The Word became flesh and dwelt among us….


I Peter

The Suffering But Victorious Jesus. 1 Peter 3:18-22

We have all heard the question, WWJD?. It is meant to challenge us to be more like Him in our lives, especially in areas where we need to submit to God’s Will in our lives and be less self-serving.

The question on our minds in this passage though is WDJD? What exactly did Jesus do?

What on earth was Peter thinking when he wrote this section? Did he know what confusion it would cause us?!

Hearing phrases that have inspired creeds to say, “ He descended into hell…” , may well make us say, just like in common vernacular, “ You say what?”. If that isn’t confusing enough, he will go on to say, “ Baptism now saves you!”.

It sounds like we are getting impossible information, contradictory information compared to what we know the rest of scripture says.If you haven’t learnt the valuable lesson “ context is everything”, then this passage is the perfect example! Peter’s context of course, is that he is preparing believers for suffering innocently, wrongfully. He has just stated that it is better if we suffer for doing good, than for evil, and he then gives us the ultimate example of innocent suffering in Christ, Who seemed to be defeated by evil, but yet, was victorious over it all.

So what did Jesus actually do, and Who is He for us in His suffering that we could have hope, purpose, and a reason in our’s?

1 – The Sinless Jesus (v 18a): He defeated sin and brought us to God.

What is ultimate cause of offense in this world for you?

One thing we may list is seeing innocent people suffer. We hate injustice. We should hate injustice.

What causes injustice though? Is it just corruption in the minds and hearts of “those” people?

As believer, we know that all injustice comes from something we have in our own hearts. Sin causes us to sin and we see the effects of sin throughout the whole world.

Innocent people who suffer wrongfully have our respect, our love even. We see no point to any of it, and sometimes, no end to it either.

Peter says that Christ suffered, once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, and we would do very well to pay attention to this if we truly want answers to the suffering in our world.

Christ’s suffering FOR sins, not in sins, shows us just how much He as willing to take on Himself for our sakes. He, the just and righteous one, died for us, the unjust and unrighteous.

For what purpose did He do this? To bring us to God.

Our attention may then turn to God, to say to Him, as we do so often with all unjust suffering, “Why?”.

But we cannot go too far with that question in accusation against God, when we see that it was Himself on the Cross. It was the Son of God that died in our place, showing us the great love and grace of God.

Because it was the only way for sin and evil to be defeated, was by letting the Ultimate Innocent suffer for all of sin and evil’s consequences. If Christ had not suffered once for all sins, then we could truly say that all suffering truly is meaningless, and we would all be without hope. ( 1 Corinthians 15).

Christ’s suffering FOR sins, while sinless Himself, frees us from the greatest curse of sin, separation from God. It brings us back to God, where we have the peace of belonging to God.

If you do not have peace about Christ’s suffering for your sin, chances are, you don’t have peace with God. If you think Christ’s death is foolish, you would not be alone either. But the weakness, foolishness and seeming defeat of Jesus, actually is part of the greatest victory that we can ever know.

2 – The Eternal Jesus (v 18b-21): He defeated death and proclaimed life.

What happened to Jesus between His death and resurrection?

There are many views on what the text could mean, but lets look at what it says first:

He was put to death in the flesh. v18b
He was made alive in the spirit. v 18b
In the spirit, He went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison. v19
He was then resurrected. v21b
He then went to heaven, where He is at the right hand of God. v22

Now, the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus are what we should focus on, and that is actually Peter’s whole point – what do they mean for us? – but we seem to want to draw conclusions about what we don’t know about these verses, rather than what we do know! We would rather make doctrines out of interpretations of what it all MIGHT mean rather than glorify God for what they DO mean!

Who were the spirits Jesus preached to? Where is the prison? What did He say to them? How long was He there? What’s Noah got to do with it? What’s baptism got to do with our salvation?

What we know about the spirits is that they were disobedient in the days of Noah, and spurned God’s grace, and in doing so, condemned themselves to being destroyed by the flood of God’s judgement on the world.

As to where they are now, it would seem that they are in prison, bound until the final judgement. ( 2 Peter 2:4-5;Jude 6). It would seem that if they are awaiting judgement, had already been disobedient to God’s call, them being in prison would indicate their guilt has already been declared.

