1 PETER CHAPTER 3:13-21

IS THERE ANOTHER CHANCE TO BE SAVED AFTER THIS LIFE?

1 Peter 3:13-21 has often been used to falsely prove that Christ preached salvation to people after they died in order to give them one more chance to be saved. It has also been used to falsely prove that water baptism is a requirement for salvation.

However, proper interpretation of God's Word states differently. Since Scripture, (the original text), is without error and therefore does not contradict itself....(Ps 19:7; 2 Ti 3:16; Jn 10:35; Mt 5:17-18; 24:35; 2 Pet 1:20-21).................... then let the clear passages in Scripture relative to a particular doctrine dictate which direction the difficult passages should take. So let's begin examining 1 Peter 3:13-21 utilizing the built-in principles of interpretation.

[1 Pet 3:13-17]:

(v. 13) Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?

(v. 14) But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed.

'Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.'[Isa 8:12]

(v. 15) But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,

(v 16) keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

(v. 17) "It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil."

"It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil." = This phrase indicates that being a faithful witness will involve hardships and persecution. Compare the following passage:

[Phil 1:29]:

"For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for Him."

The verses in Philippians and 1 Peter indicate that there are to be times of suffering for His sake - for the sake of the gospel. Verses 13-17 of chapter 3 speak of living for Christ, especially as a trustworthy witness, of being a creditable ambassador of Jesus Christ. Then what you say may be taken seriously as the truth from God's Word:

[2 Cor 5:20]:

"We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God."

"Be reconciled to God" = As believers we can live like the world or live in obedience to God's will so as to set an example to others of the ambassador for Christ that we are.

[1 Pet 3:17-18]:

(v. 17) "It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

(v. 18) For Christ died for sins once for all, the Righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit,"

"For Christ died for sins once for all.....to bring you to God" =

"For" = because, refers back to the previous verse which says that "It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil." It is better to take up your cross and suffer as a faithful Christian because Christ died for the sins of everyone in the whole world, (1 Jn 2:2), to bring you to God, i.e., to reconcile you to God unto eternal life. The reconciliation here refers to salvation unto eternal life. So how is one brought to God as a result of Christ dying for the sins of all men? And what is the work that a man must do to have eternal life? Our Lord answered these questions when He spoke the following words:

[Jn 6:26-29]:

(v.26) "Jesus answered, 'I tell you the truth, you are looking for Me, not because you say miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.

(v. 27) Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On Him God the Father has placed His seal of approval.'''

[Jesus is referring to Himself as "the Son of Man" a title which is reserved for God alone, (ref. Dan 7:13). And our Lord states that it is through Him that eternal life is received]:

(v. 28) Then they asked Him, 'What must we do to do the works God requires?'

[The next verse is a clear statement that tells a person how to have eternal life. This verse clarifies what is being taught in 1 Peter 3:18]:

(v. 29) Jesus answered, 'The work of God...

[the work of God which is required of you to have eternal life, (v. 28)]

(v. 29 cont.) "Jesus answered, 'The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent' "

So it is faith alone in Christ alone which saves - and this is the only way a person can be saved:

[Compare Jn 14:6]:

"Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.' "

[Compare Ro 5:10, 15]:

(v.10) "For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

["we shall be saved by His life." = saved by His life - not by anyone else's life or by our own deeds]

[Ro 5:10, 15 cont.]:

(v. 15) "but the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one [Adam] the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many."

"but the free gift" = notice that eternal life is a free gift - you do nothing but receive it by faith and you cannot do anything which would cause you to lose the gift.

No one goes to heaven by anything he does or by what anyone else does for him. Only "through" Christ - trusting alone in Christ alone as Savior - can an individual attain the free gift of eternal life. Many people tend to misinterpret verses 19-21 of 1 Peter chapter 3 which follow shortly as saying that water baptism is a requirement for salvation unto eternal life. But we have already determined so far that man can contribute nothing toward his salvation.

[1 Pet 1:17-18 cont.]:

(v. 18 cont.) "For Christ died for sins once for all, the Righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit."

"He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit."= In the process of suffering for the sins of the whole world our Lord was put to death in the body - He was put to physical death.......................

and He was put to death spiritually as well while He suffered the penalty of the sins of the whole world.

Spiritual death = separation from God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. (Compare Ps 22:1-2; Mt 27:46; Isa 53:6, 10). Then our Lord was made alive in His human spirit by the work of God the Holy Spirit, (Lk 23:46). Recall that since the Lord Jesus Christ is God, (Phil 2:6), Who set to the side the exercising of His diety to become a Man also, (Phil 2:6-8), all of this has to do with our Lord's humanity and not His diety.

So to summarize, the passage in 1 Peter chapter 3 continues in verse 18 on the subject of believers serving and suffering for Christ especially in light of what our Savior did for them on the cross. The word "for" = "because" begins verse 18 in order to continue in the train of thought that a believer should serve our Lord even to the point of suffering because of what our Lord did for him:

"For Christ died for sins once for all, the Righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God", (v. 18) =

Our Lord died for the sins of the whole world, He being the only sinless Man - the Righteous One - Who died for all of mankind, (1 Jn 2:2), everyone of whom are unrighteous, (Ro 3:12), in order that men may be brought, i.e., have an opportunity to be reconciled to God unto eternal life by faith alone in Christ alone - by doing nothing but trusting in the free gift of salvation through the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. The next verse in 1 Peter speaks of what our Lord did in ages past.

