Sunday, 19 April 2015
The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 1 Corinthians 15:56
In the previous verse, Paul cited Scripture which said, “O Death, where is your sting?” He now takes time to explain what this is telling us. “The sting of death is sin.” Again, Death is personified, as if he was a serpent or a scorpion with a powerful sting; a sting called sin. When sin is found in man, then Death has prevailed. This is seen explicitly in Romans 6:23 –
“For the wages of sin is death…”
But Paul also provided another truth in Romans. Adam sinned and that sin became an infection in him which spread to all of his descendants. In Romans 5:12, he explained this –
“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.” Romans 5:12
But Paul, being thorough and methodical goes further in his explanation by saying that “the strength of sin is the law.” Adam had a law, albeit one commandment, but a law nonetheless. When he broke that law, even though it was done in innocence, wrath ensued. Paul explains the reason for this as well in Romans 4:15 –
“…because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression.
If there were no command given to Adam, there would have been no transgression. But there was a command and it was violated. Thus wrath, resulting in death, was the consequence. However, there was even a reason for this. In God’s wisdom, He gave a law that He knew Adam would break. But in order to show man his utter dependence on the Lord, this took place. If not, then Adam would never have truly understood his relationship to his Creator. Paul shows us this in Romans 7 and in particular Romans 7:7 –
“What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law.”
Adam realized what sin was because a law was given which he then broke. By that, sin entered the world and along with that came Death. This is what Paul is showing us in 1 Corinthians 15. But it must be remembered that he is doing it in relation to the work of Christ, work which is greater than the failing of Adam. Thus in Adam all die, but in Christ all will be made alive! Every person who trusts that God’s provision in Christ is sufficient will be rewarded with eternal life.
Life application: In Christ sin is dead because the law is nailed to the cross. We have prevailed over the law, not by our own actions, but through the work of Jesus. Our faith in this act is what brings us reconciliation with God. Have faith that even your present failings can never separate you again from the love of God in Him.
O God, there are many religious expressions on earth and some of them have parallel thoughts to the work of Christ, but only one of them reveals Christ in His fullness. Help me to be able to express to others clearly the truth that there is one path and one door to reconciliation with You. There is partial truth and there is ultimate truth, and I know that only in Jesus is there ultimate truth. Thank You for Jesus who has lighted the path and opened the door for all who will but believe! Amen.