Impartial Grace: 1 Peter 3

But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “Don’t fear what they fear, neither be troubled.” But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts; and always be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks you a reason concerning the hope that is in you, with humility and fear: having a good conscience; that, while you are spoken against as evildoers, they may be disappointed who curse your good way of life in Christ. For it is better, if it is God’s will, that you suffer for doing well than for doing evil. Because Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring you to God; being put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; in which he also went and preached to the spirits in prison, who before were disobedient, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, while the ship was being built. In it, few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. This is a symbol of baptism, which now saves you—not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, angels and authorities and powers being made subject to him.

(1 Peter 3:14-21, emphasis added)

“…Jesus Christ, Who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to Him.” Christ Jesus sits in Authority now. We are living in the Kingdom of God, now! All angels, all authorities, and all powers are subjected to Him. He reigns, now! Christ reigns and all is subjected to Him.

Peter first encourages wives to be respectful of their husbands and husbands to honor their wives. Peter is encouraging love in the home, in the family, in the church. If any of us should suffer for doing the righteous thing; if punishment comes upon us for being truthful and honorable to Him, then we should bear the pain of suffering. We should always keep in our minds, bodies and souls the Truth that is Christ Jesus. We are encouraged to “… always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you….” Defending the hope that is in you is Christ Jesus. The hope is that Christ Jesus will eventually set all things right. Tears and sorrows will be wiped away. Death will be abolished. All will be in His presence. The hope that is in us is Christ Jesus and that is our defense.

These verses are often taken out of context by the advocates of the doctrines opposed to universal reconciliation. Eternal conscious torment rationalizes a judgment of others who do not believe the same things in the same ways. These verses are used to “defend” our denominational precepts; the “traditions of men” become idols replacing “…the Hope that is in us.” Many Traditionalist authorities condemn men, women and children to eternal conscious torment and they defend their condemnation using these verses as a catalyst. “Being prepared to give a defense of the hope that is in you” is not the same as giving a defense of eternal conscious torment or other traditions of men.

Christ Jesus is the only Righteous One. He is One suffering torment on a cross for our salvation. He suffered “once for sins.” He suffered once to pay the ransom for the sin of the world, even the sins of the unrepentant rebel. He suffered once to pay the ransom for believers and for unbelievers. And, for those who never heard His Gospel.

Christ Jesus “was made alive in the Spirit and in which He proclaimed to the spirits in prison….” What did He proclaim? “He suffered once for sins.” Who are the spirits in prison? He preached to the whole of the world who did not obey God’s command to repent during the time of Noah. He preached salvation to those who rejected Him and who died in their sins. He preached He is their blessed hope. This is Impartial Grace.