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.
Christ suffered once for sin, and is not continually being sacrificed as some heretics insist.
Hebrews 7:27 Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.
Hebrews 9:26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: 28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
And, as Paul said, when speaking to Jewish Christians, it is impossible to get saved all over again for this reason.
Hebrews 6:4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
Christ, the only truly just and righteous man who ever lived, died for the unjust, all of mankind, so that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but made alive, quickened, by the Spirit of God.
Quick and Quickened refer to being alive or made alive. The following is an example of when two words joined by and are antonyms, or have opposite meanings, although usually they are synonyms or have similar meanings.
Acts 10:42 And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.
2Timothy 4:1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
Here is an example of how a word is defined in the context of a parallel phrase.
Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
Peter here says that Jesus preached to the pre-Flood people that died in the Flood of Noah who were wicked and bound in the prison of Hell. That is where Jesus went when His body was slain on the Cross.
Matthew 12:40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Notice that other writings refer to this lower part of the earth as the location of this misery.
Psalm 63:9 But those that seek my soul, to destroy it, shall go into the lower parts of the earth.
Deuteronomy 32:22 For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.
Psalm 86:13 For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell.
Jesus then, went to Hell to preach and deliver, not to suffer, as other heretics say.
Psalm 16:10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
Acts 2:27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
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.
Here is an example of typology, where one thing is used as a type or kind of another by comparison. Some people have confused verse 21 thinking that baptism actually saved you, which is foolishness. When you are married you don’t just decide to marry your spouse at the wedding ceremony. That is an outward expression before your friends and family of an inward decision that was made at some point previous. The wedding ceremony only lends public credibility to a commitment that was already made. So it is not at your baptism that you decided to follow Christ, as that decision, and your salvation were already made previous.
Here, baptism is a figure or type of the ark that Noah and his family sailed in through the waters of the Great Flood. Peter makes it clear that it is not getting dunked that saved these Christians and us but in their answer to God’s call by way of a good conscience toward Him through Christ’s resurrection. Getting in the ark was an expression of their obedience to God as answering God’s call to salvation is a step toward righteousness. But, as the ark carried them after God Himself closed the door it is Christ’s righteousness we depend on in God’s salvation. It is not something we do ourselves. We are not saved nor are we kept safe by our own works.
John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Christ, the visible image of the invisible God, is in Heaven with God the Father, and has all power over the physical and spiritual worlds.
Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
This is very important for us to understand. Job, thought by most conservative Christians to be the book that was penned even earlier than Moses’ writings, tell us that nothing happens without God’s direction or permission. It also tells us that bad things can happen even to the most righteous and they may never know why on this earth. God may not deliver you in this flesh but we are to trust Him and believe Him, that He has it all under control. This was the essence of Job’s lesson for us.
Christ has all power. Not one function of one tiny part of one cell continues without His will and not one dying star explodes in a far-off galaxy without His will. Not one clod of dirt in a farmer’s field unites from the dust without His will. You cannot walk across the room and your heart does not beat without His will. When you were told you had cancer or your child died in a car accident it wasn’t that God was somewhere else, not paying attention, or hates you suddenly because you didn’t go to church enough. You may not even know the reason for God letting it happen and may never know the reason in this life.
You, Christian, just need to learn to trust God. Christ has all power over every thing. He loves you enough to die for you and be raised from the dead so that you, too, can know that death is not the end and life awaits you that you cannot even understand. Just trust Him. That, not forbearing alcohol, fornication, or lying, is the toughest part of being a Christian. The toughest part of being a Christian is loving and trusting your Creator.