Baptized for the Dead
In the above passage, the apostle Paul is in no way endorsing the practice of baptizing for the dead. He, is simply referring to a heretical practice where living Christians were baptized on behalf of dead and unbaptized relatives or loved ones, who were supposed thus to be saved by substitution. The early Church Fathers documented such unbiblical practice, referring to the custom of the Marcionite heretics (Tertullian Against Marcion v. 10; On the Resurrection of the Flesh 48; Chrysostom Homilies on 1 Corinthians xl. 1).
Personal Faith in Christ
It is impossible for believers to be baptized vicariously on behalf of a dead family member or a loved one. This is clear from the many Bible references which declare that a man must believe in the Lord as a personal Savior (Acts 16:31; Acts 8:36 John 3:16; 1 John 1:9) and confess his sins in order to benefit by baptism and be saved. “Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).
The Scriptures teach that even the most righteous of men can “deliver but their own souls” and no one else (Ezekiel 14:14, 16; Psalms 49:7). Further, death marks the close of human probation. For “it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27, 28). Therefore, “None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him” (Psalms 49:7–9 also Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6, 10; Isaiah 38:18, 19; Luke 16:26).
“The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself. “But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die…“But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All the righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; because of the unfaithfulness of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, because of them he shall die” (Ezekiel 18:20–24).
In His service,