[1 Pet 3:18-19]:

(v. 18) "For Christ died for sins once for all, the Righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit.

(v. 19) through Whom [the Spirit, (v. 18)] also He having gone and proclaimed to the spirits now in prison,"

"through Whom [the Spirit] also He [Christ, v.18] having gone" = to earth in times past - in the days of Noah, v.20.

Let's restate verse 19 and insert a number of phrases which clarify what the Greek text is saying.

(v. 19 cont.) "through Whom [the Spirit, (v. 18b)] also He [Jesus Christ, (v. 18a)] having gone [to earth in the times of Noah, (v. 20)] proclaimed [the gospel of salvation] to the spirits [i.e., to the condemned unbelievers who are now in spirit form] in [the] prison [of Hades as a result of their disbelief in the gospel]

(v. 19 Greek)

"en ....ps ......kai .tois ......en phulake pneumasin

"thru whom also to the ..in .prison ...spirits ......

poreutheis.......ekeruen"

having gone ....he proclaimed"

"en ....ps = "through Whom" = "ps" = 'which' or 'Whom' is a demonstrative pronoun which is added in order to continue the thought of the preceding clause: that "Christ died for sins once for all"...[and then was]..."made alive by the Spirit", (v. 18).

Then this Holy Spirit it was "through Whom" our Lord proclaimed the gospel through Noah in times past. Cp Lk 7:43, 47 - same word, same rendering of "ps".

In 1 Pet 3:18 "ps" therefore refers to our Lord Jesus Christ and His activities for the sake of humanity through the Spirit and is properly rendered "through Whom"

[C. I. Scofield states, 'The New Scofield Study Bible', New York Oxford University Press, 1967, p. 1298]:

"This means that Christ preached by the Holy Spirit through Noah to unsaved people in O.T. times (cp. 1:10-11), their spirits being now in prison."

[Compare 1 Pet 1:10-11]:

(v. 10) "Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care,

(v. 11) trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow."

[Notice that it was Christ - the Spirit of Christ in the prophets who proclaimed the message of salvation just as the Spirit of Christ in Noah proclaimed through Noah the message of salvation in his time shortly before the worldwide flood]

en phulake = "in prison", feminine = Torments, a compartment in Hades into which an unbeliever is cast after his death, (Lk 16:23-28). At the end of history Hades will be cast with all inhabitants into the Lake of Fire, (Hell), (Lk 16:28; Rev 20:14). The phrase 'in prison' refers to the spirits who are now, at the time of Peter's writing, in prison - who, because of their disbelief in the gospel in the time of Noah are now in Hades Torments. This phrase "in prison" therefore identifies to whom our Lord was preaching - to those whose spirits are now in Hades Torments, not when He preached. It identifies, as well, the consequences of their disbelief which is to be cast into Hades Torments. The time when our Lord preached to the spirits is determined by Noah's physical presence. This is derived from the context of the next verse, (20), and from other passages. For example, Heb 9:27 teaches that a man has one life to live and according to whom he has placed his faith in will be how he is judged. There are no second chances after death for that man or anyone else in his stead to make up for shortcomings in his one and only physical lifetime:

[Heb 9:27]:

"And just as it is appointed for all men once to die and after that the certain judgment,"

Dr Robert A Morey states in his book "Death and the Afterlife", Bethany House publishers, Minneapolis, 1984, p.235:

"...the Scriptures never speak of a second chance for repentance after death or resurrection. Instead, after death comes the judgment (Heb. 9:27). James Orr points out that the final judgment in Scripture 'is decisive in its issues. Not a single suggestion is given of a reversal of its decisions in any future age.'

In Christ's parable in Luke 16:19-31, He clearly taught that there was no way for the rich man to escape his sufferings because between the wicked and the righteous 'there is a great chasm fixed, in order that those who wish to come over from here to you may not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.' (v.26)

Christ goes on to warn the rich man that his living brothers only had the opportunity of repentance while they were alive (vv. 29-31).

Throughout Scripture, the issue of salvation is limited to the lifetime of the hearer (Heb. 9:27; 3:15-4:11, etc.).

The urgency of the issue of salvation which was pressed on sinners in apostolic preaching cannot be ignored (2 Cor. 6:1, 2). This urgency can only be understood as being rooted in the conviction that once death takes place, there is no further opportunity for repentance or salvation. As Carl Henry states, the Scriptures are crystal clear that 'a man's fate is finally settled at death and that eternal punishment awaits the wicked.' ....the Apostle Paul states that for unbelievers there is 'no hope' after they have died, (I Thes 4:13)."

[I Thes 4:13]:

"But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve, as do the rest [unbelievers] who have no hope."

So unbelievers have no hope. Once they die in unbelief there is no hope for eternal life with God in heaven, only an eternity in the Lake of Fire. Therefore, there would be no value in our Lord's proclaiming the gospel of salvation unto eternal life to those who have died and have already crossed over permanently to Hades Torments. Furthermore, there are no passages anywhere in Scripture which teach God proclaiming a salvation message to a resident of Torments in Hades for any reason.

