The Sting of Death
“Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 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. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” – (I Cor.15:51-57).
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Irwin tempted death many times as he stalked and played with some of the world’s deadliest animals. He boasted that he had never been bitten by a poisonous snake or seriously bitten by a crocodile. It was ironic that he was killed by a stingray that is not regarded as aggressive. Of all the animals that he wrestled and wrangled with, to be killed by a stingray is God’s justice and truth to us. Irwin’s outrageous antics and living dangerously as a daredevil in order to become rich and famous, finally caught up with him. And God has seen to it that he was killed by a stingray so that we could plainly see ‘the sting of death’. He was literally stung to death.
With the exception of Enoch and Elijah, every person ever born on earth has tasted the sting of death. Death is a terrible enemy. It has pockmarked the earth with graves. But death shall be swallowed up in victory for every born again Christian through their Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus has removed the stinger of death. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” – (Rom.6:23). Death is swallowed up in victory, like it was for Jonah.
A little boy and his father were driving down a road one afternoon and suddenly out of nowhere a bee flew in the car window. Since the little boy was deathly allergic to bee stings, he became petrified. But the father quickly reached out, grabbed the bee, squeezed it in his hand, and then released it. But as soon as he let it go, the young son became frantic again as it buzzed by him. Once again the father reached out his hand, but this time he pointed to his hand. There still stuck in his hand was the stinger of the bee. “Do you see this?” he asked. “You don’t need to be afraid anymore. I’ve taken the sting for you.” This is the gospel message. If you’re saved, you don’t need to be afraid of death anymore. Christ died for us on the cross and by His victory over death by His resurrection that first Easter, we can be saved from sin. Christ has taken the sting. “O death, where is they sting?” Christ has taken the stinger for us – He has risen from the dead and its proof that you can rise from the dead also. Those of us who have had our sins forgiven and purged away will have triumph over death. We need not fear death any longer, yea to die is gain – “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” – (Philip.1:21).
It is death which gains victory over the body of flesh. It is death that is to be robbed of its sting and its poison. The sting of death is sin. When sin is finished it brings forth death. Jesus removed the sting of death for all born again believers. The hornet is as harmless as a housefly if he has no stinger. The rattlesnake is as harmless as a garden snake if he has no stinger. The stingray is a harmless as a trout if he has no stinger. Death cannot harm the saints. True, it separates us from our loved ones and from earthly ties; but it is only the doorway through which we step from earth to Paradise in a moment of time – “Absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” – (2 Cor.5:8). For the saint of God, whether living or dead, we have the rapture trumpet to look forward to.
“The strength of sin is the law.” But Christ fulfilled every jot and tittle of the law. He was without sin. Therefore sin has been conquered and defeated. Sin gives death its power and the law gives sin its power. But the Lord Jesus Christ is “the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth” – (Rom.10:9). Through the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, sin and death have been overcome and conquered for everyone who is saved. Everyone who is saved has the imputed righteousness of Christ. “Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin” – (Rom.4:5-8). Sins forgiven through the blood of Christ conquers the power and sting of death. Because of Christ saving us, we shall glory over vanquished death. Sin is the venom of death – it gives death its power – “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” – (Rom.5:12). And again – “That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord’ – (Rom.5:21). The sting of death has been removed for all the born again children of God – PTL Jesus.
Christ has made atonement for sin; He has made remission of sin. Death may hiss at us but it cannot hurt us. The tempter Satan, that old serpent, has tempted everyone to sin, and through sin has the power of death. Jesus Christ was the only one who did not yield to the Serpent’s deadly venom of sin. The curse of the law is removed by our Redeemer becoming a curse for us – “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree” – (Gal.3:13). Christ has taken the sting of death for us on the cross. We thank God and His amazing grace of His beloved son. Every Easter, God is shouting out to the world, you can conquer death through my dearly begotten Son. Sin has lost its power when we have forgiveness and remission of sins by Christ. Sting operations by law enforcement use entrapment to tempt people into breaking the law. The Devil uses this technique all the time by getting others to tempt you to sin and entrap you. “The sting of death is sin and the strength of sin is the law.”
By dying and shedding His precious blood on the cross and resurrection from death three days later, Christ has conquered death and spoiled the grave. And through faith in Him, believers become sharers in His conquest of death. “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” – (I Jn.5:11,12).
Think about the sting of Christ’s suffering on the cross. Think about the sting of the whips scourging Him and the sting of the crown of thorns and the sting of the nails spiking through His hands and feet. Yes, He became the sting of death for us that we may conquer the sting of death and have immortality and eternal life. Think about all the millions of people since Adam and Eve who have suffered the death of loved ones. How they were ‘stung with remorse’ which brought tears to their eyes. The sting of people’s death brings a sting to others also.
An elaborate confidence game is called ‘the sting.’ And I think about Satan, the master con man and great deceiver, and how he will perform the greatest ‘sting’ ever perpetrated on men. He will fake the death, burial and resurrection of his Antichrist-Beast in order to get the worship of the world. “And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast” – (Rev.13:3). It is a very clever counterfeit of Christ that deceives people using the latest digital technology and special effects. The Devil will use computer-generated special effects and digital manipulation in fabricating the assassination and resurrection of his Beast. Because digital technology is getting better and better, it becomes more and more difficult to tell what is and is not fake in images.
But the most important sting of death that a believer conquers is the second death – the eternal death in the lake of fire. “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” – (Rev.20:14,15). The death of the body is nothing compared to the eternal death of the lost. Is your name written in the lamb’s book of life? Has Christ saved you from the sting of the second death? O do not spurn the precious blood of Christ and God’s love and grace of his dear Son and the cross. There is eternal life or eternal death after the death of your body.
Have you been born again of the Holy Spirit through Christ? Jesus said – “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again” – (Jn.3:6,7). If you’re not born again, repent of your sins and by faith believe on Christ in your heart for forgiveness and remission of sins. The result of true salvation is becoming a new born again creature in Christ. Born again describes what happens to you when you’re truly saved. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” – (2 Cor.5:17). You become a new man – (Col.3:10). You are born into the family of God and become His child – (Gal.3:26). You are now adopted children of God and cry out, Abba, Father – (Rom.8:15). True belief in Christ results in being born again. To say you are saved but not born again is false salvation -You’ve been conned.
Conquer the sting of death through Christ.
Pastor Mike Storti
5000 N. LaCholla-
Would love to hear from you!