(1 Corinthians 15:29-34)
This section of scripture has three distinct but complimentary teachings. All of them are to do with baptism of the dead, and they each talk of the attitude we must hold as we hold the faith in Jesus Christ.
The three specific aspects that we look at in this verse today are:
- Baptism on behalf of the dead
- Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die
- Bad company ruins good morals
But the key to understanding these lies in the what they mean with regard to the faith and the truth of the new covenant, especially as it relates to the impact of baptism.
Baptism on behalf of the dead
The entry point to the new covenant is baptism. When Jesus left the earth, His last words to the disciples, what we call the Great Commission, was to make disciples, baptise them and teach them.
Baptism is clearly critical if it was important enough for Jesus to make it one of His final instructions to his disciples. It is important because it is through baptism that we enter the kingdom of God.
In baptism we both die and are resurrected with Jesus Christ, through faith. As we enter and are lifted up from the waters of baptism. Baptism is the door through which we enter the kingdom of God. Jesus said,
I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. – (John 10:9)
When we are baptised into the death of Jesus, that is being baptised on behalf of the dead, we are made alive in the risen Christ. He is the door by which we enter the kingdom of God, for it is through Him that we are saved.
And this is where the battle ground for the faith rests. It is in this faith we hold that we are challenged constantly until we receive the promised salvation. It is what we hold by faith in baptism that the devil despises and opposes us over, because when we enter the kingdom of God, we recognise God as sovereign and we leave the sovereign power of the devil who controls this world.
Paul spoke of fighting with beasts at Ephesus, not meaning lions or bears, but rather beastly people. The beasts he fought were the priests of Artemis and those who worshiped these pagan gods. And what he was contending over was the faith in Jesus Christ, which we enter into through His death and resurrection.
Without the resurrection there is no Christianity. Resurrection is the underlying principle that sets Christianity apart from all other religions and forms of worship. And this is the point Paul makes in the next key statement.
Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die
As we contend for our faith, what we are contending over is our belief in the saving power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is through His resurrection that we have the opportuntiy of life by faith and the grace of God.
And this is why Paul fought with the human beasts in Ephesus as well as all of the other battles he fought and the things he suffered for the sake of Jesus Christ. He suffered numerous beatings, shipwreck, stoning and many other forms of suffering for the sake of the gospel.
And he did this all because of the saving power of the resurrection in Jesus Christ.
The point he was making in the statement, “Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die” was in reference to what all these opponents thought. If there was and is no resurrection of the dead, then why bother? Why go through all this suffering and opposition and the hated of the people of the world, as well as the attacks of the devil, if there is no resurrection of the dead.
If there is no resurrection, then we are wasting our time believing something that is untrue and we could be spending our time doing other things. If there is no resurrection we might as well just eat, drink and party on because there is nothing eternal to look forward to. There is only whatever we get from this life, if there is no resurrection and what we believe is just a bunch of fairy tales.
BUT…we DO believe there is a resurrection and a time of reckoning when those who hold the faith of Jesus Christ and the power of His resurrection will receive eternal salvation.
We know that we are not following cleverly designed myths and stories, but have found the way of truth that leads to salvation.
Jesus Christ is alive because He was raised from the dead. And through His resurrection, we too have the offer of life eternal in a kingdom ruled by God where righteousness reigns and evil is banished. This is what Paul contended for against the powers of darkness, and what we contend for today.
Bad company ruins good morals
This is why Paul raises this last and most critical matter.
It is through bad company, the company of unbelievers and opposers, that the good morals and th truth is watered down and ruined.
We are called to preach to the people of the world for their benefit, and many will not be of good moral character. But those who are repentant and turn to heist will see the light and change.
Those who will not are attempting to tear us down to take away or steal the life we have in Christ Jesus. Their morals and way of thinking will ot change as their aim, led by the devil, are to drag you back to the world.
Resist them as you resist the devil. Draw close to God and hold fast to the truth you have received in Jesus Christ.
Do not associate with those who are evil lest you be drawn down the paths of destruction as they are doomed to destruction.
The bible does not say Good company will improve bad morals, but say the reverse, so don't think you can change someone who does not want to change. Keep good company its other believers and meet together with the. To strengthen and build your faith up. Beware of those who would tear you down and avoid them. If they will not listen to what you have to say, then remember it is the Lord's work and it may not be time yet for them to see the light. Some never will, but those whom the Lord is calling will see the light, but you may not be His instrument.
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