“Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” – 1 Corinthians 15:55
Oh, what a great hope we have in Christ! Oh, how triumphant is His resurrection! Because He lives, we live! Because He rose, we will rise! These are truths of Scripture that cannot be avoided in our minds. We must saturate ourselves with these biblical realities, or the sting of death in this life will consume us, will break us, will destroy our faith. Death is a reality in a fallen world, but Christ is victorious over death! Praise the Lord!
Take every victory from every war throughout history, every championship won by every sports team ever assimilated, every single victory in every single category, and put it in a scale next to the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and again Christ has the victory. This victory would be a landslide. Nothing compares to Christ’s defeat of death. Nothing is even worth comparing. For God’s people His victory is our victory, and for His enemies, His victory is their defeat. There is not an illustration that truly depicts the magnitude of His resurrection. Our highest views of the resurrection, and it’s implications, will always fall short.
Death reigned from Adam to Christ. Death won every battle, death defeated all opponents, death reigned supreme in every match, death was undefeated. Then the Son of God, or God the Son, entered His creation, and once and for all swallowed death up in victory! The war on death was not only waged, but won.
The sword of sin that death wielded against his opponents did not stand a chance against the blameless, perfect, sinless lamb of God and His perfect work. He became sin, who knew no sin, so that we could become the righteousness of God. The sting of death is now gone for the elect. The sting of death is gone, because Christ took the penalty on that tree. Our last is breath is coming. The well of our breath is running dry, but as we inhale and exhale one last time, we enter into eternity, sting-less because of His work on our behalf.
Reformed theologian R.C. Sproul came to faith after his father passed away. He said he watched his father rapidly decrease in health, and remembered how hard it was to watch him fade away. At the funeral he said that he looked at the casket, and thought to himself, “Is that it? We live briefly, we die quickly, and that is all?” And he said this moment served as a call to investigate the meaning of life. What he found was Christ, and his life now had meaning and purpose. Not only that, he learned his life did not end at the casket. That the casket is a sort of mattress where we all sleep for a while. Until we hear the voice of Christ calling us up.
Only Christians get to experience true joy, free from fear of death. Because we know how the story ends.
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall their be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” – Revelation 21:1-4