“who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.”
If we read verse 18 immediately into verse 22, we understand the continuity of thought. Jesus died, rose again, and then He ascended and received exaltation from the Father. The sequel to the death and resurrection is the ascension and exaltation of Christ.
The context of the whole book of 1 Peter argues comparing the suffering of the Lord with His followers’ suffering. Christians are not exceptional in their suffering. Believers in Noah’s day had to endure the scoffing of the unbelieving. We endure the same today. Verses 19-22 rest on the two phrases, “being put to death” and “made alive in the spirit.”
who has gone into heaven
This is Jesus’ ascension. Peter witnessed Jesus’ ascension personally (cf. Mark 16:19; Luke 24:51; Acts 1:6-11).
and is at the right hand of God,
The right hand of God is the place of paramount honor, power, and authority. This is the session of Christ in His human nature (Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 8:1; 10:12; 12:2).
angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him
Here are three ranks of good angels. God exalted Christ above Michael, above Gabriel, above the Seraphim, above the Cherubim. God exalted Him to the very apex of the universe (cf. Psalm 110:1; Hebrews 1:13; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2). All are subject to Jesus in his ascension. This is the climax of the argument running from 1 Peter 3:18-22. There was no positional truth for Christians until after the ascension of Christ.
The ascension of Christ to the throne of the Father guarantees our standing in His presence.
Opposition from man or demon cannot thwart God’s program of saving His saints. Jesus gained the victory when He rose from the dead and made His victorious proclamation to the fallen demons. The final proof of this was His ascension when God gave Him authority over all the earth. We live in a culture of freedom. This freedom passes into licentiousness. This opens us to demon activity. Jesus is the victor over these forces. God vindicates us in Him. We need not fear. We need to live in the light of the resurrection and ascension of Christ.