If their guilt has been declared, and they already await judgement, what could Jesus possibly proclaim to them? The word used for ‘proclaimed’ was ‘the pronouncement of an edict”. It could be said then, that Jesus went to the spirits in prison and announced His defeat of evil, His defeat of the evil one who they had been obedient to and followed instead of God.

Peter likes using Noah and his family as a type of Jesus and salvation, he uses them again in 2 Peter 2:4&5.

Peter is speaking of the death of Christ, and how it defeated sin and death. The flood of Noah’s day destroyed all who were disobedient to God’s call to salvation that came through Noah’s ark. The flood destroyed the world, but saved the world at the same time. The flood came because of the wickedness of mankind, it came so God could start again with Noah, who had found grace in God’s sight because of his faith and righteousness. God was redeeming the world through judgement.

Noah and his family were saved through the waters ( v20b). They were saved because of the judgement of God on the world.What was their salvation, was the judgement of those who refused to obey God.

Christ’s death proclaims to us several things, and the most important of course is that salvation is available. Cleansing is available. You can be made right with God through Christ’s death. You can have life instead of death.

God is in the business of saving people from their own destructive ways of sin. He wants to give life, not death. He has done all that needs to be done in order for us to have life, eternal life. But we must obey the Gospel. If we do not, we condemn ourselves to the very judgement that Christ bore for us, separation from God. If we don’t believe, if we don’t obey, if we don’t die to ourselves, we will be judged by the perfect and holy God. Water can cleanse, or it can destroy.

Baptism signifies all these things to us the same way Noah’s flood does. Water cleanses our outward body, and in baptism, we are identifying with Jesus in His death, we are saying, “This outward act of washing symbolizes the cleansing Christ has done in my inner life”.

Baptism, when done from a pure conscience towards God, shows that we belong to God, through what Christ has done for us. The act of baptism does not save us, but shows that we have been saved, because of Christ.

How are we declared to have a good conscience before God? Not just in Christ’s death, but also in His resurrection, we are justified before God. ( Romans 4:24,25).

“Jesus Christ did not just defeat death. He did not just deny death. He destroyed death.” – Keller

In the cross, He defeats evil by dying in our place, the just for the unjust.

In the grave, He defeats death by rising again, proclaiming life.

In taking on Himself God’s judgement for us, He satisfies the wrath of God, and sets us free from condemnation.

3 – The Vindicated Jesus ( v22): He ascended to heaven, to power, to authority.

Jesus stands alone as the only Savior of mankind, not just in His sacrificial death, and victorious resurrection, but also because one His actions that we so often overlook, His ascension.

If Christ had not ascended to heaven after His earthly ministry, we would not have access to Him with the ministry He has to us now. If Christ was still on earth, although He would have a fully resurrected and glorified body, He would still be limited.

He had to ascend to heaven, not only so the Spirit could come and dwell with every believer, but so He could take His place at God’s right hand to rule over angels, authorities and powers, but also to intercede for us before God as our great High Priest. ( Hebrews 4:14-16).

His ascension to this position shows us that He has been completely vindicated. Not only has He defeated death by dying, the grave by rising, but now He sits in all authority, having everything subject to Him, waiting for the day when every knew will bow and call Him Lord, when final judgement and perfect justice is served to those who have not obeyed the Gospel.

His death, burial, and resurrection make Him our Savior. His ascension makes Him our Lord and King, we have so much to hope in!

“ On the cross, Jesus wins by losing. Triumphs through defeat. Achieves power through weakness. Comes to wealth by giving all away.” – Keller

No other leader of any other religion has suffered or died for sins. Many have suffered and died because of their own sins, but never for the sins of others. Absolutely none.

None have risen again from the dead either.

Only Jesus Christ is the suffering victor. Only in His death do we have life. Only in His life, power, and victory do we have hope in this world despite our own defeats, trials, and persecutions. All the injustice of the world is meets its Champion in the Cross, its justification in the Resurrection, and it’s end at the Judgement throne of Christ. All is redeemed in Jesus’s work.

The question that remains is, what will you do with Jesus did for you?


