The story is told of a family traveling down the road in a car when a bee flies in the window. The young daughter sitting in the back seat, who is allergic to bees, cries out, “Daddy, Daddy, it’s going to sting me.” As the bee flies above the dashboard, the father captures the bee in his hand and then winces in pain as the bee stings him. The daughter continues to cry out, “Daddy, I’m afraid!” to which the father replies as he releases the bee from his hand, “You don’t have to worry. He can’t hurt you anymore!”
Christ absorbed the sting of death when He died on the cross in our place. He paid the penalty for our sins. The sting of death is gone! In 1 Corinthians 15 we are told that “death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”
Oh, the promises that are described in this passage! First, we are told that not everyone will die. “We shall not all sleep.” Some, perhaps we, will be raptured up to be with the Lord. We are told that we all shall be changed. “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” And because of Christ’s sacrifice, “death is swallowed up in victory.” We will never again face the possibility of eternal death. But these promises are reserved only for those who have placed their trust in the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
Our theme verses for this year describe what should be our natural response to this supernatural work of Christ that overwhelms us with unbelievable, undeniable, inconceivable relief and hope—gratitude and service to God.
But thanks be to God, which gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:57, 58).
Many of you know that for four years my dad has been confined to a hospital bed suffering from the later-year effects of polio. Mom, who is exceedingly frail and can barely shuffle from place to place, said to me several weeks ago, “Dan, I pray every day that the Lord will take Dave and me home.” Then, she asked, “Do you pray that prayer? I wish you would.”
Needless to say, that caused my heart to hurt. But, as I pondered her words, I recognized her longing to put on immortality because of Christ’s grace abiding in her heart. How can Mom pray that prayer? Because Jesus has removed the sting of death and replaced it with the hope of heaven!
Thanks be to God! May each of us abound in victorious daily living because of the amazing work of Christ on the cross and in our lives.