by Theodore Wright.
1 Corinthians 15:29-32 (NKJV)
29 Otherwise, what will they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? Why then are they baptized for the dead? 30 And why do we stand in jeopardy every hour? 31 I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. 32 If, in the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantage is it to me? If the dead do not rise, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”
What does it mean to be “baptized for the dead”? Is it what the Mormons refer to, which is a “proxy baptism”, that they are to be water baptized on behalf of the dead so that they might be saved? There is no evidence in the Holy Bible for anything such as that!
So what then does the Scripture say?
Luke 12:49-50 (NKJV)
“I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished!”
The method of baptism was mentioned. It is to be baptized for the dead. Therefore, it requires being baptized into death.
Jesus Himself said that he was to undergo this baptism before He brought the world to judgment. Jesus was already water baptized with John’s baptism. He already was facing persecution. The baptism He was to face was to die, hence, He was baptized for the dead. This baptism He suffered at the cross.
Jesus spoke of this baptism with His disciples James and John who was with their mother…
Matthew 20:17-23 (NKJV)
17 Now Jesus, going up to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples aside on the road and said to them, 18 “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, 19 and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again.” 20 Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him. 21 And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She said to Him, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.” 22 But Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They said to Him, “We are able.” 23 So He said to them, “You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.”
There is a baptism that is symbolic of Jesus Christ’s baptism for the dead…
Romans 6:1-3 (NKJV)
1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Though there are many who believe this to be water baptism, it is not. This is the one Holy Spirit baptism that places us in Christ. It is not a subsequent experience. Here is described the baptism that places us into Christ.
Galatians 3:27 (NKJV)
For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
If this were water baptism, that would be a requirement for salvation. However, this is not.
Biblical proof on this may be found on our page “Water baptism is NOT a requirement for salvation”.
For more about Spirit baptism please read our page about the “Holy Spirit Baptism into Christ and the Spirit-filled life”.
Now, back to the starting question…
1 Corinthians 15:30 (NKJV)
And why do we stand in jeopardy every hour?
Messiah tells us that if anyone desires to come after Him to let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Him. This is the first reason they stood in jeopardy. Living to testify about Jesus Christ has its risks. It is not following after the way of the world. The Apostle Paul asked this question right after mentioning baptized for the dead. How do we ourselves stand?
For FINAL JEOPARDY, the answer is…