“Where, O Death, Is Your Sting?”
1 Corinthians 15:55-57
By Drew Zuverink
“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
I encourage you, reader, to turn in your own Bible and read all of chapter 15 so that you can get a more complete picture of what Paul is painting in this passage. It’s an important chapter in the Bible that describes the very real fear of death and also the very real hope that people have for what life will be like after death.
How true is it that death is a scary thing to think about? We are fragile human beings that can die from any number of things at any moment of any day of any year. What’s worse is that we almost never know when it could be. Some of us, usually when we are young, feel invincible. We understand logically that we could die any day but we don’t believe that in our hearts, at least not enough to impact how we live.
It really is true though, at any moment of any day we might die. When we push all of the other
thoughts out of our heads and really think about that it can cause us to become anxious and fearful. We are so helpless to stay alive! We think to ourselves, “what comes next?” It’s not like we can try death out quick, maybe peek into the afterlife to see what it’s like. No, it’s completely new, we cannot experience it until it comes upon us to take us away. The unknown makes it scary.
As Christians we believe that a great life awaits us after we die to this earth, but as much as we are taught this, death can still be a scary thing to think about. Maybe some of you reading this are older and your bodies are beginning to fail you. Death might not feel very far away to you at all, it probably feels very near. It is completely understandable for you to feel anxious or even fearful of the day that you will die and I would encourage you, when you begin to feel afraid, turn to this passage.
You see the sting of death is sin. The dangerous part, the painful part, the frightening part of death is actually sin. If sin were not a part of the equation then there would be absolutely nothing to fear in death. Sin ruined God’s perfect world that he first created and so it was sin that causes incredible pain, separation from God, and also death. In fact, the punishment for sin in the garden of Eden was death. Death was not a part of the perfect world that God first created and if Adam and Eve had never sinned then they would have lived forever.
Physical death is one thing, but spiritual death is even more frightening. We know that because of our sinfulness in this life, we deserve to be sent to an everlasting spiritual death in hell. That is the real sting of death, and probably the biggest cause of your anxiety when you consider your last moments on earth.
Child of God, that is not your future. “Where, O death is your sting? Where, O death is your victory?” How can Paul say this? How can he look death eye to eye and say, “you have no bite, there is nothing about you that causes me fear.” It’s Jesus Christ and Christ alone!
Oh what sweet, sweet, victory we have in Jesus! Oh how I love him! Christ has offered salvation for all who hold on to their trust in him as they tread towards death’s door. What a comforting passage of scripture! Christ has come into our bedrooms, and looked under our beds to see if the monster that we are afraid of is there, and when he has finished checking, he looks into our eyes and tells us, “loved one, there is nothing to fear here, I have slayed that cursed monster .... now rest in peace.”