The purpose of baptism is the
subjection of one's spirit to God, to undergo spirit cleansing (sanctification)
until one's spirit is ready to be finally clothed with immortal life in the
spirit heavens after leaving the physical body after death. Then, to be given
another "body" as it has pleased Almighty God. It is not
as some teach to begin physical life again on earth following an earthly
resurrection (i.e. to die twice*). (1 Cor 15:1-57 NEB) (Jude V.4 & 12* NWT).
THE "UTTERLY LOST".
"It follows also
that those who have died within Christ's fellowship are utterly lost".
(1 Cor 15:18 NEB).
Dying within Christ's fellowship does not mean one's physical death, but
describes those leaving The Christ's established rule of conduct after coming to
know the requirements for gaining incorruptible life, and who progressively die
in spirit and perish in connection with all future hope of immortality. But
those living according to the Spirit rule of conduct and fellowship of The
Christ as the firstfruits of God's gathered "harvest" from among
mankind, are progressively being made spiritually alive by the Spirit of God,
with everlasting life in view. (Gal 6:15,16).
THOSE WHO PASS ON DESTRUCTIVE
BAPTISMS ARE "MOST TO BE PITIED".
"If it is for this
life only that Christ has given us hope, we of all men are most to be pitied."
(1 Cor 15:19 NEB).
Baptisms received through those whose teachings are false and divorced from the
Way of The Christ can only be described as the spiritually dead
receiving baptism on behalf of the already spiritually dead. "If the dead
are not raised to life at all, what do they mean by being
baptized on their behalf?" (not Christ's behalf).
(1 Cor 15:29 NEB).
What "they mean" is
that by receiving baptism in the apostate teachings of the spiritually dead,
they are dedicating themselves to the same end: Baptisms of the dead,
by the dead; subjecting themselves to corrupted teachings. They are
dead respecting immortality. Before the advent of The
Christ's ransom sacrifice, the faith of true servants of God was counted to them
as righteousness. (Rom 4:3) (Rom 4:23
Heb 11:5) (See Page 870). But in order to maintain
or increase membership of those subordinate to their influence, apostates have
twisted the meaning of those parts of the Word of God that do not suit their
erroneous spirit disposition, and therefore have "died within Christ's
fellowship" and are "utterly lost".
follows also that those who have died within Christ's fellowship are utterly
lost. If it is for this life only that Christ has given us
hope, we of all men are most to be pitied. But the truth is, Christ was
raised to life
the firstfruits of the harvest of the dead. For since it was a man who brought
death into the world, a man also brought resurrection of the dead. As in Adam
all men die, so in Christ all will be brought to life; but each in his own
proper place: Christ the firstfruits, and afterwards, at his coming, those who
belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers up the Kingdom to God the
Father, after abolishing every kind of domination, authority, and power. For he
is destined to reign until God has put all enemies under his feet; and the last
enemy to be abolished is death. Scripture says, 'He has put all things in
subjection under his feet.' But in saying 'all things', it clearly means to
exclude God who subordinates them; and when all things are thus subject to him,
then the Son himself will also be made subordinate to God who made all things
subject to him, and thus God will be all in all. Again,
there are those who receive baptism on behalf of the dead. Why should
they do this? If the dead are not raised to life at all,
what do they mean by being baptized on their behalf?"
(1 Cor 15:18-29 NEB).
"What I mean, my brothers, is this:
flesh and blood can never possess the Kingdom of God, and the perishable
cannot possess immortality. Listen! I will unfold a mystery: we shall not all
die, but we shall all be changed in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the
last trumpet-call. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will rise immortal,
and we shall be changed. This perishable being must be clothed with the
imperishable, and what is mortal must be clothed with immortality. And when
our mortality has been clothed with immortality, then the saying of Scripture
will come true: 'Death is swallowed up; victory is won!' 'O Death, where is your
victory? O Death, where is your sting?' The sting of death is sin, and sin gains
its power from the Law; but, God be praised, He gives us the victory through our
Lord Jesus Christ."
(1 Cor 15:50
(Cont. on Page