1 Corinthians 15:54-58

In 1 Corinthians 15:54-58 Paul wraps up this chapter finishing his teaching around the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is the foundation of Christianity and the main differentiator between it and other faith traditions. “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.” A resurrected body is not a resuscitated corpse. It is a new order of life that will never die again. Death is defeated by resurrection. This isn’t a mere winning of the battle but an eternal victory over death and the enemy.

So Paul writes one of the most powerful verses in all of scripture. “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.” Paul knows that death is a defeated enemy because of Jesus’ work so he can almost taunt death, and mock it. Death has no power over the person found in Jesus Christ. Spurgeon said it this way: “I will not fear thee, death, why should I? Thou lookest like a dragon, but thy sting is gone. Thy teeth are broken, oh old lion, wherefore should I fear thee? I know thou art no more able to destroy me, but thou art sent as a messenger to conduct me to the golden gate wherein I shall enter and see my Savior’s unveiled face for ever. Expiring saints have often said that their last beds have been the best they have ever slept upon.”

What a time in our history to be reading this verse. As we face unknowns around health and other serious issues, it is easy to allow fear to take hold in our life. But our faith trumps any fear that the enemy can throw at us. There is nothing that Jesus Christ has not overcome through the resurrection after death on the Cross. God had a plan, Jesus carried it out, and you and I as Christ Followers now will have victory over death for all of eternity. “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” It’s not ours to take credit for, but is ours to be claimed as a believer. Victory is ours is we believe in Jesus.

Paul then shares a verse that has become my life verse. He challenges us to push aside fear and know what God has done through Christ. The destiny of the resurrection means we should stand fast for the Lord right now. We should not be swayed by anything that happens around us. “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.” The promise here is that what we do for the Lord will be used by God. Even if your labor is vain to everyone else, and everyone else discounts or doesn’t appreciate what you do for the Lord, your labor is not in vain in the Lord. It doesn’t matter if you get the praise or the encouragement; sometimes you will and sometimes you won’t. But our charge is to keep on serving our Lord!

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