1 Peter 3:18-22 – 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.
When most people think of worship, they think of singing. But, did you know that suffering is another way of worshipping? If we suffer for Jesus, suffer like Jesus, invest our suffering in our character to become more like Jesus, then our suffering is a way of worshipping.
This is the big idea Peter is communicating in what is admittedly one of the most complex and debated sections of the entire New Testament. To keep things simple, here are nine things Peter is teaching in this section of Scripture about the suffering of Christ and Christians:
- Jesus Christ suffered for our sins. Before we start talking about all the sin we’ve suffered from others, we need to start by confessing our sins which caused Jesus to suffer.
- Jesus Christ is righteous, everyone else is unrighteous. Jesus is the only person who suffered entirely unjustly. For the rest of us, at least some of our suffering is because of the sins we commit and foolish decisions we make.
- Jesus Christ is God who became a man to bring men to God. The reason Jesus came down from God, is because we could never go up to God.
- Jesus Christ’s body died on the cross looking defeated. As Jesus died, by all outward appearances He had lost. This fact gives us hope and courage when it also feels like our suffering is winning and we are losing.
- Jesus Christ’s body died by His spirit and endured the cross in victory. Like Jesus, you are one person in two parts and your soul endures beyond this life until it occupies your resurrection body one day following in Jesus’ example.
- Jesus Christ rose from death to conquer hell and open Heaven. Prior to Jesus paying the price for our sins, there was a place He called Paradise on the cross where departed believers waited for Jesus to open Heaven. Today, upon death, a Christian has direct, immediate access to God forever.
- Jesus Christ rules over everyone and everything right now from His Heavenly Throne. When we think of Jesus, especially when we are suffering, it gives us comfort to think of His past suffering, and it gives us courage to think of His present ruling.
- Baptism is how the Christian makes their private faith in Jesus Christ public. When a Christian is baptized, it is an act of faith looking back to Jesus’ resurrection, and looking forward to their resurrection.
- If God can save Noah and His family from a judgment of water, He can find a way to save yours from a judgment of fire if you obey Him in faith. We need to love and serve anyone and everyone in hopes that they trust in Jesus to be spared from judgment, but we must start with our own family.
Which of these truths most comforts you in regard to your suffering?
To download the free e-book ODD LIFE: Good God which is a study in 1 Peter for individuals, groups, and families from Pastor Mark click HERE. To listen to Pastor Mark’s 9 sermons on 1 Peter preached in the summer of 2020, click HERE. These and other resources are made possible by our ministry partners who support Real Faith as a Bible teaching ministry of Mark Driscoll Ministries to whom we say THANK YOU!