I Corinthians 15:53-58) [GNB] For what is mortal must be changed into what is immortal; what will die must be changed into what cannot die.
54) So when this takes place, and the mortal has been changed into the immortal, then the scripture will come true: “Death is destroyed; victory is complete!”
Isaiah 25:8) He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken [it].
55) “Where, Death, is your victory? Where, Death, is your power to hurt?”
56) Death gets its power to hurt from sin, and sin gets its power from the Law.
QUESTION: What does “sin gets its power from the Law” mean?
Romans 7:5-11) [CEV] When we thought only of ourselves, the Law made us have sinful desires. It made every part of our bodies into slaves who are doomed to die.
6) But the Law no longer rules over us. We are like dead people, and it cannot have any power over us. Now we can serve God in a new way by obeying his Spirit, and not in the old way by obeying the written Law.
7) Does this mean that the Law is sinful? Certainly not! But if it had not been for the Law, I would not have known what sin is really like. For example, I would not have known what it means to want something that belongs to someone else, unless the Law had told me not to do that.
8) It was sin that used this command as a way of making me have all kinds of desires. But without the Law, sin is dead.
9) Before I knew about the Law, I was alive. But as soon as I heard that command, sin came to life,
10) and I died. The very command that was supposed to bring life to me, instead brought death.
11) Sin used this command to trick me, and because of it I died.
57) But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!
Concerning this victory,
“Through faith in Him, we have victory over death and the grave. Death is robbed of its sting. It is a known fact that when certain insects sting a person, they leave their stinger imbedded in the person’s flesh, and being thus robbed of their “sting,” they die. In a very real sense death stung itself to death at the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, and now the King of Terrors is robbed of his terror as far as the believer is concerned” [BBC].
“What are death, the grave, and decomposition in the presence of such power as this? Talk of being dead four days as a difficulty! Millions that have been mouldering in the dust for thousands of years shall spring up in a moment into life, immortality and eternal glory, at the voice of that blessed One” [BBC-quoting Mackintosh].
58) So then, my dear friends, stand firm and steady. Keep busy always in your work for the Lord, since you know that nothing you do in the Lord’s service is ever useless.
QUESTION: What should our response be to all of this?
ANSWER: The answer is two fold: 1) We should be thankful to God for the great victory He has given us [vs. 57]; 2) We should live the remainder of our lives working for God Almighty.
II Corinthians 4:13-18) [GW] The following is written, “I believed; therefore, I spoke.” We have that same spirit of faith. We also believe; therefore, we also speak.
Psalm 116:10a) I believed, therefore have I spoken:
Hebrews 13:5-8) [GNB] Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never leave you; I will never abandon you.”
6) Let us be bold, then, and say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?”
7) Remember your former leaders, who spoke God’s message to you. Think back on how they lived and died, and imitate their faith.
8) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
NOTE: We can boldly say anything that we base on a promise of God.
14) We know that the one who brought the Lord Jesus back to life will also bring us back to life through Jesus. He will present us to God together with you.
QUESTION: What promise of God can we stand on here?
1Thessalonians 4:13-18) [GW] Brothers and sisters, we don’t want you to be ignorant about those who have died. We don’t want you to grieve like other people who have no hope.
14) We believe that Jesus died and came back to life. We also believe that, through Jesus, God will bring back those who have died. They will come back with Jesus.
15) We are telling you what the Lord taught. We who are still alive when the Lord comes will not go into his kingdom ahead of those who have already died.
16) The Lord will come from heaven with a command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the dead who believed in Christ will come back to life.
17) Then, together with them, we who are still alive will be taken in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. In this way we will always be with the Lord.
18) So then, comfort each other with these words!
15) All this is for your sake so that, as God’s kindness overflows in the lives of many people, it will produce even more thanksgiving to the glory of God.
Regarding this verse,
“Paul realized that the more he suffered, the more the grace of God was made available to others. The more people who were saved, the more thanksgiving ascended to God. And the more thanksgiving ascended to God, the more God was glorified” [BBC].
[TLB] These sufferings of ours are for your benefit. And the more of you who are won to Christ, the more there are to thank him for his great kindness, and the more the Lord is glorified.
QUESTION: What would these people be thanking God for?
ANSWER: They would be thanking God for their salvation.
NOTE: Paul suffered as a direct result of his spreading the Gospel to others. As he did that many became Christians. Those converts became those additional ones who were praising God alongside of those who were already saved. Those who were already saved praised God, and rejoiced before Him, for the salvation of those who were being saved.
16) That is why we are not discouraged. Though outwardly we are wearing out, inwardly we are renewed day by day.
17) Our suffering is light and temporary and is producing for us an eternal glory that is greater than anything we can imagine.
18) We don’t look for things that can be seen but for things that can’t be seen. Things that can be seen are only temporary. But things that can’t be seen last forever.
NOTE: What keeps the believer going regardless of how tough life gets? The believer knows that the sufferings he/she faces are a part of the temporary realm. He/she has his/her eye on those things that last forever.
By the Way:
2Corinthians 4:8-9) [We are] troubled on every side, yet not distressed; [we are] perplexed, but not in despair;
2Co 4:9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
Walk of Grace Chapel, Council Bluffs Church