“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit” (1 Peter 3:18, NKJV).
Peter begins his letter by identifying himself as an apostle of Jesus Christ. His first words in the body of his letter have to do with God’s mercy in Christ and the living hope that is found in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Peter will close his epistle with the benediction: “Peace to you all who are in Christ Jesus.” Jesus is the subject and focal point throughout.
So it is no surprise that Peter in addressing our conduct as aliens and sojourners brings to bear an overarching view of Jesus Christ. He offers three vantage points.
Jesus is our redemption and our reconciliation. “Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit” (1 Pet. 3:18). Jesus is the Christ of God, sent from His side to stand in our place, suffer the punishment we deserve, and gain a victory we could not. His goal was not merely a gift from God but God Himself and a restored relationship with Him.
Jesus is the only way of salvation. “When once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water” (1 Pet. 3:20). There was not a different way of salvation in the Old Testament. Rather, portraits of salvation are previews of God’s work in Christ. The flood of Noah’s day that brought destruction to a sinful humanity lifted to safety those placed in the ark by God. That ark pointed to Christ as God’s only provision.
Jesus is the message of the gospel. Peter’s mention of baptism and the authority given Christ by virtue of His resurrection (3:21-22) reflect the Kingdom Commission given by Jesus (Matt. 28:18-20). All of the blessings of the new covenant are bound up in Christ and represented by baptism, and are received by grace through faith. As Christ preached in the days of Noah, so He preaches in our day to come to Him and be saved.
REFLECTION: Christ is the heart of the gospel prefigured, procured, and proclaimed.
Unless noted otherwise, Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.