Will Man Have a Second Chance After Death?

Dub Mowery

Both the Mormon Church and the Catholic Church teach that there will be a second chance after this life for those who die in sin. But these two religious groups approach this concept differently. The Mormon Church interprets 1 Corinthians 15:29 to justify a member of their church being baptized for their loved ones or others who die without having their sins forgiven. “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead?” Instead of studying the subject discussed in its context, the passage is lifted from its context by the Mormons. Its been rightfully said that, “A text taken from its context becomes a pretext.”

The subject in verse 29 is the same as the rest of the 15th chapter. That subject is the resurrection of the dead. Emphasis in the first part of the chapter is upon the fact and proof of Christ’s resurrection from the dead. Our resurrection to eternal life is based upon that of the Son of God. Some at Corinth denied that the saints would be resurrected. This was answered by Paul who wrote, “Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?” (1 Cor. 15:12). The Son of God was resurrected from the dead, in order for Christians to be resurrected to eternal life. With this in mind, Paul further said, “But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain” (1 Cor. 15:13-14). This placed those members of the body of Christ at Corinth who denied the general resurrection in a dilemma. They evidently accepted the fact of the resurrection of Christ, but denied the general resurrection of the human race (John 5:28-29).

First Corinthians 15:29 does not teach anything close to the false concept that living saints can be baptized for those who died without obtaining forgiveness. Salvation is not by proxy! Every person will have to give account for how he has lived.

Another passage of scripture is often used by those who teach a second chance after death:

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached to the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the long suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water (1 Pet. 3:18-20).

Many conclude from this passage that Christ preached to lost men after they died. But the passage above does not say when the Son of God preached to those rebellious spirits of the antediluvean period who were—at Peter’s writing—confined in the prison of the hadean realm. Their disobedience took place while Noah and his sons were building the ark. God gave the human race 120 years in which to repent (Gen. 6:3), and it was at that time that Noah, “a preacher of righteousness” preached unto them. They rejected his preaching and he saved only his family (2 Pet. 2:5; Gen. 7:13). Jesus preached to them through Noah in the same sense that He later preached to the Gentiles (Eph. 2:17). Our Lord never personally preached to the Gentiles of the Christian dispensation. The apostle Paul was the Lord’s “earthen vessel” to take the gospel unto the Gentiles.

The Word of God emphatically stresses that mankind has only this present life to prepare for eternity. We will be judged by how we live here in this physical world. Paul wrote, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10).

Hebrews 9:27 also tells us that we must face judgment according to our spiritual state at death. This is also vividly shown in the story of the rich man and Lazarus which tells us that the spiritual state of an individual cannot be changed in the next life (Luke 16:26).

Those who do not obey the gospel of Christ will be eternally lost (2 Thess. 1:7-9). The scripture does not teach that there will be a second chance for anyone after death.

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Author: Editor

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