Paul Declares the Effects of Denying the Resurrection
1 Corinthians 15:29-34 Otherwise, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why then are they baptized for them? Why are we also in danger every hour? I affirm, brethren, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. If from human motives I fought with wild beasts at Ephesus, what does it profit me? If the dead are not raised, let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die. Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame. NKJV
Paul here in this letter to these Corinthian believers is teaching those skeptics among them that question the resurrection from the dead (as did the writer of Hebrews 2:9-15) that Jesus Christ had to taste or the Greek word used geuomai (Hebrews 2:9) which literally means to partake of or to visit or to examine or to experience death for every person so that He would then destroy death by the power of and in His Resurrection from the dead. Paul now writes perhaps some of his most controversial and misunderstood words in all of his letters concerning “baptism for the dead” and speaking of these words, we have the Mormons (who don’t believe in the True Christ of the Bible) declaring 1 Corinthians 15:29 as their justification for baptizing people continually for those who have already died. There are many interpretations of this verse and no doubt all those who hold to their interpretation feel they have it right, but let me truly upfront say that I have no idea what the Apostle Paul is conveying to these Corinthian believers with these words but what I do know from the Scripture is what my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ said to the first disciples as He commissioned them to proclaim the gospel or good news of His death and resurrection to the world, “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned’” (Mark 16:15-16). Our Lord Jesus is here clearly defining salvation by one’s faith and not their water baptism as the words He speaks in the second half of Mark 16:16 bear witness.
Here is what Marvin R. Vincent had to say regarding 1 Corinthians 15:29, “Concerning this expression, of which some thirty different explanations are given, it is best to admit frankly that we lack the facts for a decisive interpretation. None of the explanations proposed are free from objection. Paul is evidently alluding to a usage familiar to his readers; and the term employed was, as Godet remarks, in their vocabulary, a sort of technical phrase. A large number of both ancient and modern commentators adopt the view that a living Christian was baptized for an unbaptized dead Christian. The Greek expositors regarded the words the dead as equivalent to the resurrection of the dead, and the baptism as a manifestation of belief in the doctrine of the resurrection. Godet adopts the explanation which refers baptism to martyrdom - the baptism of blood - and cites Luke 12:50, and Mark 10:38. In the absence of anything more satisfactory I adopt the explanation given above.” Paul was always being sought by satan to be put to death. For it was as if satan knew and understood the impact to the eternal souls of men Paul’s witness of Christ death, burial, and resurrection from the dead would be not only then, but until the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We recall that only days after Paul was converted on the Damascus Road, satan put it into the heart of the Jews then to seek to snuff out his life (Acts 9:23-25).
Paul is declaring here to these Corinthian believers that this is all because of the resurrection from the dead that he continues to testify to the gospel of Christ despite the very real truth that he was always in the very clutches of death every single moment of every day that he walked with our Lord Jesus Christ proclaiming Him Alive from the dead. The enemy of our Lord and of Paul and these Corinthian believers and us the devil wants to kill anyone who will desire to see souls forgiven of their sin and given new life in Jesus Christ and for Paul and the first disciples it was even more perilous because this truth and reality was brand new, unlike us today who are living over 2,000 years removed from the Cross and the Resurrection of Christ Jesus our Lord. Paul as he wrote to the brethren in Romans 8:36 and as he documented some of his many encounters with hardship and near death in his second letter to these Corinthian believers in 2 Corinthians 11:23-27 declares his daily life to be that of a processional walk to the gallows as it were every single day as a pilgrim, sojourner, and alien, but he does it because he is certain of the resurrection from the dead and he is sure that his physical death is nothing more than a release from his body of death (Romans 7:21-24) into the far better life with Christ Jesus our Lord (Philippians 1:21-24).
Paul declares that it would be absolute absurdity for him to go on in his proclamation of the gospel and his belief in Christ’s Resurrection from the dead as well as his own resurrection of his body and to continue to be confronted by brutal unbelieving men who are energized by the prince of the power of the air satan himself (Acts 19:21-41), for it would be good or better for him to just live and let live or let everyone believe what they choose to believe and relax and enjoy this life to the fullest because when we all die that is it. Paul declares that this idea of let everyone believe what they want for there is more than one truth is evil and he commands these Corinthian believers and us today to have no fellowship with those who believe this and live their lives accordingly for they will be a corrupting influence on our walk with our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul commands them and us to awake and this English word is translated by the Greek word eknepho which means to rouse oneself out of a stupor; it has the idea of being sober, solemn, or serious minded or the idea of being sobered up after a night of drinking and getting drunk. Paul wants them and us to stop being so controlled by sin as someone is controlled by alcohol when they are drunk and not in proper use of all of their faculties and so are we when we allow sin to gain a controlling foothold into our lives.
“Paul was in continual danger of death, and carried his life, as we say, in his hand. And why should he thus expose himself, if he had no hopes after life? To live in daily view and expectation of death, and yet have no prospect beyond it, must be very heartless and uncomfortable, and his case, upon this account, a very melancholy one. He had need be very well assured of the resurrection of the dead, or he was guilty of extreme weakness, in hazarding all that was dear to him in this world, and his life into the bargain.” Matthew Henry
“The denial of the Resurrection of Christ and of every human being raised from the dead will cause people to live only for this life now which appears to be all that there is and we see it done every day by countless billions, but that mentality is not to be ever prevalent in the life of a believer in Jesus Christ because we are sure of His Resurrection and ours to be with Him forever in heaven, and with this truth we must be constant in our fight with our own personal sin, so that we may not appear before Him in shame.” Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reade, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…