore. He desires to have His own image renewed. A man of feeble intellect, in the north of Scotland, was wont, like most of his class, to be very slovenly in his appearance. To this weakling the gospel of Christ came in power. He accepted God's covenant love, and found himself a child of the family. Soon after this change the minister met him on a Sabbath morning, and was struck with his unwonted cleanness, and the efforts he had made in his own fashion to ornament his person. Accosting him kindly, the minister said, "You are braw today, Sandy." "He was braw Himsel' the day," replied Sandy reverently; meaning that Jesus, when He rose from the grave on the first day of the week, was arrayed in the Divine glory and the beauty of holiness. The Lord on high, who rejoices to receive the little ones, would, methinks, be pleased to see Sandy's Sunday clothes, and to hear Sandy's simple answer. Peter in this text undertakes to tell how the uncomely may be rendered beautiful. Here is the true adorning; and it is for us, for all. Still deeper goes the apostle's thought when he arrives at the details of the recommended ornaments. "Not that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel"; — what then? "Let it be the hidden man of the heart." There is a whole Christ in every disciple who lives up to his privileges, as there is a whole sun in the cup of every flower that opens to his shining. When this ornament is worn in the heart within, its beauty is seen on the outward life. In general, a likeness of Christ is in the life of a Christian; and, in particular, "a meek and quiet spirit." When, in the processes of art, a new and beautiful colour is about to be transferred to a fabric, the hardest portion of the task sometimes is to discharge the dyes that are already there. A terrible process of scalding must be applied to take out the old ere you can successfully impart the new. In like manner, the anger and pride and selfishness that have first possession present the greatest obstacle to the infusion of a meek and gentle spirit into a man. If there be a royal, there is certainly no easy, road to this consummation. It is a striking, bold, and original conception, to propose that an ornament should be hidden in the heart. Ordinarily, we understand that an ornament, from its very nature, must be worn in a conspicuous position. When it is hidden, how useful and valuable soever it may be, it ceases to be an adorning. But in the spiritual sphere the law is reversed. Meekness is spoiled when it is set up for show. This ornament, moreover, is incorruptible. This epithet is peculiarly relevant. With the exception of the metals and minerals, ornaments are, for the most part, perishable commodities. Rain soils them; the sun burns their beauty out, In the accidents of life they are worn or torn, or stolen or lost. The rose and lily that bloom on the cheek are not perennial; the wrinkles of age are creeping on to drive them off and take their place. All these adornings are corruptible. This text recommends one that will never fade. Age makes it mellower, but not less sweet. As it is not a colour of the decaying body, but a grace of the immortal spirit, it will pass unharmed through the dark valley, and bloom in greater beauty on the other side. It will make the ransomed from among men very comely in the eyes of angels, when they stand together round the throne, and serve their common Lord. One grand concern with buyers is to obtain garments that will last — garments whose fabric will not waste, and whose colours will not fade. Yet another quality is noticed of the recommended adorning — it is costly. In the sight of God, and of the godly, it is "of great price." In the market of the world, alas! we, like inexperienced children, are often cheated. We pay a great price for that which is of no value. We are often caught by the glitter, and accept a base metal for gold. He who counts this ornament precious knows its worth. The righteousness of the saints is dear to God in a double sense. It is both beloved and costly.
Parallel VersesKJV: Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;