Reading 1 Peter 3:18–22.
Sometimes things are a lot more complicated than you expect.
Our passage is like that, except more redemptive!
But this text has treasures we don’t want to miss!
Context in 1 Peter:
3:18–22 is a single sentence in the Greek with three really big ideas about what Christ accomplished for us: (1) Bring Us to God (3:18); (2) Cleanse Us of Sin (3:19–21); (3) Triumph Over Our Enemies (3:22)
Prayer – Benjamin Tangeman
One of those great gospel verses in our NT—memorize it!
First, He took our place.
The great result? “He might bring us to God.”
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (Eph 2:13)
I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. (Phil 1:23)
19 in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, 20 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. 21 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, (1 Pet 3:19–21)
Basic sense of the text:
FIRST, CHRIST PREACHING
3 Basic Views:
Descent into hell—doesn’t seem to fit the time-table, says he was “made alive in the Spirit,” which seems to be reference to resurrection.
Angels view strengthened by two NT references:
2 Peter 2:4–10:
For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly. (2 Pet 2:4–10)
5 Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day—
7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. (Jude 5–7)
Some who hold the angels view think these angels are connected to Genesis 6:
When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. 3 Then the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.”
4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown. (Gen 6:1–4)
I don’t think 2 Peter and Jude give us enough to say absolutely that they mean these Genesis 6 beings when they speak of “angels” in “prison.”
“Spirits in prison” as people
Whether angels or unbelievers at the time of Noah, the reference to Noah is key part of Peter’s point.
Baptism is the antitype (Grk word used here) for the type of Noah’s flood.
THE GREAT RESULT?
You’re clean. At the deepest level. Clean.
“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” (Isa 1:18)
Isaiah is contrasting two colors as far apart as they can possibly be: “scarlet” and “crimson,” maybe it’s the color of blood he’s imagining.
You’re saying, “Yeah, but you don’t know what I’ve done.”
who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him. (1 Pet 3:22)
This text answers the question, WHERE IS CHRIST NOW? “At the right hand of God”!
But this text also answers the question, WILL MY ENEMIES WIN? No!
Why would this be encouraging to Peter’s readers?
More and more the true church is becoming a righteous few in an unrighteous many. But, “Hold on. Your vindication is coming. Your triumph is certain.”
Do you want…
SPECIFIC APPLICATION: Get baptized.
THEODORE BEZA (1519–1605, 86 yrs old)
You have often delivered me from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence which walked in secret: Your have been my refuge and fortress when, on the field of battle with my Protestant brethren, thousands were falling on every side. The Lord has given his angels charge over me; and now, having satisfied me with a long life, I have no more to wait for, but the fulfilling of the last words of the Psalm. 'I will show him my salvation,' for which, in confidence, I have longed!"
Theodore Beza (1519–1605)
Closing Song: What Rich a Treasure
 The logic of the Gen 6 angels is this: (1) We know from Jude 14–16 that Jude was familiar with 1 Enoch; (2) 1 Enoch makes a big deal of the Gen 6 angels being fallen and imprisoned for their sin; (3) Jude and 2 Peter speak of imprisoned angels; (4) Therefore 2 Peter and Jude are adopting the same perspective as 1 Enoch about these things. But the leap made from #3 to #4 is indeed a leap and may or may not be true. As I said, the 2 Peter and Jude references make just as much sense if the angels fallen with Satan are implied.
 Osmon Baker, THE LAST WITNESS; OR, THE DYING SAYINGS OF EMINENT CHRISTIANS AND OF NOTED INFIDELS (NY: Carlton&Porter, 1868), 21–22.
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