Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Bible Study - 1st Peter 3:13-22

Well, we're back here at Stuart's Study for the 3rd blog post in 3 days. My wife is out of town for work, so we had to do Bible Study via phone. Not easy to pray that way, let me tell you. But we made it through it. Today, I'm going to finish 1st Peter 3. The last section deals with Christian suffering.

Christian suffering is something all Christians have to deal with at some point in their lives. Jesus wasn't shy when preaching to people. He told them that they would be rejected and have struggles. The path to salvation is narrow and tough. The path to hell is wide and easy.

In verse 13-16, we see a "beatitude," with Peter saying "blessed are you if you suffer for righteousness." This echoes back to Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. And if we do suffer, we should praise Jesus. This sounds like a contradiction and unusual, but we should always be given thanks to God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. People might think you are nuts for praising God when you are being persecuted, but you must be able to tell them why you are still praising God, and that is Christ died and resurrected. So when you tell people of this, tell them but do it gently and reverently. Nobody likes a Bible beater. And if people still try and malign who you are in Christ, they will be shamed - maybe not in this world, but definitely in the next.

In verses 17-18 we are told that it is better to suffer for good than for evil. This is a fairly obvious truth, but it still bears hearing and repeating. We are also reminded that Christ suffered for everyone. The righteous (Jesus) suffered for the unrighteous (all of us), because we are all sinners, and need to remember that. We didn't save ourselves. And even though he died a physical death, Satan did not win, because he rose from the grave and defeated death by death.

Verses 19-20 always blow my mind when I read them. Jesus went to preach to the spirits in prison. This doesn't mean earthly prison. This means Sheol or Hades (not to be confused with Hell or Gehenna). So when Jesus died, he went down to the spirits of those who died before Jesus came to earth in bodily form, and preached to them. Why did He preach to them? Not to condemn them. Jesus is not hateful like that. They were given the chance to be saved, because they died before Jesus died and didn't have a chance to know God. I assume that this was a one time deal, because afterwards, people had the chance to know Jesus and be saved. But that is not my place to say, because God is merciful and wants all to be saved. (Do not interpret this as me believing everyone will be saved.)

Verses 20-21 talks briefly about Noah and the Flood, and how the Flood was a prefigurement of Baptism. The flood washed away the sin of the world, just like Baptism washes away Original Sin. And lastly, verse 22 talks about Jesus ascending into Heaven, sitting at the right hand of God, and with the angels being subject to Him.

Tune in next week for Chapter 4 of 1st Peter. Thanks for reading, and have a blessed day.