. . . this Scripture will be fulfilled: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? ” For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.1 Corinthians 15:55-57
Victory over death! Now that sounds like a good proposition. Paul thought so. It made him do what he did at the end of Romans 11 and break out in song at this time too. This truly is something to sing about. Death has been swallowed up. Paul is quoting Isa_25:8, “He (Jehovah) will swallow up death in victory”; that is, for ever. This is a Hebrew idiom. Christ will swallow it up so altogether victoriously that it shall never more regain its power. Κατεπόθη Katepothē (from katapinō, to drink down, to swallow down) means to absorb, to overwhelm, to drown and then to destroy or remove. The concept mostly likely comes from a whirlpool that absorbs all that comes near it; and the sense is, that he will abolish or remove death; that is, cause it to cease from its ravages and triumphs.
The idea is, that the power and dominion of death shall be entirely destroyed, or brought to an end. It is gone, sucked down the gurgler.
“O death . . . ” This is a triumphant view which bursts upon the soul as it contemplates the fact that the work of the second Adam has repaired the ruins of the first Adam. Man is redeemed; his body will be raised; not another human being should die, and the work of death should be ended. But it is far more than that. Death is not only at an end, it shall not only cease, but its evils shall be repaired and the glory and honour shall be given back to man, as would have been known had there been no death. The poetic force of the language used in this verse is highly significant. The millions and millions that have died, the earth strewn with the dead, our own death as we contemplate it. There is a certainty that we must die, our parents, siblings, children and friends; all must die. But now the time has come when it is announced death will be at an end. Who, in such contemplation, can refrain from the language of triumph, and from hymns of praise? The words in this verse rise above the plain and simple language of prose, and resemble a hymn, in which Paul breaks out in view of the glorious truth which is here presented to the mind. The whole verse is indeed a somewhat loose quotation from Hos 13:14. Paul is singing in the spirit as it were. He is giving free reign to his joy and creativity and not worrying about the correctness of scriptural quotes.
Where is thy sting? – The word which is here rendered sting (κέντρον kentron) denotes here a venomous thing, applied to death personified, as if death employed it to destroy life. Thus the sting of a bee or a scorpion is used. The idea is derived from the venomous sting of serpents, or other reptiles, as being destructive and painful. The language here is the language of exultation, as if that was taken away or destroyed.
O grave – Hades, the place of the dead or grave. The word properly denotes a place of darkness; then the world, or abodes of the dead. According to the Hebrews, Hades, or Sheol, was a vast subterranean receptacle, or abode, where the souls of the dead existed. It was dark, deep, still, awful. The descent to it was through the grave; and the spirits of all the dead were supposed to be assembled there; the righteous occupying the upper regions, and the wicked the lower;
Where is thy victory? – Since the dead are to rise; since all the graves are to give up all that dwell in them; since no man will die after that, where is its victory? It is taken away. The power of death and the grave is vanquished, and Christ is triumphant over all. It is not that we won’t die but that we wont experience the second death. The grave holds no fear for us because we know that we will rise again just as Christ did. When we die we will go to be with Christ. That is why Paul could truly say: And I trust that my life will bring honour to Christ, whether I live or die. For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me.” (Phil 1:20-23) Paul really did embody this teaching. He lived what he preached.
Sin is the sting that results in death – because sin is what separates us from God. Sin must be dealt with in order for there to be no death. The wages of sin is death. Thank God that He gives us victory over sin and subsequently victory over death. Now that is something to get excited about. “Break forth into joy oh my soul . . .”
What you sing about, you bring about!Nick Klinkenberg
If you’re going through hell. Keep going!! You always grow through what you go through.Mara Badudu
The more aware you are of your own sinfulness, the more gracious you are to others. Judging others reveals self-righteousness.Rick Warren