1 Corinthians 15:54-55 (NASB) “Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
A few weeks ago I wrote about the near death experience of Lora. It was powerful. The joy that she had was indescribable. She did not have adequate words to fully express the encounter. The best she could say was that she had been born again, again. She was not claiming healing or some miracle of deliverance. She was totally mesmerized by the glory of God. Her love went to multiplied levels. She was ready for healing or to be taken home.
She was taken home.
Death has a sting. It is a sting that wounds for eternity. Paul says the sting of death is sin. Sin, the transgressions against the perfection of God. Sin, the affront against God, not honoring Him, cursing Him, not believing He exists. Sin, the ultimate expression of independence against the creator. Sin, the disregard for other humans or even self in destructive behavior to self or others. The sting is the deception that leaves the person in a state of separation from God and the ultimate consequences of that separation from God while thinking everything is fine. The sting is the participation in the rebellion and attempted coup of Lucifer, either consciously or unconsciously. No matter, the result is the same. The sting is that most never know their fate until it is too late.
We all have strayed from the truth. We all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Yet, most never face that truth. The passing of someone brings all that in a sudden, crashing realization that life is short. Life is tenuous. It can end suddenly, unexpectedly. However, no one will escape that moment when this phase of life ends and the next begins. Choices made in this phase determine how the next phase is lived.
All our temples, houses, bodies will give out at some point. All those who received healings will eventually pass. Even Lazarus who was raised from the dead, died again. It is appointed for man to die and then face judgment. It is so designed.
1 Corinthians 15:57 (NASB) but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
The sting of death is removed in Jesus. Embracing Jesus removes the stinger, heals the soul, and ushers the person into eternal life with God. The victory was won at the cross and in the resurrection. The victory was at the cross and the victory lap was the resurrection.
Grieving is good. Separation from someone we love is hard. It makes us think. It underlines our own mortality. While many come to pay respects, support the family, it is those who are close that ponder it the strongest. Everyone has to ask the question, where am I in this process? Is the stinger still embedded in me? Or has it been removed by Jesus? You cannot fake death with a religious facade. Death knows when it still has the stinger in you. You might fool people around you, but death is not deceived nor impressed. Only when Jesus removes the stinger can you experience the true freedom of life.
The stinger had been removed and the glimpse of glory in that near death experience allowed the testimony of eternity to be shared with family and friends and we were encouraged, blessed, lifted up, challenged, and comforted because it was a short time till going home.