Death Is Swallowed Up In Victory!

Death has landed yet another blow.

The past 3 years have been cruel. As crazy as it might seem, it started with a dog. Our Schnauzer, Baxter, woke one morning and was gone by that afternoon. Death had taken him.

Then death moved on to my father, mother, aunts and uncles, a brother-in-law, several ministry colleagues, precious church members, and special friends. As recent as last night, I received word of a minister friend who passed away suddenly while preaching a Good Friday message.

Death has the power to effect the emotions of a man. It can usher in a season of sadness, a sense of loss and loneliness; it can sometimes trigger hopelessness in an otherwise positive individual.

Death must be understood theologically before it can be understood practically. To properly dispense with the temporary effects of death, we must understand at least two things:

Death is a doorway that God has built to usher mankind into eternity.

I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” 55 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:50-55 ESV)

Resurrection always trumps death!

Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. 20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. (1 Corinthians 15:12-26 ESV)

It’s comforting to know that death has no power to prevent resurrection! So, today and everyday, I can be confident that death is already swallowed up in victory! I won’t always cry! I won’t always grieve! Because Christ has already assured our victory over death, hell, and the grave! And for that, I will rejoice!

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