IN THE DAYS OF HIS POWER SERIES.
TOPIC: O DEATH, WHERE IS THY VICTORY?
Rev. Innocent Peace-Udochukwu President Living Fountain Ministries Int’l LIFOM
“O Death, where is your sting? O Grave, where is your victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The apostle pictures death as a terrible dragon, or monster, which, coming upon all men, must be fought with by each one for himself. He gives us no hopes whatever that any of us can avoid it. He tells us of no bridge across the river Death; he does not give us the faintest hope that it is possible to emerge from this state of existence into another without dying; he describes the monster as being exactly in our path, and with it we must fight, each man personally, separately, and alone; each man must die; we all must cross the black stream; each one of us must go through the iron gate. There is no passage from this world into another without death. Having told us, then, that there is no hope of our escape, he braces up our nerves for the combat; but he gives us no hope that we shall be able to slay the monster; he does not tell us that we can strike our sword into his heart, and so overturn and overwhelm death; but, pointing to the dragon, he seems to say, “Thou canst not slay it, man; there is no hope that thou shouldst ever put thy foot upon its neck and crush its head; but one thing can be done—it has a sting which thou mayest extract; thou canst not crush death under foot, but thou mayest pull out the sting which is deadly; and then thou need not fear the monster, for monster it shall be no longer, but rather it shall be a swift-winged angel to waft thee aloft to heaven. Where, then, is the sting of this dragon? Where must I strike? What is the sting? The apostle tells us, “that the sting of death is sin.” Once let me cut off that, and then, though death may be dreary and solemn, I shall not dread it; but, holding up the monster’s sting, I shall exclaim, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” Let us now dwell upon the fact, that “the sting of death is sin.”
Sin puts a sting into death, from the fact that sin brought death into the world. Men could be more content to die if they did not know it was a punishment. I suppose if we had never sinned, there would have been some means for us to go from this world to another. It cannot be supposed that so huge a population would have existed, that all the myriads who have lived from Adam down till now could ever have inhabited so small a globe as this; there would not have been space enough for them. But there might have been provided some means for taking us off when the proper time should come, and bearing us safely to heaven. God might have furnished horses and chariots of fire for each of his Elijahs; or, as it was said of Enoch, so it might have been declared of each of us, “He is not, for God hath taken him.” Thus to die, if we may call it death to depart from this body and to be with God, would have been no disgrace; in fact, it would have been the highest honor; fitting the loftiest aspiration of the soul, to live quickly its little time in this world, then to mount and be with its God; and in the prayers of the most pious and devout man, one of his sublimest petitions would be, “O God, hasten the time of my departure, when I shall be with thee.” When such sinless beings thought of their departure, they would not tremble, for the gate would be one of ivory and pearl—not as now, of iron—the stream would be as nectar, far different from the present “bitterness of death.” But alas! how different! Death is now the punishment of sin. “In the day thou eatest there of thou shalt surely die.” “In Adam all die.” By his sin every one of us become subject to the penalty of death, and thus, being a punishment, death has its sting. To the best man, the holiest Christian, the most sanctified intellect, the soul that has the nearest and dearest intercourse with God, death must appear to have a sting, because sin was its mother. O fatal offspring of sin, I only dread thee because of they parentage! If thou didst come to me as an honor, I could wade through Jordan even now, and, when its chilling billows were around me, I would smile amidst its surges; and in the swellings of Jordan my song should swell too, and the liquid music of my voice should join with the liquid swellings of the floods, “Hallelujah! It is blessed to cross to the land of the glorified.” This is one reason why the sting of sin is death.
In Thessalonians 4:13-14, Paul said, “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not even as others which have no hope.” Verse 14: “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.”
The Christian is not to fear death, as the non-Christian does, because the Christian has a hope that cannot be shared by those who have not entrusted their lives to Jesus Christ. You are not to feel and to act as those who have no hope because you have the greatest hope in all the world and that hope is the hope of eternal life through Jesus Christ.
I hope that as we consider this subject today it will drive the fear and the anxiety of death from your mind and give you the deep peace and calm of Jesus Christ in your hearts. God’s word strengthens our hearts against the hour when death comes, bringing healing for our concern.
O death! Where is your victory? We will prove you impotent yet, O desperate Grave! You have no triumphs! Our Lord, Jehovah’s Christ, the Resurrection—He has broken open your portals and made through your territories a wide passage for all Believers to the Land of Promise. What though—
‘An angel’s arm can’t snatch me from the grave, Legions of angels can’t confine me there!'” Turn now, O Believer, and sing a paean of triumph. “The sting of death is sin.” Through Jesus Christ that is forgiven. “The strength of sin is the Law.” Through Christ Jesus that has ceased to thunder, for it has been fulfilled and has become our friend. Therefore, “thanks be unto God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Prepare, then, the voice of joyous thanksgiving! Make ready your triumphal hymn! Death, we now triumph over you. You have spoken, but now we will speak and answer you to your face! Death has no sting to a Believer. Once death was the penalty of sin—sin being forgiven, the penalty ceases and Christians do not die, now, as a punishment for their sin, but they die that they may be prepared to live! They are unclothed that they may be clothed upon with that house which is from Heaven! They leave the tenement of clay that they may inherit the eternal mansion!
