By Brooke Holt
“Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf? Why are we in danger every hour? I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day! What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.’ Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.’ Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.” - 1 Corinthians 15:29-34
Paul simply won’t let up on the Corinthian church and their erroneous views. He wouldn’t let up because their salvation was at stake. To shake things up once again, Paul used rhetorical questions followed by rhetorical answers. Apparently, the Corinthians held baptism in high regard. That was a good thing because baptism was the outward sign of an inward reality that the believer had died with Christ and was being raised again; they were washed by the waters of his salvation and given new, eternal life.
Baptism was to be commended and continued, yet once again there seemed to be some variance in the practice of baptism than what Paul had taught them. Even though they denied the resurrection of Jesus and thus their own resurrection, they went to such extremes to ensure that the dead were saved that some were actually undergoing baptism in the place of one who had already died. Why? Why take on strange theology especially if they did not believe in that person’s resurrection?
Furthermore, if there was no resurrection of the dead, why would Paul continually put his own life at risk for them, for their faith, for the building of the kingdom of God? What a waste of his own life if he daily risked death only to have that be the end of him! Paul wrote of the futility of their thinking and the consequences—just eat, drink, and ultimately die.
Once again, Paul exhorted the readers to wake up, grow up, break free from the deception and the error of their ways. It was time to stop sinning, to choose to live humbly under the teaching of the church. It was time to stop living as if God was not real for that is how the Corinthians were conducting themselves and how many people in our world live today.
Stop sinning. Start receiving the essential truths and living into those. True Christians are those who recognize the amazing gift of grace in their lives and who seek to become more like Jesus every day.
You live in a fallen world, a world that longs for final redemption. You also live as Christ’s redeemed people. This world is not the end but a means to the end. Now but not yet. You belong to Christ; you have the full assurance of salvation and eternal life while you wait for the consummation of his kingdom.
How are you doing in the wait? Do you need the shakeup of Paul’s exhortation: “Wake up, stop sinning, and live in the knowledge of God?” We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
The Crucified Life small group Christian study is designed to reflect upon the Seven Last Words of Christ from the cross and what they mean for us today. Walk the road of Calvary with Jesus in order to grow closer to Him. The Crucified Life small group study examines human suffering as it is mirrored in Christ’s suffering on the cross and what His seven last words say to a hurting world. Find out incredible insights into these words as Jesus teaches us, even in death, how we can use our suffering and triumph over it for His glory. Begin your Crucified Life today.
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