Living Lives That Promote The Gospel – 1 Peter 2:9-12

What is the greatest commercial or advertisement you have ever seen?


Was it the product that inspired you or just the cleverness of the ad?


Good marketing has a way of grabbing your attention, and pointing out what you so desperately need in your life to make yourself complete!


Too often, many churches present Christianity in ways that would make some marketing gurus cringe. It’s like we are trying to sell something that people don’t really need, but can be talked into – **but wait, there’s more!**


As believers we are called to promote the gospel, but we’re not supposed to sell it. It’s not a commodity. It’s not a service, and we are not call center operators hoping to convince someone into ‘trying our product with a 90 day return policy if their aren’t satisfied….’


What we do need to do is believe the message ourselves, and obey the gospel ourselves, live holy lives in Christ Jesus, and live lives that promote God’s glory, grace, love and truth – this is the calling of v 9b, His excellence.


  • WHO ARE WE? v.9-10 


Knowing who truly are can be incredibly helpful in defining what you are supposed to do!


A plumber plumbs, a builder builds, an artist creates art… We see all these roles are defined in their very titles and descriptions.


Peter declares the believers he is writing to, to have various titles. Chosen people, royal priesthood, holy nation, a purchased possession.


They are all vitally important for us to grasp if we want to live lives that promote the gospel, because we are declared all these ‘things’ SO we can proclaim the good news of Who God is.( v9b).


~ chosen people~


When you are chosen for something, what is that choice based on? Bias? Merit? Can you effect your ‘choosing’ when you are chosen?


We often see God’s election the same way we see our politic system works. We vote based on preference, and the candidate we most like.


We are a chosen race, Peter says, but it has nothing to with our having run a great and convincing campaign where we beat the lesser candidates. We haven’t earned this. We certainly don’t deserve this. It’s purely God’s grace that makes it even possible for us to have redemption available to us. We are chosen by God, in Christ Jesus, by faith alone.


Being chosen in this sense then should most definitely not give us a superiority complex. We are chosen based on Jesus’ superiority, not ours! (1:1-2)


~ a royal priesthood~


Peter is building on a statement he made in v5 about us being ‘a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Christ’.


Being priests isn’t as bloodthirsty as you might think – the sacrifices we offer though, are ourselves, and our acts of service and worship ( Romans 12:1-2).These are only acceptable because Christ, the Great High Priest went before us and offered Himself. So we are priests in that we have been called to acts of self-sacrificial service to God’s glory.


~ a holy nation ~


We are a set apart community, called out by God to be special, not just in His sight, but in the sight of others also. More on that later though.


We are called out because of God’s greatness and holiness not our own! Just as with Israel – Deut 7:6-8.


~ a purchased possession ~


It’s amazing how something completely useless and mundane can become an invaluable and sought after prize just because of who it has belonged to. You would have no interest in buying my old shoes. They would be useless to you. But if I were to offer you a pair of shoes once worn by your favorite celebrity, then it would most likely be a bidding war!


We are valuable because we have been made in God’s image, each individual human being has that value, but as believers in Jesus, we have value, because He has redeemed us from our slavery to sin to belong to Him.


The ordinary is invaluable when possessed by the extraordinary.


We have been purchased with the precious blood of Jesus Christ. It doesn’t anymore personal or extraordinary than that! ( 1:18-21)


  • WHAT WERE WE? v.9b-10 


Peter gives us insight into our condition outside of the grace of God in our lives.


  • We were called out of darkness into light
  • We once were not a people, but now we are God’s
  • We were once under wrath, now we are under mercy


All of these positional things about who we were bring us a contrast to who we are in Christ in the preceding verse.


Who we are is owed, Peter is stating, entirely to Christ.


Whatever our current blessing, we only see it as a blessing because we have had intimate knowledge and experience with the alternative.


Employment, health, finance, whatever it is, accepting where you are can only happen when you have a proper awareness of where you’ve come from.


I am married, but I can only say that because I was once single.


I have nieces and nephews, but I can only say that because I once had siblings that teased me.


We used to be nobodies, with nothing, going nowhere. Now we belong to God, Who has given us an identity, a home, and a meaning in life. We are His!



