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O death, where is thy sting?

John's vision
John's vision
LaVista church of Christ

The apostle Paul, in his first letter to the church in Corinth, made these statements:

"Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 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. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?' 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 15:51-57 KJV)

Sin entered into mankind via Satan's misleading Eve in the Garden of Eden. "And death by sin" (Romans 5:12)

This was Satan's power, the fear of death within mankind. But Jesus, who died for us and overcame death, proved his power over Satan. And he established a plan whereby man need no longer fear death as well. The sincerity and depth of our faith enables us to look forward to death rather than to fear it. The writer of the Hebrews letter brings out some facts where faith was indeed strong in many of the ancient leaders and devout followers under the Mosaical Law.

Read this carefully and notice his one phrase in parenthesis.

"And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth." (Hebrews 11:32-38 KJV)

And the Bible is replete with encouragement for those who believe and strive to serve God. Read this statement made by Paul to the Christians at Thessalonica in his first epistle to them:

"But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope." (1 Thessalonians 4:13 KJV)

And one of the ancient writers (Not of the Bible), Aristeides, left a quote which is popular among Christians today and an encouragement to those who are dying and those who are being left behind:

"If any righteous [one] among the Christians passes from this world, they rejoice & offer thanks to God. They escort his [the] body with songs and thanksgiving as if he [she] were setting out from one place to another near by." (Aristeides, 125 AD)

One's faith is of utmost important to them when death is approaching and it will be a strong asset in keeping ones moods as one of contented resignation.

Anyone who has a family and loves them deeply will, without doubt, feel aguish in the thought of leaving them, and especially any who are not living a faithful Christian life. But even these factors should never cause one to waver or even to grieve because of it. We all face death and even after a long life, we need to consider the many blessings we have received from God...far too extensive to count, but we can face death with peace knowing that God has given us this wonderful life filled with blessings and yet, it cannot compare with what we are about to encounter.

I encourage all readers at this point, to read the final two chapters in the Holy Bible, Revelation chapters 21, 22. There is considerable symbolic language used in these chapters, simply because there is no way to explain the spirit realm without using physical examples. But you can envision the magnificence of the place and the absence of physical pain, cravings, fatigue. No dying, no crying, nothing whatsoever which is unpleasant in the physical realm. I have heard people surmise that they can think of nothing pleasurable in heaven. Nothing can reflect less understanding than a statement such as that. We have a Father who created this entire magnificent universe, with all the blessings one can imagine. And to even think for a moment that He cannot create a home where there are no pains, no problems, nothing to weep or mourn over. Our happiness is His desire and He is more than capable of providing happiness and contentment for us. Forever and forever. Amen

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