It’s been awhile since the last Online Bible Study (summer is super busy), but let’s jump back into 1 Peter as we are talking about suffering and baptism.
Reflect on this passage 1 Peter 3:17-22 (ESV)
17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.
18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, 20 because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. 21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.
After reading this passage in context, jot down some of your initial thoughts.
Jot down anything that you found interesting or important.
Take a few minutes in prayer asking God for wisdom and understanding.
Let me share with you my own thoughts on these passages
Do Not Let Today’s Suffering Affect Your Spirit
Suffering can happen, even to the most the faithful Christians. If you hear someone tell you that suffering doesn’t happen to people of faith, then you need to have them open a Bible app on their phone and show them 1 Peter 3:17.
Whether you are faithful or a heathen, suffering can happen. Jesus says in Matthew 5:45b “For he makes his sun rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
Now if suffering comes, I would rather suffer for righteousness for that suffering will only be temporary. For I rather suffer for a short time in my mortal life, than suffer in my eternal life forever. See the suffering of Christ which lead to His death did not destroy Him completely. His body was damaged, but His spirit remained. And as my Lord and Savior, I will choose my body to suffer and not allow it to damage my spirit.
Question: In what way are you suffering today? Have you allowed it to affect your spirit as well?
I am from a sect of Christianity where we put a high priority into immersion, but I want to make something clear.
Baptism means nothing without faith, which the Christian faith can only exist through God’s grace. Paul says in Ephesians 2: 8 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.”
But every person recorded in the Bible, once a person had faith they were immediately immersed in water that they called baptism.
Baptism is a huge theme in the New Testament, and Peter makes the connection between God washing the world of death and bringing Noah and his family into a new life through water.
Unfortunately, thousands of years of theology and denominational tinkering has made many Christians miss this important step of obedience found in the New Testament. Like suffering with our Lord and Savior, we also can be figuratively resurrected like Jesus through baptism.
Again, I am not saying baptism alone saves us because baptism without faith is just taking a bath. But when we accept God’s and put our faith in God, then baptism brings us closer to being Christ-like.
You can easily say that I am biased because of the churches I am part of, but I can tell you that I think baptism is essential because the New Testament say’s it is important. One cannot ignore the number of references found in the early church. Baptism appears more times in the New Testament than other important subjects that we stand firm on, so let’s make sure we don’t lose the significance of this great spiritual discipline.
In verse 22, Peter says that Jesus has power everything. He has power over angels. He has power over the authorities and other powers. Jesus is above us all.
Our children may not know about suffering, but if they do, understanding that Jesus is in control can help our children handle that suffering better. We can teach them that this world is not our home and although we may not be having a good day (or life), that there is something greater on the other side. So let’s live for each day in anticipation of the eternal day ahead.
But if you children have not felt suffering, this can also be a good scripture to help us understand whom we are praying to every night. We are not praying to somebody in heaven; we are praying to the ultimate authority of our life.
Question: From this section of scripture, what do you find helpful to teach your kids?