[1 Pet 3:19-20]:

(v. 19 cont.) "through Whom [the Spirit] also He [Jesus Christ] having gone [to earth in the times of Noah] proclaimed [the gospel of salvation] to the spirits [i.e., to the condemned unbelievers who are NOW in spirit form] in [the] prison [of Hades as a result of their disbelief in the gospel]

(v. 20) who [the unbelieving people of Noah's day] disobeyed [i.e., disbelieved in the message of Noah - the proclaimed gospel] long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through [the floating on top of, not the immersion into] water,"

"to the spirits" ="tois pneumasin", neuter. The word "spirits" refers to those unbelievers who rejected the gospel that Christ preached in Noah's time through God the Holy Spirit through the witness of Noah.

The word "spirit" is defined as that part of a man related to worship and divine communion with God. The word soul is defined as that immaterial part of a man which concerns life, action and emotion. The meaning of soul differs from the word spirit. However, since both soul and spirit reflect the immaterial being of a man and are inseparable in the sense that one cannot exist without the other, Scripture often uses the two terms interchangeably with the same functions being ascribed to each as if to say that they are including both in an inseparable unit. Verses which illustrate this are as follows:

[Jn 12:27]:

''' "Now My [Jesus'] soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, 'Father, save Me from this hour?' But for this purpose I came to this hour.'''

[1 Cor 16:18]:

"For they have refreshed my spirit and yours. Therefore acknowledge such men."

[1 Pet 2:11]:

"Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts, which wage war against the soul."

[Jas 5:20]:

"Let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death, and will cover a multitude of sins."

The dead are also referred to as soul or spirit:

[Rev 6:9]:

"And when He broke the fifth seal, I say underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained:"

[Pr 11:13]:

"He [he = "ruach" = spirit] who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets, But he [he = "ruach" = spirit] who is trustworthy conceals a matter."

So it is not unusual to refer to persons who are living or dead as souls or spirits. What Peter is saying in 1 Peter 3:19 is, 'Christ died for the sins of all people to bring all people to God, (v.18). And in Noah's time the preincarnate Jesus Christ proclaimed the gospel through the Holy Spirit through the witness of Noah himself to those who are now in Hades, they having disbelieved, (v. 19). This is similar to stating, 'Years ago, having gone to a nearby college, Tom arranged to give his son, the Bill Smith in Congress, swimming lessons through the swimming coach. The part of the statement which says, 'The Bill Smith in Congress,' is not identifying the time when the swimming instructions were given but the person himself. The swimming lessons were not given to Bill Smith when he was in Congress, they were given to Bill Smith - the Bill Smith in Congress - when he was a little boy years ago. Similarly, it says in 1 Pet 3:19, Christ proclaimed the gospel through the Holy Spirit to those of Noah's time who are now in spirit form in the prison of Hades Torments.

[1 Pet 3:19-20 cont.]:

(v. 19 cont.) "through Whom [the Spirit] also He [Jesus Christ] having gone [to earth in the times of Noah] proclaimed [the gospel of salvation] to the spirits [i.e., to the condemned unbelievers who are now in spirit form] in [the] prison [of Hades as a result of their disbelief in the gospel]

So "in prison" indicates to whom it was that the Lord through Noah preached. He preached to "the spirits" who are now "in" Hades - "prison". The verse does not indicate that the Lord preached to them when they were in Hades. The next chapter in 1 Peter has a very similar passage which also identifies a number of people to whom the gospel was preached while they were physically alive on the earth but are now dead:

[1 Pet 4:5-6 AMPLIFIED]:

(v. 5) "But they will have to give an account to Him Who is ready to judge and pass sentence on the living and the dead.

["But they [who lead a carnal life, (vv. 3-4) - believers and unbelievers alike] will have to give an account to Him..." = Believers at the Judgment Seat of Christ "will have to give an account" of their lives for rewards or lack of rewards in heaven, (1 Cor 3:11-15). Unbelievers "will have to give an account" of their lives for degrees of punishment in Hell at the Great White Throne Judgment, (Rev 20:11-15)]

[1 Pet 4:5-6 AMPLIFIED cont.]:

(v. 6) "For this is why the good news (the Gospel) was preached [in their lifetime] even to the dead, that though judged in fleshly bodies as men are, they might live in the spirit as God does."

"For this is why the good news (the Gospel) was preached [in their lifetime] even to the dead," =

For this is why the gospel was preached even to individuals in the past who are now dead "that though judged in fleshly bodies as men are," = (the gospel was preached) so that men when they were "in fleshly bodies", i.e., were physically alive, were judged in accordance with their acceptance of that gospel.

The gospel was preached so that "they might" if they accept the gospel of their salvation "live in the spirit as God does.", i.e., have eternal life.

So Christ is ready to judge and pass sentence on the living - those who are physically alive at the time when He judges them: at the end of the Tribulation Period, (Mt 25:31-46); and He will judge those who were once physically alive - who are now dead: believers at the time of their particular judgment - at the Judgment Seat of Christ, (I Cor 3:11-15); and unbelievers at the end of the Millennium at the Great White Throne Judgment, (Rev 20:11).

