Grace Reformed Network Conference

Grace Group Lesson 05/15/2024

GRC Grace Group 05/15/2024

Declaring Victory

1Pet. 3:18 ¶ 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,
1Pet. 3:19 in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison,
1Pet. 3:20 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.
1Pet. 3:21 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,
1Pet. 3:22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

There are three benefits to the Gospel. The first two many Christians are aware of, but Peter is pointing out a third, which is to encourage saints who are currently suffering in this life and for their faith.

The first benefit of the gospel is the forgiveness of our sins, past, present, and future.
The second benefit of the gospel is the gift of perfect righteousness; we are given all the obedience of Christ as if we had obeyed the Father perfectly ourselves.
The third benefit of the gospel, which Peter uses to encourage believers in Rome, can often be overlooked. The third benefit is our freedom from slavery to the evil Kingdom, the God of this world, prince of the power of the air. This is why Peter reminds the saints of what took place at Jesus' death, "in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison because they formerly did not obey" (vs. 19-20b).

Col. 2:13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,
Col. 2:14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
Col. 2:15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

Jesus disarmed the prince of the air that used to rule over us:
Eph. 2:2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—
The good news of the gospel is we are no longer slaves in the evil Kingdom of darkness, but through Jesus Christ, we have been set free to live with our King in his Kingdom in total freedom from our former slavery to sin.

These dark forces have no more power to enslave us, but they can attack us, and that is what Peter is encouraging the congregation with. Though they may currently feel persecution for their faith, this enemy has already been defeated.

Rom. 8:37 ¶ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
Rom. 8:38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,
Rom. 8:39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Why did Paul write this? Jesus may have stripped the forces of darkness of their power over his Kingdom, but their power is still in force for those who live in this cursed world.

Heb. 2:8 putting everything in subjection under his feet." ¶ Now, in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him.

There is no evil force that our King is not in complete control of, he created them, they are subjected to his commands, and they are not free to do as they please. And yet, the writer of Hebrews warns us, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him yet. Meaning, the story has not yet finished, the day of judgment where all of creation will be put on trial has not yet arrived.

This is why later ,in Ephesians 6, Paul explains our new way of living, under the protection of Christ:

Eph. 6:10 ¶ Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.
Eph. 6:11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.
Eph. 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

QUESTION: Where can we see these evil dark forces Peter and Paul are warning us against in our culture?
QUESTION: How can we protect each other from the attacks of these evil forces?
QUESTION: What concerns or fears do passages like this bring for you? 

According to Peter, we will suffer because those who persecute us blind tare o the gospel. Paul says in Ephesians 2 that everyone who is not in Christ is under the control of the prince of the power of the air. That would mean, evåeryone we talk to is a slave to Satan and his ways. He feeds their sinful fleshly desires. We live to set them free.

QUESTION: How does this perspective of the world help you understand your place in the Kingdom?  

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