Baptism for the Dead
1 Corinthians 15:29-30, “29 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? 30 Why are we also in danger every hour?”
In verse 29 we see the Apostle Paul reference “baptism for the dead” and at first glance it could sound like the Apostle Paul is introducing something crazy. But, it is important to remember the Apostle Paul is referencing a religious ceremony like "baptism for the dead" as an example to expose an inconsistency in the beliefs of the Corinthian church.
The Corinthian church didn’t have a problem with Jesus’ resurrection described in verses 1-11. The Corinthian church was struggling to believe in their physical bodies being resurrected one day at the return of Jesus, therefore, the Apostle Paul brings ups "baptism for the dead" to expose the inconsistency of the Corinthian Church.
Why is the Corinthian church going through a religious ceremony with physical bodies being baptized if the don't beleive the physical body is important enough to be physically resurrected at the return of Jesus? It doesn’t make logical sense.
In our culture today we might not have the same mixed messages and religious ceremonies like baptism for the dead (Although this is something we see today in the Latter Day Saints). But, we all have mixed messages. We all have inconsistencies in our faith, therefore, below are 4 ways we can respond:
Offensively: Offensively is to be proactive. Therefore, our first response is to clarify our belief in Jesus' life, death, resurrection, and return. Are you firm in your belief in Jesus?
Are you clear on the life of Jesus? Are you convinced in the death of Jesus? Are you confident in the resurrection of Jesus? And, are you confident that one day Jesus will return and those who are in Christ will be raised in glory?
Second, are you surrounding yourself with biblical community of other men and women who are chasing after Jesus? Why would we deceive ourselves (vs. 33) to think we can do this alone? We must be committed to a local church. We must be investing in those relationships. Otherwise, we will give into mixed messages and we will overlook the glorious life we have been given in Jesus.
Defensively: Defensively is to fortify our souls. Therefore, our first defensive response is to have a plan to keep our eyes centered on Jesus. In our church family every January we participate in the Yearly Planning Event, but any time of the year is a good time to evaluate our plan to center our life on Jesus.
Second, are you setting boundaries in all areas of your life so that Jesus is at the center? Are you setting boundaries at work so you can daily submit your life to Jesus and His Word? Are you setting boundaries at parenting so you can daily submit your life to Jesus and His Word?
You know when WWII was beginning and the Nazi’s were attacking the French in 1940, the French were hiding their French national flags in their pillows and mattresses because they didn’t want to face the wrath of the Nazi soldiers.
But, upon the D-day invasion in 1944 it was obvious the Nazis would lose the war, and the Nazis retreated through France burning down French buildings and destroying French property as they marched back to Germany, but do you know what?
Even though the Nazi’s were still destroying French property, and kill French citizens, the Nazi’s started seeing French flags showing up everywhere. Do you know why? The victory was sure, the Nazi’s were defeated, and as a result the French citizens lived differently.
In 1 Corinthians 15 the Apostle Paul is writing, “The victory is sure. Jesus will return. Our bodies will be raised. All things will become new.” Let us live accordingly!