Oh Death, Where Is Your Sting?

Pastor Mike Teague
I was reading in 1 Corinthians this week and I came across this passage. I was struck by how Paul approaches the chaos in his own life and the lives of believers in the Roman empire. The whole chapter is great but I’ll cite verses 51-58.
“Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.
53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.
54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
Paul is calling the Corinthians to hope and he is pointing them toward the return of Christ. These believers were well aware of the danger, uncertainty and volatility around them. This book was written in 57 A.D. and by 64 A.D. Nero was burning Christians in his garden. They were looking for hope and Paul points them to the reality Jesus is the victor over death and sin. And because of His death, burial and resurrection, we are now also victorious over death in Christ. We no longer need to fear death, it has no sting for us anymore.
In light of this truth, Paul then calls believers to have a Kingdom attitude, to be steadfast and immovable (despite the chaos around them) in the security and victory that we have in Jesus. And from that victory, we should be “abounding in the work of the Lord.” My prayer is that we as a church will take this truth to heart and will be faithful to work hard at Kingdom things, especially now. We can give hope, encouragement, time, resources, the Gospel, care, support and a whole list of other things that will show the love of Christ to the world around us. Our call is to be sacrificial in our love for those around us, let’s choose to lean into this call and serve Christ wholeheartedly, “knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”

2 Responses to “Oh Death, Where Is Your Sting?”

  1. Lorna Sleeper says:

    This truth is especially comforting to me this week as we as an extended family said our last goodbye to my sister in law. This passage actually came to mind. Thanks for sharing!

  2. MARY ANNE MEAD says:

    Thanks, Lorna Sleeper for sharing this. I’m 66 years old. For 6 decades, I have been involved in ‘church music.’ These passages are written on my heart, through music (Messiah. Handel). I am so grateful for God’s gift to musicians across the centuries. All the Hymns (Crosby), anthems, Spirituals, music for the Liturgy, and all the musicians to play and sing for congregations to learn and to focus on our utmost worship of God. Then, as we go out to be God’s eyes, ears, hands, feet, heart, we carry this beautiful music with us. Thanks be to God; Praise be to God! Your Sister in Christ Jesus, Mary Anne Mead.

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