1 Corinthians 15:50-58
50 I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
55 “Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
I use this scripture during graveside ceremonies at funerals. I guess you never notice everything, every time you read something. For example Matthew 24:36 says 36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
So now we read in verse 51…”Not all of you will sleep” Jesus didn’t know when he would return…so the statement Paul was making to the Church was filled with hope AND challenge. So when we read Paul saying things like in Philippians 1:21-23 “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.” He is saying I have absolutely no idea when my time will come and He calls me home…but I will look forward to it and until then I will serve as if I will be here forever.
And at the same time he says Death where is thy sting and then he says the sting of death is sin. Romans 5:12 12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—
So when we die in Christ the incorruptible cannot be touched or compromised by Satan. Staying true to Christ yields an unbelievable reward doesn’t it?
We spend so much of our life looking for a sure thing. Something where there can be no doubt, no risk, no penalty only rewards.
Paul is trying to tell this church to hang on because in the end all the hard work is worth it and he can say that because he knows God has a plan that cannot fail.
We win! He already knows it…the journey or the game …or the race may be different then we planned but the result will be what we both envision….an eternity of peace, joy and love in the presence of our Savior.