As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth. Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God.
Death carries a sting, but one day death will be defeated. Paul wrote, “As in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22). It is through Christ that we have hope of victory over death.
Remember Job’s question: “If a man dies, will he live again?” (Job 14:14). Job answered his own question a few chapters later: “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth. Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God” (19:25-26). Job was looking forward to something that would happen two thousand years after his death when His Redeemer, Jesus Christ, would pay the ransom for his sin. That is our hope. Paul said the same thing in 1 Corinthians 15:56-57: “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
How does Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, give us victory over eternal death? Paul used the word “sting” to describe death. A worker honeybee has a powerful stinger. When she stings a human, the barbs on that stinger cause it to deeply embed into the victim. But in order to free herself from the stinger, the worker bee has to tear apart her own body. She can sting powerfully, but she can sting a human only once. After she pulls her body from that stinger, she still has the ability to fly around and frighten people for a little while longer, but she is powerless to sting. And soon that bee herself will die.
When Jesus Christ hung on the cross, when He voluntarily took on your sin and my sin, He experienced the sting of death–not just physical death, but the sting of hell. That is why He shouted out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46). He experienced separation from God so we could have eternal life. He took the sting of eternal death, but that stinger can only sting once. Because Christ took that sting, we never have to fear separation from God. Yes, death can still buzz around and frighten us, but it has no power over us. And one day, even death will be swallowed up in victory.
That is what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:54-55: “When this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’” That is the future defeat of death that we look forward to.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “From Tragedy To Triumph” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2022.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.