1 Corinthians 15:54-57
So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality…
In this, as in some other passages of St. Paul's writings, logic breaks into rhetoric, prose into poetry, reasoning into fervid exclamation. Anxious to convince, the apostle was nevertheless of a temperament too fervid to be restrained within the boundaries of argument. And when his soul was lifted up above the level of human thought, when inspiration carried him into the third heaven, then he could no longer discourse; but discourse kindled into song. If there is any passage in his writings fitted to fan the burning fire of feeling into the flame of enthusiasm, it is the sublime argument by which he seeks to give definiteness, point, certainty, and attractiveness to the life to come.
I. THE GREAT CHANGE TO BE EXPERIENCED. Our earthly state is characterized by corruptibility and immortality. That this is so is indeed a rebuke to human vanity, yet it is unquestionable. An apostle terms our earthly vesture, "this body of our humiliation," and the designation is just. We live a dying life, carrying within us the seeds of our mortality. Vast and wonderful to contemplate is the change which shall take place in the passage from time to eternity. Incorruption and immortality shall be the vesture of the saved and glorified. The apostle, bearing about in his body the marks of the Lord. Jesus, must have anticipated with joy the promised release from earthly infirmities and sufferings, from all the troubles to which the burden of the body exposes the servant of Christ.
II. THE GREAT VICTORY TO BE WON. According to the view of St. Paul, there are three great enemies with whom the Christian has to contend, and conflict with whom mars the happiness and breaks the peace of this earthly condition. They are the Law, sin, and death. Sin is the goad with which death makes a thrust at the Christian soldier, and it is the Law which makes sin so sharp, powerful, and formidable a weapon. Over all these the glorified Christian has obtained a victory, in the might and by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. Anticipating the conquest, the Christian, even here and now, rejoices in the assured defeat and discomfiture of his formidable foes. He seems already to drag them in triumph at his chariot-wheels, already to be more than conqueror through Christ who loved him.
III. THE GREAT THANKSGIVING TO BE CELEBRATED.
1. The Source and Author of victory is God himself. No lower but his could have defeated foes so mighty, so malicious and so crafty.
2. The Mediator of victory is the Lord Jesus Christ, who first conquered for us, and then conquers in and with us. His crucifixion, followed by his resurrection, gave the death blow to our enemy. This conviction may well give us courage in carrying on the spiritual war, and in looking forward to its issue with confidence and hope.
"Hell and thy sins resist thy course,
But hell and sin are vanquished foes;
Thy Jesus nailed them to the cross,
And sang the triumph when he rose." T.
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.