[1 Pet 3:19-20 cont.]:

(v. 19 cont.) "through Whom [the Spirit] also He [Jesus Christ] having gone [to earth in the times of Noah] proclaimed [the gospel of salvation] to the spirits [i.e., to the condemned unbelievers who are NOW in spirit form] in [the] prison [of Hades as a result of their disbelief in the gospel]

(v. 20) who [the unbelieving people of Noah's day] disobeyed [i.e., disbelieved in the message of Noah - the proclaimed gospel] long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through [the floating on top of, not the immersion into] water,"

(v. 19 Greek)

"en ....ps ......kai .tois ......en phulake pneumasin

"thru whom also to the ..in .prison ...spirits ......

poreutheis.......ekeruen"

having gone ....he proclaimed"

"having gone" = "poreutheis", refers to our Lord "having gone" to earth in preflood days, (v.20), in His preincarnate times, to preach through Noah via the Spirit. The context of verses 19 & 20 focuses upon the times of Noah and not upon the times when the spirits were in Hades. Thus verses 19 & 20 are again proven to indicate that the spirits were in prison after our Lord preached to them through Noah. The Greek word "poreutheis" is a second person singular, masculine, aorist, (past tense), participle, which is translated "having gone". By using the participle form of the past tense it establishes a sequence of events which must occur after the statement of "having gone". The next word in this verse is the Greek word "ekeruen" = "proclaimed" = "He proclaimed" (in the Greek the pronoun "He" is understood by the construction of the verb form which ends in a second person singular ending signifying He, Jesus Christ).

"having gone [He] proclaimed" = So, our Lord, having gone to those who were living in Noah's time, of whom all but 8 are today the spirits who now occupy Hades Torments...........................................

So, our Lord, having gone to those who were living in Noah's time He preached through Noah to them relative to salvation and to deliverance from the coming flood. Scripture supports the fact that our Lord was intimately involved on the earth with humanity throughout history. So the fact that Jesus proclaimed the Gospel through Noah thousands of years before the cross is not unique or unusual: (Compare Ex 13:21-22).

[1 Pet 3:19-20]:

Verse 19, which continues in thought from verse 18 and on into verse 20, sets the stage of an example of our Lord's involvement with humanity even before He came to earth as a Man in Bethlehem:

(v. 19 cont.) "through Whom [the Spirit] also He [Jesus Christ] having gone [to earth in the times of Noah] proclaimed [the gospel of salvation] to the spirits [i.e., to the condemned unbelievers who are NOW in spirit form] in [the] prison [of Hades as a result of their disbelief in the gospel]

(v. 20) who [the unbelieving people of Noah's day] disobeyed [i.e., disbelieved in the message of Noah - the proclaimed gospel] long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through [the floating on top of, not the immersion into] water,"

(v. 19 Greek)

"en ....ps ......kai .tois ......en phulake pneumasin

"thru whom also to the ..in .prison ...spirits ......

poreutheis.......ekeruen

having gone ....he proclaimed"

(v. 20) "apeithesasin .........pote ..........ote ...apax

............[*who] "disobeyed sometime when once

exedecheto .e ......tou Theou makrothumia

was waiting the ...of ..God ...longsuffering

en ........emeraia .Noe .......kataskeuazomenes

in [the] days .......of Noah..[while was] being prepared

kibotou.....eis ..en ......oligai, touteistin okto ..psuchai

[the] ark, .into which few, ....that is .....eight. souls

diesothesan di ..........udatos

were saved .through water

who = the spirits who "apeithesasin" = "disobeyed" = this verb refers back to verse 19 and the word "spirits" which is the subject to which the pronoun 'who' in English clarifies. The "spirits", now being in Hades, are also being referred to as having disobeyed, i.e., desbelieved in our Lord's proclamation of the gospel to them in Noah's time.

"pote ote" = "in time past" = "long ago", in time past in the time of Noah. Notice that this word because of its proximity to the words which follow it, anchors the time when the spirits disobeyed our Lord's proclamation - it was "long ago" - in time past - when? In the days of Noah, not when the spirits were disembodied and in prison in Hades but when those spirits lived in physical bodies during the time of Noah. The action of proclamation and disobedience in these verses continues to focus on the time period of Noah and not on when the spirits are in Hades.

[1 Pet 3:20]:

(v. 20 cont.) who [the unbelieving people of Noah's day] disobeyed [i.e., disbelieved in the message of Noah] long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through [the floating on top of, not the immersion into] water,"

"when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built." = This part of verse 20 strongly indicates that when Christ, in times past, proclaimed the gospel of salvation this proclaiming occurred during the time when Noah was building the ark: the context of verse 19 flows right into verse 20:

(v.19) "in which also [Christ] proclaimed....(v. 20) ..long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built."

"In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through [the] water," =

di ..................udatos

through [the]water" =

Just as the flood waters drowned every living and unbelieving human being on the face of the earth so these same waters saved the eight in the ark by floating the ship safely above the rising streams. So Noah and his family:

"were saved through [the] water" = the waters actually saved Noah and his family in the ark because those flood waters which drowned all the unbelievers also floated the ark with Noah and his family above the danger of drowning.

From verse 19 which flows into verse 20 we have:

(v. 19 Greek)

"en ....ps ......kai .tois ......en phulake pneumasin

"thru whom also to the ..in .prison ...spirits ......

poreutheis.......ekeruen"

having gone ....he proclaimed"

to those who are now in prison, (Hades Torments),

(v. 20) "apeithesasin .........pote ..........ote ...apax

............[*who] "disobeyed sometime when once

exedecheto .e ......tou Theou makrothumia

was waiting the ...of ..God ...longsuffering

en ........emeraia .Noe .......kataskeuazomenes

in [the] days .......of Noah..[while was] being prepared

kibotou.....eis ..en ......oligai, touteistin okto ..psuchai

[the] ark, .into which few, ....that is .....eight. souls

diesothesan di ..........udatos

were saved .through water

[*who] "disobeyed (in time past, long ago) = who were living in time past who disobeyed.

Combining this thought as it was written by Peter in verses 19 and 20, we have, 'to those who are now in prison who were living in time past and who disobeyed the gospel of salvation.'

"disobeyed" = i.e., disbelieved. To disobey the gospel can only mean to DISbelieve in it:

[2 Thes 1:8]:

"He will punish those who do not know God, that is to say, who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus."

["that is to say" = "kai"]

Compare 1 Pet 1:18-22, 2:6-8 and 1 Pet 4:17 which teach that to obey the gospel is to believe it, to disobey the gospel is to disbelieve it. Compare Eph 2:1-3 = unbelievers are disobedient & follow Satan.

Finally, compare Jn 3:36 which contains the same Greek word in adjective form:

"apeithoe" = "disobedient" = refusing to believe in the Son:

[Jn 3:36]:

"Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever 'apeithoe' = refuses to believe and obey, i.e., rejects the Son [as his Savior] will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him."

[Jn 3:18]:

"Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son."

Notice that here in John 3:18 & 36 the only condition presented for being condemned is to not believe in the name of God's one and only Son, (cp 1 Jn 5:9-13). Compare Jn 8:42-47 = those who do not believe in Christ belong to their father the devil, i.e., are not saved.

Since the sole condition on the part of the individual is to receive eternal life is to trust alone in Christ alone

and

since the sole condition of condemnation unto the Lake of Fire, i.e., since the only thing that gets you condemned to hell is not ever trusting alone in Christ alone as Savior and since disobeying the gospel of salvation gets you condemned to hell then disobeying the gospel of salvation is the same thing as disbelieving it. One can disobey by doing something 'out of the line of the authority that you are under' and one can also disobey by believing something out of line.

So, returning to 1 Pet 3:20, it was He, Jesus Christ, Who proclaimed the message of salvation to men in Noah's time. Hebrews 11:7 and 2 Pet 2:5 indicate that this message of our Lord's was brought to the people through Noah himself:

[Heb 11:7]:

"By faith Noah, being warned by God [the preincarnate Jesus Christ] about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and [Noah] became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith."

Noah's testimony to the world of his time of his believing God for salvation unto eternal life and of deliverance from the coming flood was rejected by all but 8 people living on the earth at that time.

"and [Noah] became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith." = Noah was saved unto eternal life by faith alone in God's plan of salvation alone - the Messiah Jesus Christ, (Ro 3:21-24); and Noah was delivered from the flood. Noah was saved spiritually and physically. From the account elsewhere in Scripture it is made clear that people were informed of Noah's purpose for building the ark and the gospel of eternal salvation and deliverance from the flood that related to Noah's 120+ year task:

[2 Peter 2:5]:

"if He [God] did not spare the ancient world when He brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others;"

Notice that God's Word states that Noah was not only a builder of the ark but a "preacher of righteousness" which is to say that he proclaimed the gospel of salvation which is the only way to righteousness: faith alone in the Messiah Jesus Christ alone.

(Ref: Ro 3:21-31 )

Now that the basis of salvation unto eternal life has been firmly established, let us return to the passage in 1 Peter chapter 3.

[1 Pet 3:20 cont.]:

(v. 19 cont.) "through Whom [the Spirit] also He [Jesus Christ] having gone [to earth in the times of Noah, (v. 20)] proclaimed [the gospel of salvation] to the spirits [i.e., to the condemned unbelievers who are NOW in spirit form] in [the] prison [of Hades as a result of their disbelief in the gospel]

(v. 20) who [the disbelieving people of Noah's day] disobeyed [i.e., disbelieved in the message of Noah - the proclaimed gospel] long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through [the floating on top of, not the immersion into] water,"

So those who were disobedient were unbelievers who did not trust and act upon the testimony of Noah, through whom Christ preached salvation unto eternal life and deliverance from the flood. Note that Scripture is filled with many references to Jehovah God speaking through and directly to men:

[Heb 1:1]:

"In the past God [the preincarnate Christ] spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, ."

'In the past it was God, the preincarnate Christ, Who spoke to our forefathers through the prophets like Noah...'

[I Cor 10:4a]:

"...for they [Israel] drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ."

It was Jesus Christ, Who being Jehovah God, accompanied the nation Israel in her wanderings in the desert thousands of years ago. Our Lord was the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, (cp Ex 13:21).

