Jesus WinsNovember 22, 2020
1 Peter Chapter 3:18-22
1 Peter 3:18: Doctrinally, this is called Substitutionary Atonement. The righteous son of God took our place on the cross. He suffered for us in the body and spiritually. The result is, he brought us to God when we could not have come on our own.
1 Peter 3:18-20: Are some o the most difficult verses in the New Testament.
1. He says that Jesus died, but was alive in the spirit, where he went and preached to spirits.
2. He then uses Noah as an example of Baptism. Does Baptism save us? Peter is using baptism to refer to the saved, not to say that baptism itself gives us salvation.
I. What happened? (1 Peter 3:18-20)
1 Peter 3:18: When Jesus died, he was alive in the spirit world. I think the spirit there is a little “s” spirit. Meaning his own spirit, not the Holy Spirit. Jesus spirit went somewhere when he died. He said to the thief on the cross that their spirits would be going to paradise. Jesus said when he died “Father into your hands I commit my spirit.”
1 Peter 3:19: Jesus made an announcement to spirits in prison.
- In the New Testament, “spirits” usually refers to the realm of angels. Specifically, it most often refers to fallen angels, or demons. These are often called “unclean spirits.”
- The Apostles Creed calls this portion of Scripture “the descent into hell.” It is also called the “harrowing of hell.” However, the text does not say he went to “hell.” It uses the word “cage” or “hold” or “keep.” These demonic spirits appear to be held in something like a cell.
1 Peter 3:20: Who are these evil spirits who are in the holding cell?
- Angels fall into two groups: Holy/elect angels and Fallen angels. (Angels and demons)
- Demons fall into two groups: Loose demons and bound demons.
- Bound demons fall into two groups: Permanently bound and temporarily bound.
This text is talking about permanently bound demons. One day all demons will be in a place of permanent bondage, but it is after the final judgment. These demons appear to have been placed in bondage before the final judgment because they sinned severely. Because of their wicked sin, these demons are no longer allowed to interact with the rest of creation.
2 Peter 2:4: An identical text, in which Peter describes angels being cast into “hell” and chained in pits of darkness. The word used in 2 Peter 2:4 is not hell, it’s “tartarus” which is like a grain bin. It’s a deep dark pit that would be inescapable if something fell into it. These bound demons are held in a place that they cannot escape from. They are not only in the cell, they are chained.
Jude 6: Another text that seems to describe this same group of demons. Jude describes their sin as being one of overstepping their position of authority. That is, they acted outside what was permittable. They went somewhere they should not have gone.
Two popular views:
Popular view #1: This view goes to Genesis 6:1, suggesting that before the flood, in the days of Noah, a group of demons took on human flesh and slept with human women. Or they possessed human men and slept with women. These demons created a half-breed race on the earth called the “Nephilim.” Proponents of this view point out that Jude says these demons are guilty of sins similar to Sodom. At Sodom, humans tried to sleep with angels. Int his view, angels slept with humans, breaking the barrier between spirit and man. In this view, God destroyed the wicked humans with the flood, wiping out the Nephilim, and he threw the demons into a pit.
Problems with this view are vast! For one thing, this is espoused no where in the Old Testament. It is reading into the text, not drawing out form it. It is a view that is popularized by the extra Biblical book, “The book of Enoch.” Jesus said that angels don’t marry. Demons would have no way to sleep with women, produce seed to create offspring or to give life.
Popular view #2: 1 Peter is saying that the spirit of Jesus preached through Noah to the spirits (humans) of his day, who are now bound in hell.
Problems with this view: It breaks the timeline Peter lays down. He clearly says that after Jesus died, he preached to the spirits. Also, the Bible rarely speaks of humans as “spirits.” This view requires us to read the text out of order (Jesus preaching before he died, not after) and demands the spirts be human spirits who are now bound.
A better view: I think it is best to say that Jesus is preaching to demons, bound in a spiritual prison for sins committed before the flood. The text doesn’t say what their sin was. The demons overstepped some boundary that God found unacceptable, so he threw them into a prison to separate them from the other spirit beings and humans.
Why did Jesus go to preach to them?
What purpose was there in Jesus preaching to these bound demons from Noah’s day? I can only guess. I think when Jesus paid the price for sin, it was like a spirit-quake through the spiritual realm. Certainly there were some demons at the cross, who would have quickly gone out and told other demons what had happened. Word would have spread quickly, if not all at once, through the spirit world that redemption had been paid by the Son of God. But there was one group who would not know what had happened; a group bound and separated from the rest of creation.
In the ancient world, a victor would send a messenger ahead of him to announce his victory before he entered a city. Jesus didn’t leave it to an angel to announce his victory to these bound demons. I think he personally showed up in their prison to tell them that he had conquered sin and they were eternally doomed.
II. Message passage like this is: Jesus wins.
1. Jesus wins over (1 Peter 1:18)
Jesus death was complete. That means there is nothing left for us to do. Peter says that “HE” might bring us to God. We don’t go to purgatory after we die to pay for our sins; everything necessary to pay for sin was done by Jesus on the cross. Salvation is not “WE” and “HE” ; it’s him alone.
2. Jesus wins over (1 Peter 3:20)
Jesus protected Noah and his family when they were in a storm. He can carry us through to safety.
3. Jesus wins over (1 Peter 3:22)
POINT = Jesus wins, so live for Jesus.