Summary: in continuing the series from the song, "Oh Glorious Day," this message focuses on the third verse of the chorus: “Buried, He Carried My Sins Far Away.” It is a critucal element in redemption.
Buried, He Carried My Sins Far Away 1 Peter 3:18-22
Sermon by Don Emmitte, Grace Restoration Ministries
Today we come to the third in our series titled Oh, Glorious Day! Each of these messages is built around the theology expressed in the chorus of the song sung by Casting Crowns:
Living He loved me,
Dying He saved me,
And buried He carried my sins far away,
Rising He justified freely forever,
One day He's coming, oh, glorious day, oh, glorious day!
Last week we looked at “Dying He Saved Me.” Today we see “Buried, He Carried My Sins Far Away.”
TAKE YOUR BIBLES, PLEASE…
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, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, 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. 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, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him. (1 Peter 3:18-22 ESV).
Never let it be said that your pastor is intimidated by the difficult passages of Scripture! I could have chosen so many passages to undergird the truth that Jesus’ death was the means of salvation to the world without ever turning to our text today. It is undoubtedly one of the most difficult to both translate and interpret. However, by avoiding this passage I would be doing a great disservice to you in deepening your understanding of the incredible victory Jesus won for us through His death.
Now, I’m not going to make the same mistake I have made as a younger preacher. I remember one Wednesday evening in Bible Study, preaching through this book and coming to this passage, I spent considerable time discussing the different theories about the “spirits in prison.” After a lengthy discourse, one of my friends came up to me and said, with a large grin on his face, “Preacher, I am sure glad you explained all of that. I have been wondering about that all my life!”
SO LET’S BEGIN WITH A CENTRAL STATEMENT OF TRUTH: JESUS SUFFERED ONCE FOR THE EXPRESS PURPOSE OF BRINGING ALL OF MANKIND BACK TO THE FATHER. His burial was a key part of this act.
Buried, He Carried My Sins Far Away… Oh, Glorious Day!
So, there it is! There are some specific principles we need to understand about this, but that it the single most important thing you can hear me say today.
Craig Glickman has written a wonderful little book, Knowing Christ, in which he draws on an experience from the assignation of President Lincoln. He wrote:
When Lincoln's body was brought from Washington to Illinois, it passed through Albany and it was carried through the street. They say a black woman stood upon the curb and lifted her little son as far as she could reach above the heads of the crowd and was heard to say to him, "Take a long look, honey. He died for you".
So, if I could, I would lift up your eyes today to see Jesus at Calvary. Take a long look, He was buried for you. THERE ARE TWO PRINCIPLES FOR US FROM THE APOSTLE PETER…
First, Jesus Died and Was Buried that We May Be Saved FROM Something.
I suppose this is the point where it might be easier to merely use the first verse of our text today. It is straightforward and easily understood at face value. However, to really understand what we have been saved from we must look at the verses that deal with the declaration that Jesus went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison. It is in this passage that Peter mentions the “days of Noah” and those who were saved in the ark God directed Noah to build.
The original language of the text makes it very clear he is using the experience of Noah as an antitype. That is, this actual experience from the Old Testament is a foreshadowing of something in the future. Ultimately it turns out to be the passion of Christ. In fact, he goes on to use the act of baptism to explain further.
LET’S SEE IF I CAN UNPACK THIS FOR YOU IN A USEFUL WAY… in the flood the ark prepared by Noah was the means of physical salvation for Noah and his family. They made it through the watery judgment because they were inside of the ark. The Lord had shut them in. The judgment fell on the outside rather than on them. Do you see the picture he paints? The ark received the full force of the storm of God’s judgment, but they were safe within it. They were no less sinful, but God chose to spare them to continue the human race, ultimately being the root of the final Savior. The Lord Jesus became the One to bear our sins voluntarily suffering the full judgment of God on our behalf. He was immersed, baptized, in the experience of the Cross and its death. He was covered over with the judgment of God upon sin during those three dark hours on the cross. This is the baptism that was essential for salvation. Just as there could be no deliverance for Noah apart from the ark going through the watery judgment, there could be no salvation for us apart from Jesus going through the judgment of sin in his death. These are His words in the Gospel of Luke: