Your Sting? 1 Corinthians 15:55 ESV “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” Because the first man Adam sinned against God, all have sinned. For, because of Adam’s sin, God put a curse upon humans and on the earth. We are, thus, all born under the curse of sin and death. We are all born with sin natures. We are all born with a propensity for evil. We, as well, are born separate from God, destined to die in our sins. And, we will all physically die one day, as well, unless, of course, Jesus returns first, and those who have faith in Jesus Christ go to be with him forever, but not through death. For, at that time, for those who are in Christ, we will all be changed, even those who have died before us. We will all be given glorified bodies, not like the ones we now have on this earth. And, we will live with our Lord for eternity. Part of this curse, too, was that we would have Satan (the devil, the serpent) fighting against us, tempting us to sin, and continually combatting those who follow the Lord via faith in Jesus Christ. He is our archenemy. He opposes Christ’s followers at every turn, and he uses other humans to do his dirty work, too. They are those who are following him instead of following God, or they are those he temporarily tricks into being used of him in some way to come against Jesus’ followers. This curse also involves pain, sorrow, sickness, hardship, difficulties, people sinning against us and injuring us, and us sinning, too. But, thanks be to God! He made a way for us to be delivered from sin and death, so that death, as well as sin, no longer have victory over us. They no longer sting (bite, wound) us, at least not in a permanent way. We are still human, and we will still sin sometimes and be hurt by others’ sins against us. We will still feel the pain of sickness and tragedy in our lives, but they no longer have power over us. They do not have to take us out. In the Lord’s strength and power, we are mighty conquerors through him who loves us. And, sin no longer has mastery over our lives. Amen! Thank the Lord! 1 Corinthians 15:56-57 ESV The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen! Jesus Christ, God the Son, came to earth, took on human form, and suffered and was tempted as we are, yet without sin. He was loved by some, but hated by many. They hated him because he told them the truth about their sins and about their eternal destiny. They hated him, too, because he did not join in with them in their hypocrisies, their human traditions, and their self-righteous religious practices. They hated him for his purity, his righteousness, his relationship with the Father, and for claiming himself to be who he was (and is), which is God. They wanted to bring him down to their level, but they couldn’t, and thus they hated him for that, too. Because they hated him so much, and they could not bring him down, they plotted his death, and they had it carried out. They had him hung on a cross to die as though he was a common criminal, although he had done no wrong, but only good. But, they judged the good that he did as though it was wrong, but they were the ones who were wrong, not him. But, it was God’s will that Jesus Christ should die on that cross, for in his death he took on himself all of our sins, so that when he died, our sins died with him, and were buried with him. But, then he rose from the dead in victory over sin, death, Satan and hell, on our behalf, so that we can now die with him to sin and live with him to righteousness for eternity. Thus death, too, will not have victory over us, for one day we, who believe in Jesus, will go to be with him, and we will be given new bodies, not like these flesh bodies, and we will live forever with him. Be Immovable! 1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. Because of what Jesus Christ did for us in dying for our sins and in being resurrected from the dead in victory over sin and death, we can now live in victory over sin and over Satan’s evil attacks against us, too. Jesus said that if we follow him with our lives that we will be treated like he was treated; that we will be hated, rejected, despised and persecuted for righteousness’ sake. We will be hated for all of the same reasons as Jesus was, if we are his true followers, with the exception that we are not God, but we will be hated for our professions of faith in Jesus Christ, who is God. We, too, will be persecuted, rejected and abandoned by others because of our walks of faith, our commitments to our Lord, and our purity of devotion to him. We will be criticized and cast out because we live separate from the world of sin, and because we walk according to the Spirit, and no longer according to our sinful flesh. We will be rejected, even by other Christians, for sharing the truth of the gospel of our salvation, for confronting sin and calling for repentance and walks of obedience to our Lord. We will be judged wrongly, too, having people judge the good that we do, as though it is evil, while they continue in their sins. And, some will plot our deaths, too, though maybe not our physical deaths, but our demise. They will do what they will to try to discredit us, or to try to trip us up in some way, like they did to Jesus, in hopes that they will get us to shut up and to not keep preaching the gospel truth which changes lives, and which delivers people from their slavery (addiction) to sin. Yet, we are to be encouraged! If God is for us, who can be against us? They may fight against us, but in the strength of the Lord, we can gain the victory. We can remain steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, because of the Lord’s strength and power at work within us, and because of the encouragement that we receive from the Lord to persevere, and because of the promise from him that our labor in him is not in vain. So, if you are being persecuted for righteousness’ sake, be encouraged! God has a plan and a purpose for it all. Just keep on doing what he has called you to do, and don’t give up! Keep sharing the gospel and shining the Light of Jesus and his love into this dark world of sin, even if you are met with much resistance and opposition. God is not finished with you yet, until he takes you home to be with him. So, persevere in his might, and keep on singing! One day he will carry you home. 10,000 Reasons Matt Redman Bless the Lord oh my soul Oh my soul Worship His Holy name Sing like never before Oh my soul I'll worship Your Holy name The sun comes up It's a new day dawning It's time to sing Your song again Whatever may pass And whatever lies before me Let me be singing When the evening comes… Friday, April 20, 2018, 4:58 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for these encouraging words. May we believe them and follow them forever. Amen!