1 Corinthians 15:55-58
O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?…
I. DEATH AND ITS STING.
1. Sin gave death his being, and it also gives him his terrors. With the utmost propriety is sin compared to a sting; for it at once pierces, pains, and poisons. Sharpened by temptation, and nicely smoothed and polished by a thousand alleviating circumstances and plausible excuses, it enters insensibly into the soul, and, before we are aware, torments our consciences with pain, and poisons our faculties with its malignant influence. Its power pierces, its guilt pains, and its pollution and defilement are its poison. And every time we commit it, it wounds us afresh, puts us to fresh pain, and spreads its poison wider and deeper: and, alas! so often have we committed it, that our whole soul is infected, and all its powers corrupted.
2. Now sin derives its strength from the law. Not that the law encourages sin: far from it. The law forbids it, and denounces "indignation and wrath" upon all that commit it. But, the fountain of our nature being polluted, and continually pouring forth the most baleful streams, the law, like a mound placed in the way of a torrent, opposes, indeed, the rapid course of this overflowing of ungodliness, but, not drying up its source, only makes it rise the higher, and, in the end, flow with greater force and rapidity. For men, finding that they have sinned, and are still inclined to sin, and that they are condemned on that account, are wont to grow desperate in sin, till sin, thus manifested, irritated, and increased, "by the commandment, becomes exceeding sinful."
3. In the meantime the sinner, while urged forward by "the law in his members," which "wars against the law of his mind," observes how be perpetually advances towards the precipice of death, and is led to fear he shall fall into "the lake burning with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." Hence, oppressed with horror and despair, he cries out, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? "Who shall draw the sting of death, and show him to be a disarmed enemy? This is the language of every awakened sinner's heart. Being enlightened to see the spirituality, obligation, and extent of the Divine law; being convinced he has repeatedly transgressed it, and is, therefore, involved in the curse of it, he finds himself in dreadful bondage through fear of death. And in this condition he continues till he becomes acquainted with Him who took part of our flesh and blood, that "by death He might destroy him that had the power of death," etc.
II. HOW DEATH IS DISARMED OF HIS STING AND WE ARE ENABLED TO TRIUMPH OVER HIM. It is Christ who disarms death of his sting, and this He does by removing the guilt, breaking the power, and washing away the defilement of sin. When we come under grace as a living and powerful dispensation, sin hath no more dominion over us, and the wrath of God being removed with the guilt of sin, and an accusing conscience departing with the power of sin, we have peace both within and without, and "rejoice in hope of the glory of God." And thus our fear of death and hell is exchanged for a blessed hope of immortality and joy.
Parallel VersesKJV: O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?