15:29 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!"
I am sorry if this is going to sound unkind but I must point out that there is no limits to human extremism and fanaticism. Some have taken this one verse from Paul and turned it into a teaching whereby the living get baptized on behalf of the dead. The idea is not mentioned anywhere else in all of Scripture and this one place where it is mentioned Paul does not use the inclusive word "we". He uses the word "they" because baptizing living people to benefit the dead is not and never was a Christian practice. Paul was obviously referring to a pagan practice the Corinthians were familiar with to prove a very simple point. There is life after death. If there is no life after death why do we concern ourselves with the date of dead people? Furthermore why do we live in a way that imperils our present life if there is nothing afterwards? Would a person invest for retirement if he or she were going to work until they died?
Paul is simply affirming the resurrection, the whole idea of life after death by any means possible. In verse 30 he asks "Why so we live in jeopardy every hour?" To be a Christian then was to be hated on all sides and literally life threatening. Why live that way if this life is all there is? Indeed he concludes if there is no resurrection let's just say, drink, and be merry.
However there is one thing Paul says in there that is worth some extra attention beyond his main point. He said "I die daily". What did he mean? If he died daily he must have also resurrected daily. In another place Paul wrote "you were dead in trespasses and sins but have been made alive in Christ." For Paul life does not start until you find Jesus. After you find Jesus the old man that was buried in baptism keeps trying to resurrect. Paul describes that struggle in Romans 7. That's why he dies daily. Every morning he gets up and chooses to die again. To leave that old man of sin in the grave and walk in his new Christ following life. No longer is Paul considered with physical life and death. If physical life were his main concern he would stay as far away from Christianity as possible. Being a Christian was a great way to die prematurely. Instead Paul was only concerned with being alive spiritually. He wanted his heart to be in harmony with the heart of Jesus. He knew in the resurrection only character matters. This physical life is nothing compared to the eternal life of perfect peace and matchless love. As one author put it, when God's kingdom is restored and sin is no more, one pulse of harmony will beat throughout the vast creation.
There is a better day coming. There is life beyond this mess of a planet. Even the pagans looked for life beyond because we were created with eternity in our hearts.