There is no sting left in you, O Death, in yourself. As for all you can tell us of aches and pains and groans, we know that all these things work together for our good!
In 2 Timothy 1:10, Paul tells us that “Christ hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” Many centuries ago Anselm wrote a book, entitled, Why Did God Become a Man? There are many answers to that question as well as various interpretations, but you will not find a better answer than the one given in the Word of God. In the book of Hebrews 2:14-16, the writer speaks of the birth of Jesus Christ in this way: “For as much then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that hath power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham.” This deliverance from the power of death was affected by the death of Jesus Christ upon the cross, which was no accident! It was not the result of the High Priest being too clever or too powerful for Jesus; but was of His own design and purpose, voluntary and self-chosen. Only by dying could Jesus nullify the power of Satan over human life and the fear of death.
Before we can answer the crucial and critical questions about death, we must first face the reality of death. Mark Twain once said, “This life is a losing proposition; nobody gets out of it alive.” The ancient Jews had an old saying that went like this: “In this life, death never suffers a man to be glad or joyous.” Death is a reality. Every second that ticks by on the clock, somewhere in the world a person dies. There are 50 million deaths out of the earth’s population annually. It is impossible to pick up the newspaper and look through it without seeing obituary columns and reading about tragic deaths.
What does the Bible have to say about death? The Bible says to us that we human beings are immortal, undying spirits living in a house of clay, which is flimsy, subject to disease, flesh, bones, and blood. The scriptures teach us that when death comes there is a separation of the spirit from the body. When the hour comes that the body is no longer inhabitable because of old age, disease, or accident, the Bible speaks of the spirit as moving out of the house of clay. The Bible says, “It is appointed unto men once to die.” The Bible further says that for everything there is a season: there is a time to plant, there is a time to pluck; a time to sow and a time to reap; a time to live and a time to die. We cannot get away from it; it is a fact, and no one escapes it.
Paul says, and the entire Bible proclaims, that Jesus Christ, in the glorious resurrection of His body, has “abolished death.” Right here we are not concerned with the many “infallible proofs” of His resurrection about which the Bible speaks. They are recorded as a fact of history. I want our focus to be upon the meaning of the word “abolished” in connection with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
“Abolish” means to make of no effect, to void, to make empty, to remove completely. This means that His resurrection emptied death of everything that death held in the way of fear as far as people are concerned. It does not mean that He has taken away the dissolution of the body. What he does mean is that Christ defeated death. It would no longer bring a frightful chill to the human heart. The eyes of the disciples saw their Master dying on the cross, waited through those agonizing hours and days, until resurrection morning; and then they watched in amazement as He came back to show them what was on the other side of death for the Christian. This is the good news of the Gospel. The poet has said it this way: “Flood has lost its chill since Jesus crossed the river.” According to John on Patmos, Jesus said to him: “I am the first and the last, the Alpha and the Omega. I am He that liveth and was dead, and behold, I am alive forever more.” Why, there was nothing left for these disciples to be afraid of! When Jesus demonstrated that He had abolished the fear of death there was nothing left for the disciples to fear. Jesus turned the lights on. Nothing dispels darkness like truth and light.
“O Death, where is your sting? O Grave, where is your victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength 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 you steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for so much as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 15:55-58.
So many people in this world try to escape the inevitability of death. They exercise, eat well and try to remain healthy. Some even go to more extreme methods like pressurized oxygen chambers and blood transfusions with younger blood.
In all the ways this world tries to avoid or delay death there is only one true way to escape the grasp of death. That escape only comes in the hands of the Lord Jesus Christ. By His sacrifice, we escape death and live eternally. We do not have to live under the penalty of sin today and we escape the judgment of our sin tomorrow.
Hear the word of God’s gospel, and depart with God’s blessing. “Whosoever believeth on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ shall be saved.” “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” “He is able to save to the uttermost, all that come unto him.” “Whosoever cometh unto him, he will in no wise cast out.” Let every one that heareth say, “Come; whosoever is athirst, let him come and take of the water of life, freely.”
Death for so many feels like a looming inevitability but for the Christian it holds no sting. Praise God that He has rescued us from hell, death and the grave!
FOR MORE SPIRITUAL INSIGHT/PRAYER REQUESTS 🙏 PLEASE CONTACT US AT:
WEBSITES: www.rhemaproductionstv.com, www.rptvblog.com