1 Corinthians 15:55-58 “O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.
Is Paul talking about life? more succinctly, life eternal? What does he mean “the sting of death is sin”, and “the power of sin is the law”? Christ died on a cross, in shame and humility so that we might have eternal life. The unbelievable, inconceivable (at least to us) act that took place on this day over 2000 years ago was brutal. It was ghastly. It was a glimpse of the worst of humanity, it was death. And yet, the whole event, no matter how bloody, pointed to eternal LIFE!
Through no work of your own, Christ has offered you and me the gift of eternal life. The ONLY thing to stop us from accepting it is ourselves. The sting of death IS sin. Satan holds our sins over our heads every day like a 3 ton boulder that could fall any moment and crush our very existence. “You aren’t good enough for Christ’s gift.”, “Do you really think He will accept you in light of all your sin?”, “You disgust Christ.”. These are statements that the evil one throws at us like poison daggers every day of our lives. The sad truth is that often, these daggers find their mark. The remarks drive home the fact that we are incapable of being holy, that we will always be ‘human’. Ironically, the remarks drive us further and further away from the Grace that Christ offers us. Grace that He KNOWS we need because we are in fact incapable of being holy on our own.
The power of sin IS the law. The law reminds us every day what we SHOULD do and what we SHOULD’NT do. The law is a “plum” line if you will, showing us what our lives SHOULD look like. But Satan uses that model not as a guideline, but as a wall that is so high and unattainable. A wall that discourages instead of encourages.
Christ’s act of selflessness on the cross was not a split second decision. “Oh well, this is the only way I can help these poor, detested humans.” No, it was a well planned and executed mission. Probably the greatest strategical move ever known. He love us SO much… John 3:16 says it best. When the poison daggers start flying, stand tall on the knowledge that Christ suffered and died for you before you EVER committed the sin that’s being held over your head. When Satan tells you that you aren’t good enough, smile and praise our Father above and just remind Satan that you don’t have to be good enough because Christ was better than you ever could be. In doing so, you turn that wall back into a plum line. Every sin, every time God’s grace is extended towards you, let it propel you closer to Him. Let it spur you on to be more LIKE Him. As Paul said in Phillippians 3:14 “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”