1 Peter 3:13-22

1 Peter 3:13-22

“Submission, Salvation, Soaking”


Today’s message is taken from 1 Peter 3:13-22. If you’ve been following along in this series, you know that this was written to believers in various churches in what is now Turkey  about 64AD, just a few years before Peter’s crucifixion. It was written to encourage the readers during difficult times to endure and live lives that were worthy of the name of Christ.

In the previous chapter, Peter wrote about how we need to submit to the government and our employers. In the first half of chapter 3, he wrote that a wife needs to respect the leadership of her husband, and that a husband has to be considerate of his wife and respect her. All Christians need to “live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing,”


Peter continues …

13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?

            If you are doing what God says you need to be doing, then what harm will come to you? Most people will respect you for how you act, even if they think you’re crazy to believe in Christ. We need to be eager to do good, not trying to repay people who do evil to us, whether they intended to harm us or not. I’m not saying it is easy to become someone who is eager to do good. Nor am I saying it is easy to become someone who does not want to retaliate. But we need to pray in difficult times for the right understanding of the situation, for guidance in how to act, and for the right attitude. Don’t be who you were. Don’t be who you are. Be who God wants you to become. Let GOD change you.


14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed.

Turn to Matthew 5:3-11. The word for “blessed” in 1 Peter 3:14 is the same word used by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.[1] If you suffer for doing what is right, God said you will be blessed.


“Do not fear what they fear b; do not be frightened.” c

            Isaiah 8:11-12. Peter is quoting GOD! We don’t need to fear people. Matt. 10:28 – we need to fear GOD – IF we do not trust him. We need to not worry about the things of this world, but be worried about the things that REALLY matter – the things of heaven.


15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.

Peter is reminding BELIEVERS that they need to let Christ run their lives, rather than their fears of being hurt, or their fears of not having what they need, or their fears of being looked down on, or their fears of being judged by mankind. People need to let GOD be in charge. Its freeing to know that you are not the one ultimately responsible to make the sun revolve around the earth – yes, I know the earth revolves around the sun, but we so often get things confused that that I said that way on purpose. When we try to do things our way, in our times, we often miss the true picture of how things are or will be and so make mistakes – the way people in the middle ages used to think the sun revolved around the earth. GOD created it all – including what to us is the future – let HIM run things. You sit back and relax and enjoy the show. Get some popcorn, and a soda if you need to. Go to the bathroom if you need to. Do what you need to do, but let God run the show. I’ve read the book, and know the ending – you’ll find it’s a good one!


Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.

Turn back to 1 Peter 1:5, 1 Peter 1:13. Peter is reminding us that we need to be prepared! We need to trust God and let people know WHY. Turn to Acts 20:1-25. When you are able to be serene in times of difficulty, its for one of three reasons: you are ignorant of how bad things really are, you don’t care how bad things really are, or you know that no matter how bad things get, you have CHRIST, and HE WILL PROVIDE AND PROTECT what’s really important! You can’t loose your salvation, and what else is there that’s as important? So when people see you and wonder what’s the ‘deal-e-o’, tell them of your hope in Christ.


But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

`           1 Peter 2:15. God wants you to do what is right and to do it with the right attitude. We need to be respectful and gentle. When we’re doing what God wants, in the way that God wants, with a clear conscience, we will cause those who speak against us to be ashamed of their behavior.


17 It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

            Turn to 1 Peter 2:13-20. God wants us to honor what he has created and to be ok with where we are. He wants us to accept where we are, and if that brings us difficulty, but we’re doing the right things with the right attitude, then that’s better than if we are in difficulty and doing the wrong things or even the right things with the wrong attitude. GOD CARES NOT ONLY ABOUT WHAT WE DO, BUT HOW WE DO IT! Attitude counts!


18 For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.

Romans 3:23 – we are all sinners. Romans 6:23 – our sin deserves death. Romans 6:10. But Christ died for everyone’s sins – yours, mine, everyone. Romans 10:9-10 – all we have to do is believe and live the faith we have. Romans says we need to confess our belief – we need to let people know, with our mouth, our reactions, our lives – if we don’t live it, how do we know we’re saved? Christ died so that everyone who believes will be brought to God as adopted children.


He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, 19 through whom d also he went and preached to the spirits in prison 20 who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built.

The first part of this passage is easy to understand: Christ’s human body died, at the hands of men. But The Holy Spirit raised him from the dead to live in heaven. If we believe, then we too will be raised again.

