Greatest Victory (1 Cor 15:53-57)

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:55, KJV)

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.” (1 Corinthians 15:56–57, KJV)

Prior to moving to our current home, we lived in New Hampshire. While there, the New England Patriots football team went to the Super Bowl a couple times. I remember one evening when the Super Bowl game was on, I watched the game and just before the game ended, I left and took out the garbage. While I was outside, all of a sudden, I heard houses all over the neighborhood shout out with loud voices in celebration. It truly was surreal. I never heard anything like it before.

Hearing the cheers, I went back inside and turned on the game. The Patriots were celebrating on the field. They had won the game. One of the things I noticed was that all the players all of a sudden were wearing baseball hats that stated they were the champions. Then I believe some were wearing tee-shirts that said the same. They had put on the clothing of champions. Then there was a lot of talk about the quarterback as being the one who led the team to victory. There is something special about being part of a victory.

Paul wrote to the church at Corinth regarding the resurrection of believers. In the previous verses, he indicated that in the resurrection, the “corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality (v53). The word, “put on,” is the Greek enduo, which can also be translated as clothed (Strong G1746). Metaphorically speaking, in the resurrection the believer is clothed in the garments of victory, he or she is clothed with the imperishable and with immortality. Paul went on to write the following.

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.” (1 Corinthians 15:53–54, KJV)

Yes, at the time of the resurrection, death will have been completely defeated. There will no longer be the “sting of death.” Today, we experience the “sting of death,” which is sin. Yes, believers have been delivered from the dominion of sin, but we still do on occasion slip. Yet, even when we are walking on the path of righteousness, sin is all around us and effects every one of us. We still experience afflictions, trials and tribulations, and physical death. All of which exist because of sin in the world. On that day of the resurrection the “sting of sin” will be no more.

Paul also stated that the “strength of sin is the law.” God’s law clearly specifies what sin is and what the result of sin would be. The Scripture tells us that the penalty of sin is death (Romans 6:23).

Yet, here is the awesome news. Paul tells us that God “giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” God took us who are corrupt and has by His grace given us the victory. We are already more than conquerors in Christ (Romans 8:37). Yet, we await to experience the final victory at the resurrection when believers will be clothed with incorruption and immortality. Then we will greatly rejoice. Therefore, let us give thanks to God for granting us the victory through Christ our Lord.

Published by Steve Hankins, Th.D.

Steve has had extensive military, business and ministry experience. He has served for over 16 years in full time vocational ministry and many years of part time ministry in churches. He has led churches through start-up and recasting of vision. Now He resides on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where he is working to help smaller churches and believers to renew their hearts and regain the joy of the Lord.

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