Editor’s note: The purpose of this series is to walk our readers through 1 Peter in order to help them understand what it teaches and how to apply it to our lives. This series is part of our larger commitment to help Christians learn to read, interpret, reflect, and apply the Bible to their own lives.
- David Dunham opened our series by looking at 1 Peter 1:1-2.
- Dave looked at 1 Peter 1:3-9.
- Dave looked at 1 Peter 1:10-12.
- Dave looked at 1 Peter 1:13-21.
- Dave wrote on 1 Peter 1:22-2:3.
- Zach wrote on 1 Peter 2:4-10.
- Dave wrote on 1 Peter 2:11-17.
- Dave wrote on 1 Peter 2:18-25.
- Dave wrote on 1 Peter 3:1-7.
- Dave wrote on 1 Peter 3:8-12.
- Dave wrote on 1 Peter 3:13-18.
- Today Matt Adams writes on 1 Peter 3:18-22.
1 Peter 3:18-22 ESV, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.”
Many of us have heard the Easter story repeatedly throughout our lives. If you are reading this, chances are you have sat in Sunday school classes, Sunrise Services, and Sunday morning Worship Services. This means it’s highly likely you can recite the Easter story quickly and accurately. If someone were to come up and ask you to present it from Scriptures, where is the first place you would go? More than likely, your mind went immediately to one of the Gospels – probably Matthew, John, or Luke since the end of Mark’s Gospel requires a little explanation. Let me share some good news! Going to the Gospels would be an excellent choice! In fact, I think I would go directly to Luke’s Gospel. What if I told you to go to 1 Peter 3:18-22 and proclaim the Easter story? Would you just as easily and accurately recount the gospel story from Peter’s epistle?
1 Peter 3:18-22 is a text that requires much explanation. I’m a Presbyterian and this text mentions baptism! I have to address that, am I right? Well, not necessarily. Rather than addressing the nuances of this text and it’s teaching on baptism in light of the whole of Scripture, I want to focus on what Peter is telling us about the Easter story and apply it to God’s people.
Peter teaches us three vital parts of the gospel in this text: Christ is the singular sacrifice for sin; through Christ, we are reconciled to God; and Christ is no longer in the grave but at the right hand of God! Does this sound familiar? Yes, it is the Easter story!
Christ is our Singular Sacrifice
It is time for some more good news! Christ takes the Old Testament sacrifice system away. No longer do we meet at our respective places of worship with small lambs, doves, or cattle to sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins. No longer do we have to travel to the temples and let the priests judge us by our obedience to ceremonial laws. When Christ shed His blood and took His last breath, there no longer is a need for the shedding of blood. Christ’s sacrifice is more than enough! His death takes away the need to continue sacrifices because His blood covers all the sins for all who believe.
The author of Hebrews tells us that after Christ laid down His life for His sheep, He sat down at the right hand of the Father.
Christ, our Advocate, has sat down. Think about that. If we look into a courtroom scene, the lawyer sits down after the case is closed. Christian, Christ has wrapped up the case. Salvation for God’s people is a sure thing! His blood will take away every sin, and His grace is irresistible.
There is no question and there is no need for repeated sacrifice. Christ is our perfect and singular sacrifice.
Christ is our Reconciliation to the Father
Through Christ’s singular sacrifice, we are brought into right fellowship with the Father. Clearly, we see in the Scriptures, that in sin we have no fellowship with God. The Apostle John reminds us in the first verses of his first epistle of who God is and who we are without Him. God is light and we are darkness.
What a clear distinction! We can all relate extremely well to this illustration. Light is a good thing. I do not think I need to convince anyone of this fact. We can immediately think of at least one story in our lives that light was our redeeming feature. It can be stories of trying to get ready in the dark while your spouse is still in the bed sleeping and finally getting to turn the light on. Maybe it is a story about finally finding that flashlight when your lights went out during a storm, or it can be about the sun finally rising on a dark night and watching life seemingly being breathed into nature that very morning.
Light is a good thing, and the absence of it is darkness. Christians, we are not in the darkness. We are in the light, all because of Jesus and His singular sacrifice! Now, we belong to this glorious fellowship with our God, He is the light, and now we are in the light.
God Raised Christ from the Dead
Now to our favorite part of the Easter story, Christ’s resurrection!
Death could not hold Jesus in the tomb. Sin had no chance of winning this battle. Why? Because God’s sovereign plan, even before the time of creation, was to raise Jesus from the dead. In the resurrection, we have a glimpse into the triumph that will one day be ours in Christ!
This past week, our world experienced another gruesome and twisted terrorist attack in Belgium. Immediately, people started asking, “Where is God?” Well, I do not believe in happenstance or luck, and I think that this question can be answered by the week that this attack took place.
Last week was Holy Week where we celebrated Good Friday and Easter. In the resurrection, we have a beautiful picture of God prevailing over sin and death and we long for the Day that this will happen for all eternity. God promised salvation for His people through Christ Jesus, and it happened. God has promised us victory over terrorism, sin, and death, and we can be fully convinced of His promises!
Peter does not stop with the resurrection in this particular text. He reminds us of Christ’s location right this very minute. Christ is on the throne! The same throne that Isaiah sees in Isaiah 6, and the same throne that John sees in Revelation 4, is the same throne that sits sovereign with Christ solely worshiped!
Our Redeemer is our living Sovereign King! That is the story of Easter. Believer, rest in this assurance.