1 Corinthians 15:55-58
O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?…
I. THE STING OF DEATH.
1. Sin brought death into the world. Men could be more content to die if they did not know it was a punishment. "In Adam all die." By his sin every one of us become subject to the penalty of death.
2. That which shall make death most terrible to man will be sin, if it is not forgiven. Consider a man dying, and looking back on his past life. To feel remorse is to have eternal torment commenced within the soul.
3. But if sin in the retrospect be the sting of death, what must sin in the prospect be? The moment we die the voice of justice cries, "Seal up the fountain of forgiveness" he that is holy let him be holy still; he that is filthy let him be filthy still. The hour of death is like that celebrated picture of Perseus holding up the head of Medusa. That head turned all persons into stone who looked upon it. What I am when death is held before me, that I must be for ever.
II. THE STRENGTH OF SIN IS THE LAW. Most men think that sin has no strength at all. "Oh," say many, "we may have sinned very much, but we will repent, and we will be better; God is merciful, and He will forgive us." The strength of sin is the law in that —
1. The law being spiritual, it is quite impossible for us to live without sin. It is not merely the act, it is the thought; it is not the deed simply, it is the very imagination, that is a sin. Oh, now, sinner, how canst thou get rid of sin? Thy very thoughts are crimes. Is there not, now, strength in sin? Hath not the law nerved sin with such a power that all thy strength cannot hope to wipe away thy transgression?
2. It will not abate one tittle of its stern demands. It says to every man who breaks it, "I will not forgive you." You hear persons talk about God's mercy. Now, if they do not believe in the gospel they must be under the law; but where in the law do we read of mercy? The law thunders out, without the slightest mitigation, "The soul that sinneth it shall die." If any of you desire to be saved by works, remember, one sin will spoil your righteousness.
3. For every transgression it will exact a punishment. The law never remits a farthing of debt. Now, if ye consider all this, are you prepared to take away the sting of death in your own persons? If you think so, go, O foolish one, go, twist thy rope of sand; go, build a pyramid of air; but know it will be a dream with an awful awakening.
III. THE VICTORY OF FAITH. Christ has taken away the strength of sin.
1. He has removed the law. We are not under bondage, but under grace. The principle that I must do a thing — that is to say, the principle of law, "do, or be punished, or be rewarded," is not the motive of the Christian's life; his principle is, "God has done so much for me, what ought I to do for Him?"
2. He has completely satisfied it. The law demands a perfect righteousness; Christ says, "Law, thou hast it: find fault with Me; I am the sinner's substitute." "Who shall now lay anything to the charge of God's elect?" Now the law is satisfied, sin is gone; and now surely we need not fear the sting of the dragon.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?