Thursday, January 14, 2016

1 Peter 3:19-22

1 Peter 3:19-22
… in which after going He proclaimed to the spirits in prison – after formerly being disobedient when the patience of God waited in the days of Noah, who constructed an ark, into which a few, that is eight souls, were being rescued through the water.  This also corresponds to you all now as baptism saves, not as a removal of the dirt of the flesh but rather as an appeal of good conscience into God through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is at the right hand of God after going into heaven after angels and authorities and powers were being made to submit to Him.

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

This passage is one of the most difficult places in the whole of the New Testament to translate.  Furthermore, this passage contains the primary basis for the phrase “He descended in the place of the dead” as we hear in many of our church’s creeds.  And yes, I am a firm believer that we should say, “the place of the dead,” rather than, “Hell.”  But that’s a story for another day.  In this passage Peter tells us that after being put to death in the flesh that Jesus went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison.  In other words, Jesus went to those who lived prior to Him and anticipated His coming.  He went to the people who couldn’t know Him because they lived before Him.  Jesus proclaimed the truth to them.  Whether they listened and repented or stood fast in the conviction due to them we do not know and the Bible doesn’t say.  In any matter, what we can say for sure is that Jesus went to the place of the dead.  In other words, He really truly died.  His death of the cross was not faked or some pretense.  So what can we learn from this passage?  Jesus did really die and while He was dead He brought the truth to those who had died before Him.

Were you aware of this before studying it here?  Do you think that this is an important point or not?  Why?

Second Thought:

The next thing that we can study in this passage is just as difficult.  Many translations into English give us a difficult time with Peter’s words when he is talking about salvation.  If we are not careful, it is easy to read these words as if baptism saves us.  In other words, if we are not careful we can walk away from this passage saying that if we are baptized then we are saved.  That’s not what Peter is saying at all.  We are saved by Christ and His death upon the cross.  So what does Peter say here with respect to baptism?  Baptism is an appeal to God in good conscience.  The language that Peter uses is language of a business contract.  God extended grace to us through His Son’s death.  Baptism is our acknowledgment of receiving the grace.  When we are baptized, we are saying to God that we understand God’s terms and receive them.  Thus, we are not saved by the act of baptism.  But in baptism we acknowledge reception of God’s act of salvation.

What does baptism mean to you?  Why were you baptized?

Third Thought:

Finally, Peter ends this chapter on a statement about the authority of Christ.  This is also nothing new to us.  Everything was put under the authority of Christ.  Everything is subject to Him.  Now, this doesn’t mean that everything that happens comes into existence because Christ desired it.  That would be like saying that every action that a child does happens because the parents wanted it to happen.  Ha!  That’s far from the truth.  What it means is that everything that happens is subject to Christ’s judgment.  He will hold us all accountable for what we’ve done.  He is the only one who can look into our being and judge us.

Do you think of yourself as being under the authority of Christ?  How does this belief impact your life and how you view the world?

Passage for Tomorrow: 1 Peter 4:1-2
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