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Tim Chaffey, AiG–U.S., explains why the Resurrection of Christ can take away the sting and pain of death for Christians.
So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:51)
Today’s big question: O Death, where is your sting?
Death can be a scary topic for many people, but it should not frighten Christians. As I battled leukemia nearly five years ago, I faced the sobering reality that my life truly is a vapor (James 4:14). However, like Paul, I came to understand that “to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).
How can death be a gain? For believers, death is actually a type of graduation in which we leave this sin-cursed existence and enter into a glorious eternity with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
In this series on 1 Corinthians 15 we have focused on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the marvelous benefits believers receive as a result. Because of the Resurrection, our faith is not empty, we will be made alive, we have the hope of eternal life, and we will receive glorified bodies. We do not mourn like those who have no hope, because we know we will see deceased believers again (1 Thessalonians 4:13).
It seems the Apostle Paul saved the greatest blessing of the Resurrection for his last point. He likened death to a bee which had lost its stinger and then taunted it by asking, “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” Just as the grave could not hold Jesus, it will be incapable of holding Christians. We already have victory over death “through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).
Why should we fear death when we understand our glorious future with Christ? The power of death has been conquered. This is why so many Christian martyrs have given their lives to share the gospel. These brave men and women did not fear to lose what they could not keep to gain what they could not lose. The worst thing the world can do to us is to kill us; yet, ironically, that is the best thing that can happen to us.
So how should we respond to this amazing truth? Paul concluded the “Resurrection chapter” by stating, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58). Do not spend your life chasing earthly pleasures. Instead, live every moment of every day for Christ, because the Resurrection guarantees our work done for the Lord is not wasted.
Today’s big idea: Christians should not fear death because Jesus has already won the victory over it.
What to pray: thank God for conquering death and giving us the hope of eternal life.