1 Corinthians 15:54-57
So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality…
I. WE HAVE MANY BATTLES TO FIGHT, BUT THE ONE MOST DREADED IS THE LAST - THE CONTEST WITH DEATH. Life is a series of contests. The battles of childhood are by no means insignificant, and they are many. In every succeeding stage of life contests continue. Life is a changing but unbroken fight. The final contest is usually the most feared. Then generally
(1) the body is very weak;
(2) in much pain;
(3) thoughts of separation from loved ones and familiar scenes rack the mind;
(4) life opportunities are seen to be at an end;
(5) a sense of loneliness is experienced;
(6) we stand upon the margin of another world;
(7) the time for rendering up the life account is nigh;
(8) we approach our final destiny;
(9) we meet God.
II. IMPORTANCE OF THE ISSUE.
1. If we do not triumph, it is an evidence that we are still under the dominion of sin. Death is of sin (Romans 5:12), and if death is not conquered, sin is not. "The sting of death is sin" (ver. 56). Death conquers only because sin conquers. If sin be slain, death will be powerless.
2. If we are "in sin," we are "without Christ."
3. If we are without Christ, we are without a Redeemer.
4. If we are without a Redeemer, we perish. The death-contest is a great test of our condition.
III. THE CERTAIN TRIUMPH OF THE CHILD OF GOD.
1. Asserted. "I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction" (Hosea 13:14). That which is so dreaded by many should not be feared by the believer. He has a Divine promise of victory.
(1) The triumph comes "through our Lord Jesus Christ." It is not to be achieved by our prowess. We have no strength for the conflict; our sufficiency is of him. Like Mary, we shall meet Christ at the sepulchre. Through him we shall conquer. Well may we offer heartfelt thanks to God (ver. 57), for "God so loved the world," etc.
(2) He satisfied the demands of the Law. "Sin is of the Law;" the Law condemns. Christ passed under the Law for us - bore the penalties of the broken Law; so that those in him are brought from under the Law. "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1) "The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the Law; but we are not under the Law if we are m Christ. "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage" (Hebrews 2:14, 15).
(3) He has risen from the grave. The power of his redemption is thus confirmed. His dominion over death is demonstrated.
3. Exulted in. Before the battle begins, the child of God may rejoice in coming victory. And well may he do so, for this will at the same time illustrate his faith in his Redeemer and brighten all his earthly course. That which was dreaded as a disastrous defeat is rejoiced in as a glorious and all important victory.
4. Often illustrated. Christian biography is rich in death triumphs. Thomas Rutherford in the last fight exclaimed, "He has indeed been a precious Christ to me; and now I feel him to be my Rock, my Strength, my Rest, my Hope, my Joy, my All in all." When Paul heard the bugle call to the last of his many battles, he cried, "I am now ready to be offered up," etc.
IV. AN ARGUMENT FOR THE UNSAVED. Victory on the last battlefield comes alone through Christ. Without him our life will close in disaster and ruin. Suddenly the conflict may come upon us. - H.
Parallel VersesKJV: So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.