Summary: A study of 1 Corinthians 15: 54-57 examining our victory over the law, sin, and death
Has anyone heard or read this statement anywhere? “Helping people discover their victory and true identity through Jesus.” Anyone know the organization that has this as their mission statement? I hope that you have realized that this is our mission statement. It is on the front of the bulletin every week.
Close to 20 years ago, God gave me a vision for a ministry based on Revelation 2:17. “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give some of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven. And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it.”
This ministry is threefold. First, to lead others to victory over their sins. Then to feed them the Word of God that comes from heaven. And finally to help them discover their true identity in Christ. It was from this vision that whitestone ministry was born. So, over the next five weeks we will revisit the original call on the life of this church and how each of us can be more involved in the fulfillment of that calling.
Let’s begin with 1 Corinthians 15:54-55. “Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’”
Paul tells us that the day would come when we would have immortal bodies. Bodies that will never die. He tells us that it would be in fulfillment of Isaiah 25:8 where God says he will swallow up death forever.
Let’s understand something about death. Death is not a messenger of God. Death is an enemy of God. Death was created by the actions of man when they sinned. Death is an ally of Satan. If possible, death would have taken us all at the moment of birth. Deaths final destination is the lake of fire.
On the 18th of June in 1815, the Duke of Wellington’s army marched to face Napoleon Bonaparte, the Emperor of the French, at Waterloo. The future of England was at stake.
Since telegrams and telephones had not been invented yet, the news of the battle was spread from hillside to hillside by semaphores, which were coded flags. The main news was coming from a ship. As the ship neared land, the flag spelt W E L L I N G T O N --- D E F E A T E D and then the fog rolled in blocking the view of the ship. “Wellington defeated” went across England and the citizens were in despair.
But when the fog lifted the next day, the entire message was seen. “Wellington defeated the enemy.” Despair was replaced with rejoicing.
So it was with Jesus. When He was placed in the tomb, it seemed that death had claimed him. All of his followers were in despair. But on the third day, He rose from the dead, defeating the enemy, and giving us victory. That is why we can rejoice.
But what exactly do we have victory over? Revelation 2:17 states that those who are victorious receive the Word of God and their ministry. It is important therefore to understand what it means to be victorious.
Let’s read 1 Corinthians 15:56-57 “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.” When Paul wrote this, I can imagine that perhaps he had a scorpion in mind. Its deadly tail coiled to strike its victim and deliver a dose of deadly poison. But the death of our Lord Jesus Christ rendered the scorpion harmless. And scorpions with no poison are harmless. The scripture states the law was the poison that gave sin its power.
But you have victory over the law.
Let’s look at what Paul has to say about the law. Romans 6:14 “Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.”
Remember last week I mentioned that the Jews had a total of 1224 laws to obey? That was a burden. And James 2:10 points out
“For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws.”
Suppose a loved one is pulled one day by a police officer for speeding. They get a ticket. They go to court. The judge asks, “How do you plea?” They reply “Guilty.” because they know they are. His gavel hits the desk and he gives them the death sentence. You ask “Why?” “For murder.” he replies. “When they broke the law against speeding they broke all the laws including murder.”