Oh Death, Where is Thy Sting?
Is victory over death possible?
, by Emmanuel Higgins
A few weeks ago we started on a journey through the Bible searching its pages for the truth about death. Why does it exist? What is it? What happens after death?
However, what the Bible teaches about death must not become just a lifeless theory. No, no! The plan of redemption, God's marvellous love, the amazing condescension of the Son of God to this fallen world, the death and resurrection of Christ, His plan to uplift man from the ruin and degradation of sin, is the theme around which every teaching of the Bible clusters.
All through the Bible we can see God's love and wisdom. In love God created beings of free choice. In His wisdom, God knew that He must let sin run its course, until all were convinced of its terrible character. In love God sent His only Son to meet the requirements of a broken law, so a way could be opened for law-breakers to be forgiven. In love, God will resurrect the righteous dead to eternal life. In His justice, God will ultimately destroy all sin and sinners, so the universe can once again be restored to the perfect atmosphere of peace.
So we see that God is infinitely wise, just and loving.
Now, to conclude we will seek to dig a bit deeper into the love of God. The question is.. How? How can we gain the victory over death? How can we overcome death and gain eternal life?
Let's face it, if we were given two options. Life, or death. Which thinking person would choose death? Of course any reasonable person would much rather life. So let's read this powerful verse:
"O death, where [is] thy sting? O grave, where [is] thy victory?
The sting of death [is] sin; and the strength of sin [is] the law.
But thanks [be] to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." - 1. Corinthians 15:55-57
Ask that question.. What is the sting of death? What is the victory of the grave? The sting of death is what? Read it again.
Yes, the sting of death is sin. How could that be? The wages of sin is what? In Romans 6:23 we read that the wages of sin is death. This isn't the natural death that every mortal has experienced, no, this is talking about the ultimate wage of sin, that is eternal death.
The sting is the eternal consequence. Eternal life forfeited for eternal death.
What does it mean by saying that the strength of sin is the law? Well, in Romans 7:7 we read:
"What shall we say then? [is] the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet." - Romans 7:7
Without the law there is no sin. Without the law sin would not appear exceedingly sinful. So in this sense, the law is the strength of sin.
But we must pay close attention to the last verse of the above quotation; what is the answer? Is victory over death possible? Can the sting of death be removed? Can we conquer the grave? The answer is a resounding YES!
But how? How is victory over death attainable? "..through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1. Corinthians 15:57). Through Christ, victory can be attained, the grave can be conquered, and eternal life can be our experience.
Now, notice also how victory comes to us. Read verse 57 again:
"But thanks [be] to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." - 1. Corinthians 15:57
Notice, victory is a gift.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." - John 3:16
Again we see God so loved that He gave His Son Jesus, the greatest gift.
"For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." - Romans 6:23
Yet again we see that eternal life was given as a gift! This gift is in Jesus.
"And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
He that hath the Son hath life; [and] he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." - 1. John 5:11-12
He that has Jesus has life. What kind of life? A Victorious life! The life of Christ being lived out in the believer.
In reality, a life of sin is not real life at all. Rather it's an eternal death sentence. To have life, real eternal life, is to have Jesus.
"Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world." - 1. John 4:4
To overcome, we must have a power that is greater than the object we are seeking to overcome. Christ, the almighty God, walked in human flesh, was tempted in all points as we are and yet without sin, overcame them all. Christ promises to give to us, the same power that sustained Him in His earthly life. By the surrender of our will to the will of God, moment by moment we can overcome sin and thereby receive the gift of living eternally in the presence of God and the vast universe of His creation.
Dear reader, heaven waits to bestow the greatest gift imaginable upon you. Maybe you have already heeded the call of Christ:
"For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:" - 1. Peter 2:21-22
I pray that you are experiencing a daily living walk with God, praying often and spending quiet moments with God. I pray that you are daily gaining victories through the power of Christ.
But if you have not yet fully surrendered your life to Christ, lose not a moment to make things right! Cast yourself at the feet of one who knows no failure. Plead with God for needed strength to gain the victory. Surrender all to the guidance and direction of Him. Study the word like never before, and by the grace of God you will conquer death!