[1 Pet 3:20-21]:

(v. 20) who [the disbelieving people of Noah's day] disobeyed [i.e., disbelieved in the message of Noah - the proclaimed gospel] long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through [the floating on top of, not the immersion into] water,"

(v. 21) which [Noah being physically saved] [is a] prefigure [of the] baptism [which] now saves you - not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but the response to God of a good conscience through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

[1 Pet 3:20-21]:

(v. 20) "apeithesasin .........pote ..........ote ...apax

............[*who] "disobeyed sometime when once

exedecheto .e ......tou Theou makrothumia

was waiting the ...of ..God ...longsuffering

en ........emeraia .Noe .......kataskeuazomenes

in [the] days .......of Noah..[while was] being prepared

kibotou.....eis ..en ......oligai, touteistin okto ..psuchai

[the] ark, .into which few, ....that is .....eight. souls

diesothesan di ..........udatos

were saved .through water

(v. 21) o .......kai ...emas antitupon .......nun .sozie

..........which also ,us......[a] prefigure...now saves

baptisma, .........ou ..sarkos .apothesis .........rupoua

[even] baptism, not of flesh a putting away of [the] filth

alla suneideseos .....agathes ....eperotema eis .......Theon

but of a conscience good [the] response ...towards God,

di ..........anastaseos ...Iesou Christou

by [the] resurrection of Jesus Christ

"o" = "ho" = nominative singular neuter relative pronoun = "which" = refers back to "water" (v. 20) = flood water = nom. sing. neuter noun.

"[a] prefigure" = "antitupon" = nominative, singular, neuter adjective which is used as a noun = a corresponding type, a prefiguring. This word comes from "anti" = over against, in correspondance to + "tupos" = mark = a corresponding mark.

The Greek wording in verse 21 puts the word "baptism" which "saves" at a distance from the word "prefigure" with a number of key words in between:

"ho...........................antitupon........... . "which [Noah being] prefigure....

[physically saves]

[which is].baptism.........

and adding a few more words from verse 21 to build the complete meaning:

"ho kai.................antitupon nun

which also [is a].....prefigure now

[Noah being physically saved]

baptisma "

[of the]baptism"

and a few more:

"ho kai.. emas antitupon nun

"which also [is a] prefigure now

[Noah being]

[Physically saved] (us)

sozei* baptisma "

[of the]baptism[which *saves us

*(saves)

In other words this verse says, 'which Noah being physically saved also is a prefigure of the Holy Spirit baptism which now saves us unto eternal life'. Holy Spirit baptism is the only baptism which does save unto eternal life. We will shortly investigate the various baptisms in Scripture in order to prove this out. The baptism referred to in 1 Pet 3:21 could not refer to the ritual of water baptism because the occupants of the ark did not get wet, rather because they did not get immersed into the flood waters they were physically saved. As a matter of fact, those who did get wet were drowned and lost in eternal damnation because of their unbelief in the gospel. The circumstance of the occupants of the ark being physically saved from the flood water formed a prefiguring - a symbol beforehand - of spiritual salvation through Holy Spirit baptism which is through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This verse says that baptism by God the Holy Spirit, (Holy Spirit baptism of a person at the point of trusting in Christ as Savior, Gal 3:2; Eph 1:13-14), was symbolized many years ago by what happened in the ark with respect to the eight being physically saved from drowning to death in the flood. The eight became baptized with, i.e., identified with the ark with respect to the fact that the ark was the vehicle of their physical salvation, just as the Holy Spirit with which a believer is identified, i.e., baptized with, is the actual vehicle of his eternal salvation. What happened in the ark is that Noah and his family trusted in the testimony and directions from God about the flood and the building and entry into the ark. They were thereby, as a result of their trust, saved from drowning. This was not a small amount of trust. Recall that it had probably never rained before on the earth during Noah's time. There were only underground seas, streams and resevoirs. Oceans, rivers, lakes, seas, etc. may not have heretofore existed while man inhabited the earth. The earth was most likely canopied with a protective layer of water, (Gen 1:6-7), probably ice considering the temperatures in the atmosphere. This ice canopy, research indicates would have provided a protective and productive atmosphere for growth and longevity - with a constant source of water from underground and a mist during the cooler times of the day. So God was telling Noah to trust in something never seen before - the skies opening up in a torrent of water called rain until the whole earth was flooded with water. Thousands of people believed that Noah was crazy until they drowned. Noah and his family believed in God 's plan for salvation from drowning and for salvation unto eternal life and they all were saved in both ways. So the events in Noah's time truly were an "antiupon" = "a corresponding type" = a prefiguring of the spiritual event in one's life of salvation due to faith in the accomplishment of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ which results in a person's being permanently indwelt, (baptized), with the Holy Spirit, (Eph 1:13-14), the vehicle of a believer's salvation:

[Eph 1:13-14]:

"And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, Who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession - to the praise of His glory."

[Phil 1:6]:

"being confident of this, that He [the Spirit, Eph 1:13-14] Who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."[the day of your redemption]

The next word under analysis in 1 Peter 3:21 is the word

baptisma

baptism ....

The word "baptism" in verse 21 relates figuratively to what happened in the ark in Noah's time: the physical salvation of the eight. So this "baptism" which is referred to in 1 Peter 3:21 is what now saves people unto eternal life. The question now must be answered: Which baptism of the many which are spoken of in Scripture is this in 1 Peter chapter 3 verse 21? We will investigate the different baptisms in Scripture in order to determine which baptism is being referred to. Before we do this, one point of interpretation must first be made: 1 Peter 3:21 is not saying that one was saved unto eternal life any differently in Noah's time than the way one is saved today. Other passages more clearly point this out:

[Heb 11:7]:

"By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith."

