Friday, August 23, 2013
“O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:55 KJV).
In Jesus Christ, we endure “the sting of death” but for a moment….
Having attended the funerals of two family members—my maternal great-aunt and my paternal uncle—during the past four days, my family and I have certainly felt “the sting of death.” That second passing away was unexpected and extremely quick, making it very painful for the family.
To view the bodies of loved ones lying lifeless in their caskets, always pricks (“stings”) the inner man: like a knife, death slices through the souls of the bereaved. That feeling is greatly intensified in those who literally “have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13) because they are outside of Jesus Christ and lack assurance of seeing their loved ones in heaven.
The verse following today’s Scripture reads: “The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law” (1 Corinthians 15:56). We all know that sin is a very painful reality, clearly and fully manifested by the Mosaic Law. The Law shows us that presence and particulars of sin while death is the penalty of sin: “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a).
Romans 6:23b provides the solution: “but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” While we live in this sin-cursed world and are subject to its effects (including physical death), 1 Corinthians 15:57 offers us Christians consolation: “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
As people who have trusted alone in the finished crosswork of Jesus Christ as sufficient payment for our sins, we have hope in Jesus Christ. One day, at the “rapture,” when Jesus Christ will return to gather us the Church that is His Body, He will bodily resurrect our deceased Christian brethren and we will be reunited forever (1 Corinthians 15:51-54). Today’s Scripture reminds us that not only will Jesus Christ rescue us from that “sting” of their loss, but He will give them—and us—“victory” over the power of death.
What a hope we have in Jesus Christ! 🙂