We may serve the Lord with confidence despite suffering because Jesus reigns victorious over the created order and all spiritual powers.
Scripture: 1 Peter 3:18-22
- These verses are in the form of a creed and are widely recognized as difficult to interpret.
- The context indicates that Peter is further proving that we may be confident in the face of suffering while we stand firm for the gospel.
- Though we may suffer as Christ did, we know that Christ’s suffering results in our salvation and victory.
- In our baptism we make a pledge to God to live a life of faithfulness and obedience to Christ.
- As sinners we are like a twisted bow which misses the mark (Ps. 78:56-57). We are separated from God and without hope.
- Christ suffered for sin reconciling us to God.
- Jesus was made alive bodily by the Holy Spirit, who will also raise our bodies and restore the whole creation.
- There are three main interpretations of 1 Pet 3:19: a) after the crucifixion Jesus preached to human spirits in hades; b) before the flood the Spirit of Jesus was preaching through Noah; and c) Jesus announced His victory and judgment upon fallen angels. This third interpretation connects with Genesis 6, 1 Pet. 3:22, 2 Pet. 2:4-5; Jude 6.
- Jesus reigns victoriously over all things: over the created order and all spiritual powers.
- This victory in Jesus is the confidence we have when suffering in the service of the Lord.
- Given that Jesus reigns over all we are not to pay back evil for evil, for he will make all things right.
- Baptism is not the removal of the uncleanness caused by sin (1 Pet. 3:21).
- Baptism is a reminder of God’s judgment, of the death penalty for sin, and of our position as God’s children, raised up from death and having been given new life.
- Baptism “saves us” in the sense that it is the pledge of God’s covenant promise of salvation in Christ, bestowed upon us by power of the resurrection.
- Baptism is a sign of our covenant promise of faithfulness to Christ. Since we made a promise to Christ, we must remain faithful to Him when the going gets tough.
- Baptism is like an engagement, which reminds us that we’re promised to Christ.
- The Lord’s Supper or communion meal is likewise a reminder of our covenant with Christ.
- Based on the context, what is Peter’s purpose in this difficult passage?
- What are the implications of Jesus’ victory and reign for our lives of service to the Lord, especially when we face suffering?
- What are the three main interpretations of 1 Peter 3:19? Which is preferred and why?
- What is the significance of our baptism, and how is it related to having a clear conscience before God?
- Why does Peter say baptism “saves you”?