“Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.” 1 Peter 2:12
“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.” 1 Peter 3:18ff
“For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does.” 1 Peter 4
“With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does.” 1 Peter 4
Question: How did the Gospel get preached to the dead, who are now in prison, by Christ who is alive in the spirit?
Ephesians 2:17 says Jesus preached to the Gentiles. We know he did it through the prophets and Apostles. That’s how the Ephesians heard there Gospel. And likewise we know Jesus, through the spirit, preached in the old testament times, as the preincarnate Christ, through the prophets like like Noah, 1 Pet
1:10-11; 2 Pet 2:5 (to see the point, you have to look up those verses).
Even today we preach to the dead so they may be made alive in the spirit. In other words, that passage in 1 Pet 4 is saying not that the physically dead can be reached so they repent and are made alive, but the spiritually dead may hear the Gospel and come alive in Christ.
Jesus did not go into hell or the bad side of hades to offer a second chance to those who died without repenting. Every person gets a chance to be saved in this life, because God has been patient with us all, desiring for all to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, 1 Tim. 2:2-5. Jesus shares the Gospel to all people today, though it’s who believes who is saved. No man will stand before God and say I didn’t have a chance to know.
When the rich man asked for a special visitation to be sent to his brothers, look what he was told. “27“He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ 29“Abraham replied, ‘ They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ 30 “ ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘ but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ 31“ He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’” Luke 16.
So no one can or should expect that Jesus or an angel will come to them after this life to share the gospel and a chance of salvation. Remember, God is patient for people to be saved. But when we die, his patience is run out. Listen today to Jesus and the prophets now, while we can, because it says, “it is appointed for man once to die, then comes the judgment” Heb 9.