There’s an older GM truck in town, one that has a camper on it. The truck has the word “RESURRECTION” across the top of the windshield.
Maybe you’ve seen this vehicle driving around Kamloops at one time or another. I don’t know the owner and I have never spoken to him, but the thought of that word makes one think of life and death and life after death.
The headline of this column is taken from 1st Corinthians 15:55, one of the great chapters in the Bible on the subject of the resurrection. The question is asked: “O death, where is thy sting?”
This query is part of a conclusion being drawn from the prior verses of chapter 15. In verses 1 to 11, Paul presents the great fact of the bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Paul writes of the multitude of eyewitnesses who saw the Lord Jesus alive after he was raised from the dead. Paul then tells of his own experience of seeing the Lord after the Lord was raised.
All this is given to say in verse 11 to the believers at Corinth, regarding the resurrection of Christ: “So we preach and so ye believed.”
Next. Paul addresses false teaching that had infiltrated the assembly of believers. There were some who were saying that “there is no resurrection of the dead.” Paul goes on to write of the consequences of such a lie. In verse 13, Paul says that if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not raised.
In verse 14, Paul writes that if Christ is not raised, then Paul’s preaching was in vain and the believer’s faith was in vain. In verse 15, Paul writes that he was a false witness of God if Christ was not raised up.
The consequence of that is the false statement that “the dead rise not.”
Paul goes on to write of other consequences, such as the believers were still in their sins and were never delivered from the awful result of their sins. Another consequence was that the believers who had passed away already had perished, if there is no resurrection of the dead.
Paul writes of them being the most miserable people on earth if there is no resurrection of the dead. In verse 20, Paul writes, “But now is Christ risen from the dead.” Their hope was secure because the Lord Jesus was alive from the dead. The Lord’s resurrection was the guarantee of the resurrection of all who trust him as their saviour.
The Lord Jesus is the security of the believer. Since The Lord is raised, then all who are his will be raised. It is just that simple. My assurance comes from what the Lord has done and not some accomplishment of mine.
So, the question is asked by Paul in verse 55: “O death, where is thy sting?” The believer’s hope and security is found in the work of Christ. He has accomplished all to God’s satisfaction. The guarantee that God is satisfied is that Christ has been raised from the dead.
The believer can rest right there and rejoice with Paul and all other believers and ask, “O death, where is thy sting?”
A few weeks ago, I was trying to keep a wasp from entering our vehicle and I tried to brush away the unwelcome guest. As I swatted at it, the little rascal stung me — and this reminds me of the sting of death. It hurts, but Christ has overcome death and given the believer great confidence that the sting of death has been removed.
In verse 56, Paul writes that “the sting of death is sin.” For the believer, the problem of our sin was dealt with by Christ on the cross. The believer is no longer separated from God because of their sin.
Christ has died for our sins according to the scriptures. He was buried and he rose again on the third day, according to the scriptures.
O death, where is thy sting? “Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
John Eggers is an elder in the assembly that meets in Westsyde Gospel Hall in Kamloops.KTW welcomes submissions to its Faith page. Columns should be between 600 and 800 words in length and include a headshot of the author, along with a short bio. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.