1 Peter 3:1-7
Likewise, you wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word…
The case supposed is one that would occur again and again while Christianity was making its way among the pagan nations. A Christian woman would find it very difficult to win over her pagan husband by direct efforts; she would be thrown back upon the silent influence of her chaste, holy, unselfish conduct and conversation; and the apostle intimates that she should expect this to be a sanctified energy which God would use to accomplish the desire of her heart. A fable is told of a mountain island of lodestone that stood up in mid-ocean, and attracted on every side the ships that sailed over the seas. As soon as ever they came within the line of its influence they were insensibly seized, gradually at first, then ever more swiftly they were drawn, until at last they dashed to destruction on the rocky coast. The Christian should be an influence for Christ on every side of his nature, seizing every barque that sails by on the ocean of life; seizing it by the power of Christian character and Christian consistency, and drawing it into the harbour of God's love and service.
I. It may be well to illustrate WHAT IS MEANT BY OUR UNCONSCIOUS INFLUENCE, and to exhibit its importance and value. As we meet together in society, how distinctly tone is recognised and felt! Beyond the influence we can exert on each other by our actions, there is the power of our very presence, an atmosphere around us which we carry with us wherever we may be. You can be a growing power, more decidedly and wholly influencing others for good, as by watchfulness and earnest culture you grow in personal religious worth.
II. Consider THE SPHERE IN WHICH THE POWER OF THIS OUR UNCONSCIOUS INFLUENCE WILL BE MOST FELT. It will be felt everywhere. It is a necessity of our being that we should exert it. It belongs to us, and flows forth from us as freely as the fragrance of the violet wherever the violet is found. Yet such influence is most felt at home. Much ought to be done by the young Christian's direct efforts for the happiness and salvation of the household; but the very freeness of life in the home makes such labour difficult, and often there are circumstances which make it impossible to speak the word. So, in your first religious Sphere, you may be thrown back upon the importance of the influence silently exerted by your character. In a home some will be dependent on you, whatever your place may be; the children, younger children, or the servants. These will be very easily affected by the tone and spirit of your life; and they will be very keen to watch for the spirit they know is in harmony with the professions you make. In another way those on whom you depend in the home will be reached by you. On the side of your submissions and obediences you will win power over them. Holy, loving children have been honoured as the means of winning their parents for Christ. And home life includes a circle of friendships; you are not called by your Christian profession to separate yourselves from such circles; but you should carry into such society a fragrance of Christian purities and charities that may ever flow out to bless those with whom you meet.
III. ON WHAT THE EFFICIENCY OF THIS INFLUENCE WILL DEPEND.
1. It will depend on our cultivation of Christian graces, and that work includes the repression of all our constitutional infirmities, whether of temper or spirit, and the mastery of all habits that are relics of our sinful states.
2. It will depend on the consistency of our Christian conduct.
3. It will depend on constancy in religious duties.
(R. Tuck, B. A.)
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;