  • WHERE ARE WE? v.11 


Being aware of who you are and where you have come from gives you a purpose and meaning for where you are!


If you don’t know who you are or where you’ve come from, theres a fair chance you have some memory issues, or you are in denial. Neither is a good position to be in, physically or spiritually.


Peter says we are exiles, sojourners. This is a very important point that we should not miss.


We are not meant for this world as it is now. We have been created, chosen and we are being equipped for another kingdom. This world is not our home – we’re just a passing through!


This perspective means we are going to have live like we were made for somewhere else, and that we want that somewhere else to be visible to others in how we live here.


When we know the difference between what is temporary and what is eternal, we can act with much more purpose and meaning in the here and now.





God’s grace in action in our lives should be seen, and Peter points this out.


There are two clear and explicit instructions for  all believers – ABSTAIN and KEEP.


How do we fight the war against the flesh and our sinful desires that seek to destroy our soul (v11)? What is the best practical weapon?


We so often try to narrow in on specific bible verses that we can pull out when under temptation. We pray, we trust the finished work of Christ, we confess, we claim the promises, we claim the blood of Christ, the victory of the Resurrection….and we so often end up in the same position we started out trying to avoid.


What really works in the battle against sexual addiction and porn?


What really works in the battle against excessive eating or drinking?


What really works against all these battles with our passions that we have?


Peter says, “ABSTAIN”.


We don’t give abstinence it’s rightful place sometimes. Peter is saying it’s one of the main practical and attainable methods we can utilize, but we miss it for our spiritualizing of issues that can sometimes just be overcome with saying “No”.


Theres a lot to be said for spiritual disciplines, and we should not neglect them, but God has given us brains and willpower. We should never use our ‘unique’ situation, or our checkered past as excuses for sinful behavior. These things certainly affect and influence our behavior, but we always have the choice to abstain from sinful action.


The next time that bothersome person is annoying us, and reminds of that other person in our person that hurt us, we can choose in that moment…will I punch them in the face….gossip about them when they walk away….or will I just say, ‘No’…


The same applies for any who face pressure to compromise purity because ‘everyone else is doing it’. Well, it’s not about what other’s are choosing – what will you choose ?A moment’s pleasure for a lifetime of baggage, or God’s good and perfect plan for your life?


There are always outside influences that we cannot control in our lives, but what can control is ourselves…


The other instruction Peter gives is to “KEEP”.


We are to keep are conduct honorable among non-believers.


This is so when they falsely accuse us, our honorable behavior and good deeds will not only prove their accusations ridiculous and unfounded, but they will actually have to acknowledge and glorify God when they see our good deeds. ( Matthew 5:14-16). Our works are for God’s glory – not ours. For the praise of God, not men.


Abstaining from passions of the flesh, and keeping our conduct honorable seem to restrict us into a form of works-based sanctification. But striving after holiness is not legalism. It’s what we are called to ( 1:15,16) as God’s children.


We seem to divide other believers into ‘this’ or ‘that’ group. The group that belongs, and the one that doesn’t..


Peter’s call for the early believers was that their faith would see them living lives in such a way where they were proclaiming and promoting the gospel that saved them, and it wasn’t by being ‘that’ kind of people, it was by being ‘this’ kind – the kind of people that realize they are chosen, that they are priests, holy and set apart, a purchased people.


People with that in mind know not only who they are, and what they have been saved from and to, but also where they are and what is required of them in their current situation.


These kind of people that are being described proclaim and promote the excellencies of Him Who called them out of darkness, and they certainly don’t promote themselves, or their particular way of doing things.


These kind of people live with such integrity that the devil’s best attack, and evil slander just can’t stick because they are so clearly focussed on serving God and loving others.


We need to be the kind of people that Peter is talking about.


We are the people Peter is talking about, that is if we trust in Christ alone.


We need to live out God’s grace in our lives.


The best defense against attack is to proclaim God’s excellency, Christ’s supremacy and to be aware of how much we all need the mercy of God in this warring world!

Wholly Holy In Jesus – 1 Peter 1:13-16

If you were to sum up what God requires of those who follow Him as His children, what word would you use? Obedience? Faith? Trust? Dedication? Holiness may just be a word that sums all those up, but what is holiness? Is it enough for us to think that it is that God requires us to do certain things, and not do others?


