一起读经|哥林多前书15章29-32节 对复活的盼望使我们如何面对苦难与死亡

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哥林多前书:15:29-32: 29不然,那些为死人受洗的,将来怎样呢?若死人总不复活,因何为他们受洗呢?30我们又因何时刻冒险呢?31弟兄们,我在我主基督耶稣里指着你们所夸的口极力地说,我是天天冒死。32我若当日像寻常人在以弗所同野兽战斗,那于我有什么益处呢?

        哥林多人“为死人”受洗是什么意思?对于第29句经文有300多种解释。摩门教徒甚至施行一种习俗,摩门教成员可以为那些已经死去的但是不信耶稣的家庭成员受洗。这节经文当然不是这个意思,因为圣经从来没有说过,我们能为那些已经死去的人做任何事情,来改变对他们永恒的审判。

       “为死人受洗”的“为”,这个介词在希腊文中也有“考虑到死去的人”的意思。当我们相信并受洗时,我们确实会展望未来,期盼着我们死的时候将发生什么。保罗再三地将受洗与因为信耶稣而复活联系起来。今天早晨我再次阅读了歌罗西书2章12节:“你们既受洗与他一同埋葬,也就在此与他一同复活,都因信神的功用的缘故。”如果洗礼能将我们与第一次复活连在一起,也就是因为相信基督而在基督里面拥有复活的新生命,同样,洗礼也会把我们与末日的第二次复活联结在一起。

       如果没有复活,为什么要受洗呢?如果没有复活,使徒保罗为什么会冒着死亡的危险去传福音呢?我们愿意相信使徒所传的关于耶稣复活的事,一个重要的原因就是,他们愿意为自己所传的去死。在死亡面前,谎言很容易暴露。但如果复活是真实可信的,你就会理解使徒甘愿为他们所知道的、所传的真理而死。

       在教会举行葬礼的时候会在棺材上放一块白色的棺布,这种习俗在今日的教会中已经不怎么常见了。我曾经亲眼目睹过一次,它提醒我们藉着洗礼这名信徒已经披戴了耶稣的义,他现在可以等待末日的复活了。祷告:天父上帝,谢谢你让我受洗归入基督,并因为相信基督而复活拥有了新的生命。正是因为他的义,而不是我自己的义,让我成为你亲爱的孩子。当我们因为各种原因面对最后的死亡时,我们可以喜乐的宣告,“我已经受洗归入基督了,”!阿们。

1 Corinthians 15: 29 Otherwise, what will those people do who get baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why do they even get baptized for them? 30 Why do we live in danger every hour? 31 Day by day I face death, as surely as I boast about you, brothers, in Christ Jesus our Lord. 32 If I fought wild animals in Ephesus with human motives, what good did it do me?  (EHV)

What does it mean that people in Corinth were getting baptized “for the dead?”  There are over three hundred interpretations of verse 29. The Mormons actually carry on a practice where their members can be baptized for unbelieving family members who have died. That’s an unlikely interpretation, because nowhere in the Bible does it say that we can do anything to change the eternal sentence of those who have died.

The Greek preposition translated “for” can also mean “in view of the dead.” When we come to faith and are baptized, we do indeed look ahead to what will happen when we die. Paul repeatedly connects baptism to coming alive in Christ by faith. I just read it again in Colossians 2:12 this morning: “you were buried with him in baptism and raised with him through faith in the power of God.” If baptism connects us to this first resurrection, the resurrection to a new life in Christ, doesn’t it also connect us with our second resurrection on the last day?

So if there is no resurrection, why get baptized at all? And if there is no resurrection, why would the Apostle Paul face death for preaching the gospel? One good reason to believe what the Apostles said about Jesus’ resurrection is the fact that they were willing to die for what they proclaimed. In the face of death, lies are easily exposed. But if the resurrection is true and real, then you can understand the willingness of the Apostles to die for what they knew was true.

        The practice of placing a white funeral pall over the casket in church is not very common in our churches today. I witnessed it once, and it was a wonderful reminder that through baptism, this believer was clothed with the righteousness of Jesus and could wait for the resurrection on the last day.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, I am thankful that I am baptized into Christ and raised by faith in him to have a new life.  It is his righteousness and not my own that makes me your dear child. In the face of our mortality through pandemics and plagues, what a joy to say, “I am baptized into Christ!”  Amen.

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