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Great Victory Through Great Suffering - 1 Peter 3:18-22

March 26, 2017 Speaker: Gibson Largent Series: A Living Hope

Passage: 1 Peter 3:18–22

Listening Guide:

Paradox: a seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement that is or may be true
There are many paradoxes in the Bible:

  • First shall be last - Matthew 20:16
  • Least shall be greatest - Luke 9:48
  • Leader shall be a servant - Matthew 20:26
  • Love your enemy - Matthew 5:44
  • Pray for those who persecute you - Matthew 5:44
  • Pride comes before the fall - Proverbs 16:18
  • In your weakness you are strong - 2 Corinthians 12:9-11
  • Humility leads to exaltation - 1 Peter 5:6, James 4:10
  • Suffering is the path to victory - 1 Peter 3:18-22

John MacArthur's summary of this passage:“And the lesson for us here is plain: Don't despair in the times of difficulty, don't despair in the times of persecution, don't despair in the times of unjust treatment, don't despair in the times of rejection; it could be the time of your greatest triumph. That's what Peter wants his readers to understand. He's writing to persecuted, rejected believers who are being treated unjustly, unfairly, and with great hostility. And he wants to encourage them by reminding them that the time of our Lord's unjust treatment, when He was crucified, was also the time of His great triumph. And we need to look at our own difficulty as a time of triumph also.”

1 Peter 3:18-22 (ESV)
[18] 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,
[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,
[22] who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

Main Point: Peter is showing us that through suffering Jesus accomplished victory (and it stands to reason that your suffering will achieve a greater victory)

1. Verse 18 - Jesus suffered, securing victory over sin for us

Life Transformation Study Bible Note: “Here is one of the richest, clearest, and briefest New Testament summaries of the work of Christ. Theologians describe the heart of the gospel as penal substitutionary atonement. Jesus paid the penalty for sins (penal) as a substitute in our place (substitutionary) to undo the effects of our sin and restore us to God (atonement, literally “at-one-ment”). This is precisely what we find in this verse: Christ “suffered once for sins [penal], the righteous for the unrighteous [substitutionary], that he might bring us to God [atonement].”

2. Verses 19-20 - Jesus’ suffering secured victory over spiritual enemies

John MacArthur notes from sermon on this passage (
Angelology: There are angels - ministering spirits who serve God’s purposes in a spiritual realm. There are fallen angels - angels who rebelled against God following one of their own, Satan. There are loose fallen angels and bound fallen angels. Loose fallen angels - limited power but will be judged - Jesus to Legion (demoniac) “have you come to torture us before the day? Don’t send us into the abyss. There are bound (imprisoned) fallen angels. See 2 Peter 2:4 - [4] 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; Jude 6 - [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; Genesis 6 - nephilim - left their boundaries - created an unredeemable race of hybrid

3. Verse 21 - Jesus’ suffering secured our salvation
Noah and the seven: 120 year sermon that no one believed. Water baptism corresponds - the old nature is dead and what is resurrected is new

4. Verse 22 - Jesus’ suffering secured his position as Lord over everything
Philippians 2: Jesus is Lord over all

“When God Lavishes You With Uncomfortable Grace” article by Jeff Robinson with quote from Paul Tripp and New Morning Mercies