The Spirits In Prison
1 Peter 3:18 “For Christ also hath once
suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he
might bring us to God, being put to death in the
flesh, but quickened by the spirit:
19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.”
1. One Atonement
2. One Hundred Twenty Years
3. One Baptism
1. One Atonement
Verse eighteen: “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the spirit:"
Jesus Christ, Who is God come in the flesh, “suffered for sins” once. “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;” [Hebrews 10:12].
He went to the Cross once … to atone for [our] sins.
This ONE atonement accomplished what was necessary to make reconciliation for [our] sins.
This ONE atonement made satisfaction or reparation for [our] sins.
When Jesus Christ the PERFECT Lamb of God atoned for our sins by shedding His blood on the Cross of Mount Calvary, it was a FINISHED WORK. “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.” [John 19:30] It has now been finished for almost two thousand years.
Here is a warning for you. Beware of any religion “in the times of the Gentiles” [which is the time we live today] that promotes or maintains any repetitive [or ongoing] sacrifice [called the mass].
Let me move on now. Jesus went to the Cross to be “put to death in the flesh” … once and for all … so that He might bring us to God. This is called reconciliation in Romans chapter five, verse ten. “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” [Romans 5:10]
Now there are two parts to this reconciliation.
1. God to man.
2. Man to God.
God, the Son, did His part nearly two thousand years ago on Mount Calvary.
Now we have our part in reconciliation to complete. We can see this truth clearly in First Corinthians chapter five, verse twenty: “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.” [2 Corinthians 5:20]
We need to be reconciled to God. How? We can be reconciled to God By receiving His Own dear SON. [John 1:12].
Verse nineteen: “By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;”
You say, “When did Jesus Christ do this? What prison?"
Here is the answer. It is located in the book of the Ephesians in chapter four, verses eight and nine: “Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?” [Ephesians 4:8-9]
Those that were “captivity captive” are the Old Testament saints that have been waiting for “the day of atonement” [Leviticus 23:27] in “Abraham's bosom”: [Luke 16:22-23] [which is also called “paradise”] [Luke 23:43].
After Jesus Christ died on the cross of Calvary HE descended “into the lower parts of the earth” and “preached unto the spirits in prison” and then took them to Heaven.
2. One Hundred Twenty Years
Verse twenty: “Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.”
God strived with man in the years before the world-wide flood. “And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.” [Genesis 6:3]
Even though “God saw” in the days of Noah “that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” [Genesis 6:5]
It was His “longsuffering” that permitted Noah and his three sons enough time [one hundred and twenty years] to build an ark whereby all they [who were willing to come inside the ark] could be saved from death from the world-wide flood designed by God to destroy the world.
A “hundred and twenty years” is a very long time to put up with the wickedness of men. Remember, this same “hundred and twenty years” was God’s grace in allowing these same men to view, as it was being prepared, THE ARK OF SALVATION.
This salvation was freely offered to them. All they had to do was come inside! Amen!
Yea! God is “longsuffering” towards man. This is all so very evident throughout the Bible. Search the Scriptures, my friend!
Even though we are all sinners, God is waiting for us to come to “repentance” to receive His dear Son into our hearts and be saved. God is “longsuffering”.
Do you doubt me in this? Well, just believe the BOOK!
You can see this thing for yourself in Second Peter chapter three, verse nine: “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” [2 Peter 3:9]
3. One Baptism
Verse twenty-one: “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:”
At the very instant that a person gets saved he is baptized by God, the Holy Spirit, into the body of Christ. “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” [1 Corinthians 12:13]
The Spirit in this verse is a PERSON. Do you see the capital “S”? Remember, it is God Who wrote the BOOK! We just to need to believe it! Amen!
Furthermore, this baptism is not the baptism that is found in the book of Acts of the Apostles chapters 8:36, 9:18, 10:47, 16:15, or 18:8, because this baptism in First Corinthians chapter twelve is not dependent upon men nor does it involve water at all. This “operation of God” involves the Spirit of God burying [or immersing] the believer into Jesus Christ’s death and burial then raising him in the newness of life. “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” [Romans 6:3-4]
We see this by the illumination of the Holy Ghost in the book of Colossians chapter two in verse twelve. “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.” [Colossians 2:12]
I emphasize this is totally an operation of God not an operation of man. Water is not within a county mile of this baptism. The baptism located in book of Acts of the Apostles chapters 8:36, 9:18, 10:47, 16:15, or 18:8 and other places in the Bible involve a water baptism that occurs sometime after the spiritual baptism.
One mirrors the other! Do not get this thing confused. When we get baptized by water [immersion] [publicly] before the believers in the local New Testament church, we are identifying ourselves with Jesus Christ before God and before all men. Water baptism pictures and mirrors the spiritual baptism which has already occurred in the believer’s heart.
The very first act of a true believer in Jesus Christ after he is saved [which involves the operation of God … being “baptized into one body”] … is to be baptized in water [immersion].
The story of the jailor’s salvation in Philippi [in Acts chapter sixteen, verses thirty through thirty-three] shows the distinction and proper order: “And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.”
[The Spirit baptism occurred.]
“And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.” [Acts 16:30-33]
[The water baptism occurs.] Amen!