This can be a difficult passage for some people. Its been used to try to show all kinds of errant beliefs. Some people use this scripture to say that Christ entered hell after he died. Others use this passage for the idea of purgatory. But take a look at Hebrews 9:27. We know that to enter heaven a body has to put his faith in Christ’s redeeming work in THIS life — what good would it do to preach the Gospel to dead people, when they are awaiting judgment? Turn to Luke 16:19-31 – it is certainly too late to preach to dead people that they need to live a righteous life – they’re DEAD and have already been put into “prison” and are awaiting final judgment. Others say this speaks of Christ preaching to the fallen angels – but take a look at Luke 20:34-36. Angels do not die and so can not gain eternal life – indeed, according to 1 Peter 1:12 even the angels long to see us get the wonderful life we have coming! So Christ couldn’t have descended to hell to preach to men or fallen angels. There is a better answer to this puzzle.

Now, normally, I do not like to take scripture from various parts of the Bible and put them together to form a conclusion, but when what we read does not make sense, we need to search out scripture to help us understand. In this case, I challenge you to go home and read these scriptures in context and then see if what I’m about to say makes sense to you.

Turn to Genesis 6:3. God said his Spirit – the Holy Spirit – would not put up with the sinners in the time of Noah forever. Turn to 1 Peter 1:10-11. The Spirit of Christ – the Holy Spirit – was in the Old Testament prophets, long before Christ took on a human body. Now turn to 2 Peter 2:5, Peter called Noah “a preacher of righteousness”. The best way to understand 1 Peter 3:19-20 is that the Holy Spirit was in Noah and preached (through Noah) to those people who were disobedient to God while Noah was building the arc – these disobedient people were ‘spirits’ who, at the time of the writing of 1 Peter, were NOW ‘in prison’, awaiting their judgment.[2]


In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water,

God chose eight people to save from the destruction of the flood – Noah, a righteous preacher filled with the Holy Spirit and his family. God baptized the earth and eight people were given a new life THROUGH the waters of the flood. They were not saved BY water – only through it. Water was not their savior, it was the judgment through which God brought them.[3]


21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge e of a good conscience toward God.

Turn to Luke 12:50. Christ himself said he had a baptism to undergo, and he was not speaking of being dunked! He was talking about the baptism of God’s wrath – the baptism of Christ’s own blood. Christ’s blood was shed so that you and I, and anyone and everyone who believes could have eternal life! And once he was baptized by God’s wrath, He was resurrected.

Baptism represents a complete break with the way things used to be. In Noah’s time, the flood wiped out everything that breathed, except what had been saved. When a Christian is baptized, it symbolizes a radical change has happened in our lives – the old life is dead, we have new life.


It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

Some people think it is water baptism that saves us, or that it is faith AND water baptism. It is not baptism with water which saves us. It can not be water baptism which saves us – it HAS to be CHRIST. Turn to John 14:6. If it was water baptism that saves us, then how is that Christ is the way? Now turn to Luke 7:50. The woman in question did not get baptized. Turn to Ephesians 2:8-9. We are not saved by anything we do (and being baptized with water is certainly something we do) – we are saved through FAITH IN CHRIST!

Turn to Acts 10:43-48. Turn to 1 Corinthians 12:13. It is the baptism of the Holy Spirit, through faith in the death and resurrection of Christ that saves us. Only after we receive the Holy Spirit should we be baptized in Water. In the first century of the church, baptism was a public commitment that one would follow through with his commitment to Christ, regardless of the consequences, and those consequences could be dire – Even Peter was crucified (the early church leader Origin said he was crucified head down, as he did not feel worthy of being crucified in the manner of his Lord). When we decide to be baptized, we are giving saying publicly that we have died and been born again. We are baptized into Christ’s death. The water baptism is a public symbol of the spiritual baptism we have already received.


22 who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him. [4]

Hebrews 12:2. Christ suffered for our sins – he submitted himself to both the authority of God the Father and to the Jewish and Roman leaders who crucified him. But Christ was resurrected and now sits at the right hand of God – with angels, demons, and earthly kings all in submission to him.

If Christ can be subject to someone, shouldn’t we follow his example?

Submit yourself to God. Right now. If you are not sure you are going to heaven, come forward and I will pray with you to receive Christ. If you know you are going to be with Christ, there’s at LEAST one area in your life where you are not totally surrendered to Him. Pray that He bring to mind the places in your life where you are not obedient. The altars are open.

[1] Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-c1985). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

 b Or not fear their threats

 d 18,19 Or alive in the spirit, through which

[2] Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-c1985). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[3] MacDonald, W., & Farstad, A. (1997, c1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary : Old and New Testaments (1 Pe 3:13). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

 e Or response

[4]The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) (1 Pe 3:13). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.


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