In today's passage, Peter continues to encourage believers to keep their focus on the coming resurrection. When tempted or tormented by others to live after fleshly lusts, the Christian is reminded to desire to please God, to live after His will. The way that Peter encourages in this passage is in agreement with what Peter was referring to in the end of the previous chapter. Peter focuses on the resurrection of Christ and the fact that we all (all believers) await resurrection ourselves. In 3:19, Peter used the Greek word "phulake"
, meaning prison, or detention. I do not believe he was speaking about people who are in hell. Once a person physically dies, he cannot then repent. His place in eternity is final. In 4:6, the word "nekrois"
is used which simply means dead and is being used here to refer to physical death. I believe that both of these verses are calling to attention that those who have already physically died (physically in detention, or simply put, in the grave) and are awaiting the resurrection have more life to come. In the greater context, this means that Peter is probably encouraging believers by saying that we can have victory in this life even in situations where unbelievers around us challenge our righteous living. We all DO NOT die alike. Eat, drink, and be merry 'til you die is not a correct philosophy. Those who had the Gospel preached to them and who have died have the resurrection to look forward to just as Christ rose from the dead.
Let this hope of the resurrection encourage you to live today according to the will of our gracious God.