Noah became an heir of God's perfect righteousness. Because Noah exercised his faith in God to provide a Savior unto eternal life, (the Gospel of salvation), God therefore made Noah an heir of His so that when Noah died he would be resurrected and receive

God's perfect righteousness in order to be with God in heaven, (Ro 3:21-24). In other words, Peter is saying that Noah was saved by faith, he was saved by faith alone in the Messiah Jesus Christ alone. And Who was it Who was speaking to Noah about the ark, and the flood, and eternal salvation? God the Son, the preincarnate Jesus Christ, the Messiah Himself, (1 Pet 3:18-20). So Noah was saved unto eternal life by faith alone in God's plan of salvation alone - faith in the Messiah Jesus Christ Who will enter history as a man many years after Noah dies. So Noah and his family were saved by faith 'on credit' until our Lord paid their debt of sin many years later, (Ro 3:25-26). Noah, having been saved unto eternal life by faith, (Gen 6:9; 7:1; Heb 1:7), then exemplified his saving faith by building the ark over the next 120+ years of his life, and by proclaiming the gospel of salvation unto eternal life and the message of deliverance from the flood, (1 Pet 2:5). The same goes for the rest of humanity all the way back to the beginning of history - all men who are saved are saved by faith alone in Christ alone:

[Heb 11:4]:

By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead."

By faith Abel offered a sacrifice which pictured the future sacrifice of Jesus Christ for his sins which sacrifice by Christ Abel trusted in and which Cain rejected, (as demonstrated by Cain's offer of the wrong kind of sacrifice - a bloodless one and God's consequent disapproval. Compare Genesis 4:5-7).

"and by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead" = Abel's spirit is alive and well in heaven with God, Cain's is not.

So Abel was commended by God for being a righteous man - for his deeds? No, by faith alone. Abel's correct sacrificial offering illustrated to man and to God that he understood and trusted that God and God alone would provide the means for his eternal salvation on the basis of a bloody sacrifice by a future Messiah.

Abraham was also saved by faith alone:

[Gen 15:5-6]:

(v. 5) "He [God] took him [Abram] outside and said, 'Look up at the heavens and count the stars - if indeed you can count them.' Then He said to him 'So shall your offspring be.'

(v. 6) Abram believed the Lord, and He [God] credited it to him [Abram] as righteousness."

[God promised that Abraham would find that the number of his offspring would be beyond counting and only through Abraham's seeing the kingdom of God, i.e., having eternal life, could God fulfill this promise to Abraham. In other words, as a result of Abraham's faith in God's promise of eternal life - that Abraham would see offspring as numerous as the stars in the sky. Abraham was given the gift of perfect righteousness. Which is to say that Abraham would be accounted as perfectly righteous so he could have eternal life in the future kingdom of God. The Apostle Paul verifies that God presented the gospel of salvation to Abraham:

[Gal 3:8]:

"The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: 'All nations will be blessed through you.' "

Dr John Danish comments on this as follows, (audio tape # 77Ro-38 side 2):

'''Now this plan of God for establishing His kingdom authority on the earth was presented as a promise to Abraham to become heir of the world. This promise, or this covenant, with Abraham included a Savior for eternal life. This was involved in the promise to Abraham that he would be a blessing to all nations. In Gal chapter 3 verse 8, Paul explains that to us when he says, "And the Scripture foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham saying, 'In thee shall all nations be blessed.' "

So here you have this phrase, " 'In thee shall all nations be blessed.' " specifically identified by Paul here in Galatians as being an expression relative to the gospel. While all nations were going to be blessed in Abraham, God meant, 'I'm going to send you a Savior that will resolve the sin problems so that people can have absolute righteousness in order to enter heaven.' So Abraham indeed was given the gospel. Abraham was told how to be born again. And he believed the promise that God gave him, he was born again.......

.....consequently Abraham was justified simply by faith apart from works.'''

Just in case one might say that Abraham was saved by works because of his obedience to God after he was saved, the Apostle Paul clarifies the Scriptures on this point also: (This illustrates the proper interpretive proceedure of letting Scripture interpret Scripture):

[Ro 4:1-3]:

(v. 1) "What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter?

(v. 2) If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about - but not before God."

Paul is saying here that Abraham was not justified unto salvation by his works.

(v. 3) What does the Scripture say?

'Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.' "[Gen 15:6].

Under the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Paul is here interpreting Scripture for your understanding. Paul states that Abraham's works are not something Abraham can boast about before God relative to being justified unto eternal life relative to being declared righteous unto salvation. But Paul does say that Abraham's works, although they are not 'boastable' before God are something Abraham can boast about before men. For those works are examples of how the great Creator God of the universe who justified Abraham unto eternal life by faith alone is now Abraham's friend. He is the God Who enabled Abraham to do divine good works and the God who rewarded Abraham immensely when Abraham went to be with the Lord. The Apostle James states the same thing in his letter: that Abraham is justified before God by faith alone, and Abraham is then justified before men by the divine good works that exemplify the fact that Abraham has been saved by his faith alone in the coming Messiah alone: the Messiah Who will come through Abraham's seed, Gen 13:15; Gal 3:16. (Notice how Scripture interprets Scripture again and again - how Gal 3:16 clarifies Gen 13:15).

[1 PET 3:20-21]:

(v. 20) "Who [the unbelieving people of Noah's day] disobeyed [i.e., disbelieved in the message of Noah - the proclaimed gospel] long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through [the floating on top of, not the immersion into] water,"

(v. 21) "which [Noah being physically saved] [is a] prefigure [of the] baptism [which] now saves you - not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but the response to God of a good conscience through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The kind of baptism in 1 Pet 3:21 is described in this verse as:

The kind of baptism that saves unto eternal life through the "resurrection of Jesus Christ". This excludes the kinds of baptisms which do not save unto eternal life and the kinds of baptisms which are not accomplished through what our Savior did on the cross. It is obvious that this excludes the ritual of water baptism. So the baptism of 1 Pet 3:21 is the kind of baptism which actually does the saving of a person unto eternal life.

And Peter goes on to say,

'and that baptism unto salvation to eternal life is through the resurrection of Jesus Christ', (not through immersion into water):

(1 Pet 3:21 ) "which [Noah being physically saved is a] prefigure [of the] baptism [which] now saves you................

...through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

The rest of verse 21 further indicates what kind of baptism it is that Peter is referring to by explaining what it is and what it is NOT:

"which [Noah being physically saved is a] prefigure [of the] baptism [which] now saves you [a baptism which is] "NOT of flesh [and which is NOT] a putting away of [the] filth"

So the baptism of verse 21 is one which is NOT characterized by a washing away of one's filth and therefore it is NOT by an effort on one's own part of doing away with one's own sins. It is not associated with an individual attempting to do something in order to be righteous. The baptism being described, Peter says, has nothing to do with leading a righteous life. Peter states that the baptism which saves unto eternal life is the one which is the response of a GOOD CONSCIENCE toward God.

Responding with a good concience towards God means that one has no longer any guilt which God can hold him accountable for. Once a person has trusted alone in Christ alone as Savior, thereby receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit, (Eph 1:13-14; I Cor 12:13; Gal 3:2), as well as the gift of perfect righteousness, (Ro 3:21-22), then that person is absolutely assured of his own destiny in heaven - no matter what. He can and should know that he has eternal life from the first moment that he placed his faith in Christ. So his Holy Spirit baptism results in a perfectly good conscience toward God because he has been declared absolutely righteous and free of the eternal penalty for sin by God Himself as a result of placing his faith in Christ as Savior, (I Jn 5:9-13 & Ro 3:21-24):

[1 Jn 5:13]:

"I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may KNOW THAT YOU HAVE ETERNAL LIFE."

[Ro 3:22]:

"This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe."

Note that if this were water baptism which is to provide a good conscience toward God it would have been a strange custom of the early Christian church to take months after a person becomes a believer in order to train them in the Scriptures and only then to water baptize them. This would be saying that a believer has a bad conscience toward God during all those months. This would also be saying that one cannot be saved without the work of water baptism when salvation unto eternal life permits no works at all, (Eph 2:8-9; Ro 11:6). By the way, many churches today make it a common practice to provide a period of time when a new born believer is trained in the Scriptures before he is water baptized, just like the early church did. In rural areas, many churches would wait for months before an itinerant pastor would come by and then have new born believers water baptized. Would this mean that those new born believers had a bad conscience toward God and are in jeopardy of going to the Lake of Fire until they were water baptized?

Finally, the baptism described here in 1 Peter 3:21 is one that saves and is accomplished "di" = by, i.e. through = "by means of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.". Water baptism, on the other hand, is therefore not the baptism which saves as it is not accomplished through the resurrection of Jesus Christ but it is accomplished through immersion into water such that anyone can be water baptized, even falsely. Consider false professors and false religions which imitate true Biblical water baptism. The baptism which saves is different from water baptism in that the baptism which saves is accomplished exclusively as a result of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and it can never fail or be a false imitation. True biblical water baptism however is accomplished with the believer himself contributing something: the effort on the part of the believer of being immersed in water. Recall that salvation is disallowed when one provides any kind of work toward it, (Ro 11:6, Eph 2:8-9). Therefore, water baptism could not be the "baptism [which] now saves you ....through the resurrection of Jesus Christ" for water baptism is through the effort of one to be immersed into water and not through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Return to study on baptism []

Examine further the seven major baptisms in Scripture to verify which baptism is being referred to in 1 Peter 3:21: []

[1 Pet 3:20-22 NAS]:

(v. 20 N.A.S.) [The souls of those] who long before in the days of Noah had been disobedient, when God's patience waited during the building of the ark in which a few [people] actually eight in number, were saved through water,"

(v. 21 N.A.S.) "which [Noah being physically saved is a] prefigure [of the] baptism [which] now saves you - not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but the response to God of a good conscience through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, (v. 22 N.A.S.) Who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him."

So one who has received the baptism of the Holy Spirit which is represented symbollically by the work of the flood water providing physical salvation for the eight in the ark has received "a good conscience" toward God as a result of his trust in the benefits of "the resurrection of Jesus Christ". That is "Jesus Christ, Who is at the right hand of God, the place of honor and power reserved for God and God alone, "having gone [ascended] into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him." - this Jesus Christ is now in a position to save you, the believer, who trusted in Him for eternal life.