In our time and generation it seems we have lost not only our definition of holiness, but our desire for it also. We love the Gospel, and the freedom it brings, but we neglect the fact that holiness that is meant to go hand-in-hand with salvation. We treat holiness as an elective rather than a calling or requirement.

“There is a gap between our love of the Gospel and our love for holiness.” – Kevin DeYoung

Holiness is more than a set of rules to govern our behavior. It’s more than outward expressions of inward efforts, it’s outward and Godward expressions of an inward change of heart. Without heart change, there is no true holiness.Heart change only comes through faith in Christ, so we shouldn’t think that our holiness would come from anywhere or anyone else. Holiness for the child of God, is a privilege. We don’t ‘have to’, we ‘get to’.


  1. HOLINESS – as a state of mind v13.


Any outward action is usually initiated by an inward thought process to begin with. Some may beg to differ, and cite examples where people clearly didn’t think before they acted!


Holiness, for the follower of Jesus, begins in the mind before it can be acted out in life in a genuine way.


There are two ways to prepare your mind for an event or a goal you want to accomplish.


The first way is to seek a proper understanding of all that you are getting yourself into, studying it out and knowing what is required. Many of us have known that feeling of studying our syllabus and knowing what is required seems far and above what we think we are capable of.


The second way to prepare your mind goes beyond just studying something out purely for your own intellectual benefit, but to do it to be ready for action. Our thinking is not done just so we can feel accomplished in that alone, but so that we can act on what we know.


In preparing our minds, Peter points out, we show that are not contenting ourselves with blind faith. We’re not settling for a faith that is purely based on emotion or experience, but we have processed what it means for us.


This teaches us we should never belittle the place of our intellect in faith and discipleship, and that we should never settle to profess a faith we do not own ourselves. We should not be happy with an ‘unexamined faith’ or a faith that has not costed us anything.


In preparing our minds for action, we become sober-minded, disciplined and self-controlled about what we think about, which leads us to the same sort of action. We plan to act with purpose, and we can only plan with purpose when we know what our purpose is, and as believers, the purpose of our salvation is holiness. ( Ephesians 1:3,4).


Self-discipline, control, sacrifice, all lead us to live like we know that our hope is completely secure in the grace that is found in Jesus, and when we live like that, we are being controlled by the Spirit, and not under the influence of the flesh.This is what sober-mindedness means, to be controlled by the Spirit, and not being swayed back and forth by every wind of insecurity or temptation of the flesh.




  1. HOLINESS – as obedience to God in ALL we do v14-15.


The call of Peter’s epistle is to living hope (1:3), but what happens when life seems to distort our calling? How should we live when hope fades and the world, the flesh and the devil seek to defeat us at every turn when we start to tire of the race or holiness?


Holiness as a way of life can be overwhelming if we approach it wrongly. It can tire us in a world that rewards selfish living, but our call is to selfless obedience of God’s Word.


Holiness, submission, obedience. These are all ‘dirty’ words to us it seems. We don’t like to hear about them or talk about them. We don’t even want to read about them in the Bible either. We have an aversion to be asking to do anything that might open us up to persecution. Besides, we’ve only ever seen holiness taught and presented wrongly, and there is no right way to do it in a human sense, and any mention of it makes us call out “LEGALISM!”.


The call of the gospel cannot not be obeyed if we wish to enter the kingdom of God. We can’t be saved without that obedience firstly. That’s a big enough step to take for some. Then to realize that being in Christ makes you set apart and holy is confronting. We are called to transformation, not conformation, and our transformation comes about by obedience.


Peter says we can no longer obey the passions we used to give ourselves over to. That we should be wise, not only in our thinking, but also in our actions and conduct in everyday life.


We used to be ignorant of what God desired for us, and what was available in Him, but now, as His children, we are aware and alive to all that we have been granted access to by faith in Christ. We being called to be wise in the Gospel, and not ignorant in our sins and weaknesses.


