Enduring Beauty

Enduring Beauty

Pastor Don Carpenter / General

Not From Around Here: The Complicated Life of a Sojourner / Beauty; Submission / 1 Peter 3:3–6

A few years ago when a pastor lived in Poland we were at a local museum which had a beautiful sculpture of Mary holding Jesus. For years it stood on a street corner before the city decided to clean it up and restore it. Up to that point no one thought it was anything special but as they began to work on it the restorers discovered that it had been repainted 27 times and under those many layers was discovered a priceless masterpiece from the middle ages. The paint had covered its beauty.

Last week we saw that wives can win over disobedient husbands not by their nagging, but by their submissive lifestyle. Tonight we will discuss the other way that ladies win over men, their beauty.

It has been said that beauty is skin deep but ugly goes right to the bone. Tonight we will discover the kind of lasting beauty that wins hearts and does not fade away with age or familiarity.

True Beauty Does Not Focus Appearance.

1 Peter 3:3 KJV
Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;

The word “adornment” is the translation of the Greek word kosmos (??????) which was used in classical Greek to refer to the adornment or the ornaments worn by women. The word in itself refers to an ordered system, namely, a system where order prevails. The word in the Greek opposite in meaning to kosmos (??????) is chaos (????), which comes into English in the word “chaos,” and which means “a rude unformed mass.” Kosmos (??????) is used in the New Testament to refer to the original, perfect creation, a system where order prevailed. Here the word refers to the adornment of the woman, and the genius of the word speaks of the fact that that adornment should be that which is fitting, congruous, not diverse from one’s character. That is, the adornment of the Christian woman should be in keeping with what she is as a Christian.

• This does not forbid hairstyles, jewelry, or fashion, it warns about focusing on such things.

Oftentimes under silken apparel, there is a threadbare soul.—Thomas Watson

True Beauty Starts on the Inside.

1 Peter 3:4 KJV
But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

Peter, however, is not simply interested in telling women what not to pay attention to. His focus is positive: Virtue is one garment that any Christian woman can wear with pride. It is the “hidden inner self” that bears the Christian character and expresses itself through the body. This awkward expression (hence the number of ways it is translated) comes close to the atmosphere of some sayings of Jesus (Matt. 15:8, 18; cf. the stress on the hidden, Matt. 6:3–4), as well as Paul’s inner man-outer man distinction (Rom. 7:20–22; 2 Cor. 4:16). It is this true self, the self of the heart, whose clothing is important. This clothing, in contrast to bodily clothing, is imperishable and therefore of utmost importance.1

1 Peter H. Davids, The First Epistle of Peter, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1990), 118.

Matthew 15:8 KJV
This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

• Inner beauty can last unlike the external stuff.

Psalm 104:2 KJV
Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: Who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain:

The principle to the effect that adornment should proceed from within and be truly representative of the inner being is the principle upon which God operates. It is said of God, “Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment” (Psalm 104:2). But this light comes from the inmost being of God and is an expression of His intrinsic essence. The light that caused our Lord’s face and garments to shine with a heavenly radiance in the Transfiguration (Matt. 17:2), came, as the Greek verb indicates, from His inmost being.1

1 Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: For the English Reader, vol. 11 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997

The virtues that characterize this spirit are gentleness and peacefulness or tranquility. “Gentle” in the Greek world was an amiable friendliness that contrasted with roughness, bad temper, or brusqueness. It was a virtue especially prized in women. In biblical perspective the term indicates a person who does not attack back, for he or she waits on God to judge in the end; knowing God is just, the person can suffer evil without bitterness and vengeance (Num. 12:3; Matt. 5:5; 11:29). Thus in Peter’s eyes the valued character of the Greeks has a transcendent basis in God1

1 Peter H. Davids, The First Epistle of Peter, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1990), 119.

  This fits with “peaceful,” a term used in the NT only here and in 1 Tim. 2:2, the nominal form appearing as well in Acts 22:2; 2 Thess. 3:12; and 1 Tim. 2:11, 12. The sense of being calm, peaceful, and tranquil as opposed to restless, rebellious, disturbed, or insubordinate appears in each passage. It fits well with “gentle” and underlines its meaning. Both 1 Clem. 13:4 and Barn. 19:4 use the two terms together, taking them from a version of Isa. 66:2, “On whom shall I look, but on the meek and gentle and him who trembles at my oracles.” Furthermore, together they form the ideal response to slander by husbands and others.

True Beauty is Seen In Biblical Role Models

1 Peter 3:5–6 KJV
For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:

Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.

…as long as you are not afraid with any amazement (???)

To the moral characteristics of Sarah Peter adds “do not fear any intimidation,” perhaps from Prov. 3:25 (in the LXX it uses two of the same Greek words). Here is the other side of subordination. These women’s husbands surely did not like their going to Christian meetings and refusing to worship the family gods. All types of intimidation—physical, emotional, social—would be used to force them back in line with the husband’s religious beliefs. While calling for gentleness and inner tranquility overall and subordination to their husbands in all areas indifferent to their Christian faith, he encourages them to stand firm in the light of their hope in the coming Christ and quietly refuse to bow to the threats and punishments of their husbands. They are subordinate, but their subordination is revolutionary in that they are subordinate not out of fear or desire for social position or other human advantage but out of obedience to Christ, who treats them as full persons and allows them to rise above the threats and fears of this age.1

1 Peter H. Davids, The First Epistle of Peter, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1990), 121.

The gods we worship write their names on our faces.—Ralph Waldo Emerson1

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 12:44 PM July 1, 2020.

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