Supremacy of the Gospel II
Today’s Text: 1Peter 3:13-22
Peter wraps up chapter 3 with a continuation of his theme of the supremacy of the Gospel. You will recall that in our last two sessions, Peter was calling upon all believers to be submissive for the sake of the Gospel. He spoke of submission to civil authority, to masters and to husbands, all for the sake of our love for Christ. In this section, he continues with this theme by reminding people that they should not fear from doing good; even if it should lead to suffering. He also reminds them that it is better to suffer now for doing right than it is to suffer later for doing evil. This is followed by a remedial session relating to the death, burial and resurrection of Christ and how this relates to Baptism; our hope.
Points of Interest
15-16: Notice that Peter calls upon the faithful to always be ready to tell people the source of our hope and joy: the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Think about it; if we live right, people will notice. If we live in accord with our Lord, and in a way that is pleasing to Him, we will stand out as ‘different’. If our difference results in peace, hope and joy this difference will be attractive to many and they will ask about it. This is the perfect environment to share the Gospel. This sharing, however, must be done with gentleness and respect, as opposed to with condemnation and snobbishness.
18-20: There are many scholars who would say that in this section Peter is recounting the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, and further telling us that while Jesus was dead He preached the Gospel to those who had died previously and were now awaiting (or receiving) their eternal fate. The grammar here suggests otherwise. Following the time frames in the grammar it is more likely that Peter is telling them that the Spirit, through Noah proclaimed righteousness to them (as in fact we know that he did). Whichever position you prefer to take, make sure that you don’t lose sight of what Peter is really trying to teach here, and that follows…
21-22: Noah and his family responded to God’s message and they were saved from judgment through water. In the same way, those who respond to the message of God through Christ (Gospel) will be saved from judgment through the waters of Baptism. Notice the quote: verse 21a “and this waters symbolizes baptism that now saves you also” This is said to cause the reader to remember how they came into relationship with Christ: through Baptism. It is sad to note how many Christians overlook this fact today. This is the reason for the preceding section calling upon us to be submissive and well behaved in a messed up world:
1. To be true to God’s righteousness.
2. To give a good testimony about what it means to be a Christian.
3. To live in a way that will give us a hearing from those who need to hear the Gospel of Christ.