We have choices to make every day, but Peter’s instruction isn’t to cripple us into making no choices at all, for fear of making the ‘unholy’ one, but he simply pointing out, in your own heart, you know what you have been saved from, you know your sin, you know your weaknesses, don’t think they are not still sinful just because Christ has made you righteous. Put those former things to death, and if you can’t kill them in thought, kill them in action by being holy in your conduct. Kill your former passions by submitting to the work of the Spirit in your life. Don’t think that you’ll win all your battles with your former passions in an instant either, sanctification is a process as well as a declaration.

“Holiness is not measured in one mighty act of valor or martyrdom. It is of small things of which a great life is made up.” Horatio Bonar

Victories in your battle for holiness will only come from the transforming power and wisdom that God provides, not by obeying human standards or traditions, but by obeying God’s commands.


Maybe holiness for you might mean giving up some vices, but that’s not to say that your vices will be my vices or vice-versa!


It’s common to equate holiness with the prohibition of certain things that we consider ‘exceptionally’ sinful.


When I grew up, holiness meant you didn’t drink, smoke, swear, or have sex. You went to church, obeyed your parents, and didn’t question authority. For a young kid, all those things seemed very attainable, and holiness was within my grasp as a pre-teen. Then I grew up, and when ‘life’ comes at us with all it’s tests and temptations, we soon realize holiness doesn’t fit into our box as neatly as we thought it did.


It’s not that all those things previously stated are good or bad things in themselves that defines whether they are ‘holy’ or not, it comes down to what Scripture says, what God says. Obeying what God says leads to holiness, and we must obey the Gospel first before the rest will ever make any sense to us at all.


God says getting drunk is sinful. So is abusing your body in any way, whether by excessive consumption of drink or food, or by engaging in sexual activity outside God’s ordained boundary of marriage.


Going to church, obeying your parents and listening to authorities are all great things,but they won’t save you, and they won’t make you holy. They may make you a ‘goody-two-shoes’, but holiness isn’t achieved by our personally enforced or any humanly enforced inhibitions or prohibitions, but by inward change of heart that comes from personal faith and relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.


Salvation leads us to godly repentance and godly obedience. We place ourselves willing under God and His Word. Nothing else matters. His graces saves, and leads us to obey.


Thought. Speech. Deed.Every area of our life should now be under His juristic control.


The reason we don’t want to change our behavior sometimes is not because we doubt the fact of the availability of salvation, but because we do not understand God’s holiness. His whole purpose of saving us was to make us holy, not to make us comfortable in sin or to be free to sin. He saved us to set us free from sin, and to make us blameless before Him. ( Ephesians 1:3-4). We weren’t saved to glorify ourselves, but for the praise and glory of God.


We need to start living like what we do matters. Not that we work to be saved, but the salvation of our souls creates a lot of work. Transformation can be hard going, but it’s God who is working in you, so you can work it out.


We live holy lives, because holiness is eternal. We are called to it from before the foundation of the world, and in this life, all that we do, if done in holiness as a result of our salvation, will last, we are planting the seeds we have first received. ( 1:22-23)


3. HOLINESS – as the nature required for God’s children. v16

God is Holy, and He can’t not be holy. It is His very nature, so any holiness that exists can only come from Him.


Peter quotes from Leviticus 11:44-45, “Be you holy, for I am holy.”, and again, we might just be prone to dismiss this whole notion of holiness as a requirement. Surely God didn’t really mean that?!


But then we stop and see what He actually says, He doesn’t say ‘Be holy LIKE I am holy’, that would be impossible. But He says, because He is holy, we should be holy.




Because we have been adopted into the family of God. We are His children, and being His children, we now have been given something of His nature. But far more than that, we stand as His children, because we stand ultimately in Christ, Who was the only completely obedient and holy child of God.


Because we stand in Christ before God, we are declared as righteous, and holy before Him, and this is the only way for us to be truly and completely holy, to be completely in Jesus.


All the power you need to do so comes from Him Who calls you to begin with – He does not call us to something we cannot accomplish. He knows what we need and provides what we need. ( 2 Peter 1:3-11).


“ There is a gap between our love for the gospel and our love for godliness. This must change. It’s not pietism, legalism, or fundamentalism to take holiness seriously. It’s the way of all those who have been called to a holy calling by a Holy God.” – DeYoung

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