We live in a fallen world. People sin and people die. Yes, death and sin are still buzzing around but they are in their death throws. Because I belong to Jesus, neither death nor sin have power over me. By God’s grace, I can flee sin and pursue holiness. I still sin, but I am no longer the slave of sin. My flesh is still subject to physical death but, as a child of God, sin and death are but temporary problems, for God gives, has already given, the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
When a believer dies, he attains the ultimate victory over sin and death. When temporal life claims its last moment, the believer leaves death, and its sting, behind and immediately enters into fulness of joy in the presence of the Lord. What was accomplished on the cross so long ago, is realized in all its splendor at the very moment we draw our last breath.
Though, in Christ, this victory is an accomplished fact, the full and final consummation of the victory over death will not occur until the Lord’s return when death will be destroyed forever. What a joyous, dazzling day it will be when we get our new forever-perfect bodies. Our old worn out death-bodies will be transformed and death itself will be abolished, forever swallowed up in victory just as light swallows up darkness, and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Although they do not yet have their new glorified bodies, our departed, believing loved ones are enjoying the untainted blessings of incorruption and immortality right now. Is this not thrilling to think about?
When I sit at Hans’ resting place, where this portion of Scripture was read on the day of his burial, I have an acute awareness that this piece of ground is not just his grave site but is his resurrection site. From this very spot of earth, Hans will someday come forth. He will have the same body – glorified. And, not only that, right now, our Hans is incorruptible, sinless, victorious. Sin and death cannot touch him much less sting him. This is the victory I rejoice to sing about.
At the burial service, though I was engulfed by the lacerating pain of loss, there was for me a clear moment of defiant victory when those words of triumph were proclaimed over Hans’ vacant tent:
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
These words take on new life when you hear and believe them while staring down into the cold hole that is your son’s grave. When my husband, our remaining sons, and the other men reached for their shovels, these are the words that kept me standing.
On that day of staggering grief, as they lowered our Hans’ body into the frozen ground, my heart was overwhelmed with the immensity of this new gulf fixed between me and my boy and by the overwhelming pull I felt (and still feel) to go to him.
But, on the basis of trust in the shed blood of Christ and His atoning and substitutionary victory over death, I sing, knowing I will go to him someday because the sting of death has been annihilated.
That is the victory I possess in Jesus – right now.
But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:57
Taken from: The Sting of Death