the power, sting, and fear of death


I would like to know more about the power, sting and fear of death and its effects upon believers such as myself who have been troubled concerning the devils greatest, strongest effect as outlined as outlined in your ‘The Battle on The Cross’ survey.


My understanding is that all three of these issues pertaining to physical death are issues that should not bother us at all; i.e. we should not be troubled by them, or be uneasy in our minds about them, when it comes to the issue of when we ourselves will physically die. And this is because all three of them are covered by the Lord’s victory over sin and death, which of course He Himself wrought when He was raised again from the dead.

Physical death is not a natural consequence of life, nor an integral part of evolution, nor any of the other things that scientists, or philosophers, or wise men both past and present call it, as they try to account for it or explain it away. Instead physical death is an enemy that entered the world in connection with sin, just as God says. And as the Son of man, (in accordance with fulfilling the mandates of Genesis 3:15 and of the Davidic Covenant), the Lord Jesus Christ would provide for destroying death completely by securing victory over it Himself. And this is just what He did when He Himself arose from the dead, as Paul asserts for example in I Corinthians 15:20-22 as he straightens out the Corinthians on the reality of the resurrection of the dead.

In securing victory over it Himself, the Lord Jesus Christ as made it so that He can completely destroy death, just as Paul sets forth in I Corinthians 15. And in being able to completely destroy it, the Lord has dealt with all aspects of it, including the “power” of it, the “sting” of it, and the “fear” of it. And we who have been made beneficiaries of every aspect of His victory having trusted in Him as our all-sufficient Savior, should understand and appreciate that God gives to us the victory over every aspect of death through our Lord Jesus Christ by virtue of us being “in Christ.” Being “in Christ” first and foremost means that we are no longer “in Adam.” And it is “in Adam” where the “power,” “sting,” and “fear” of death naturally exist. When through the one man, Adam sin entered the world and death by sin, all three of these issues pertaining to physical death came along with it. And as such they naturally belong to those, and are designed to affect those, who are “in Adam.” But we are no longer “in Adam,” but we are now “in Christ.” As such we should now understand and appreciate how that we now possess the victory over sin and death that the Lord Himself wrought when He Himself was raised from the dead in victory over it. And having that understanding and appreciation, it should materially affect the way in which we look at death, should it be that we do face physical death and we are not ones who are “alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord.” And we should look at it and face it confidently, with the knowledge of the victory over it that we already possess “in Christ.”

In fact in I Corinthians 15:55-57, (as he winds up his corrective and instructive doctrine concerning death and the resurrection of the dead), Paul sets forth the reality of this victory that is ours by putting into triumphal words himself the very understanding and appreciation we too should have because we are the beneficiaries of Christ’s victory over death that is described in the prophets. And if we understand what Paul understood, then we too should be able to voice those same triumphal words ourselves, with the same confidence with which he voices them. And indeed we should. In connection with the Lord functioning as the Christ; in particular in connection with Him fulfilling the first mandate of the Davidic Covenant; He through His own death emerged from hell and the grave victorious over death. And in so doing. He has made it not only so that death could be “swallowed up in victory,” but also so that those that belong to Him (whether in the climactic stage of God’s program with Israel, or even now with us in this present dispensation of grace) could possess knowledge of their victory over death “in Him” and could face it without doubts, fear, or any trepidation at all. And in view of this Paul says what he does in I Corinthians 15:55-57, and none of his words are words of doubt, fear, or trepidation.

When Paul, in verse 55, triumphantly (and also actually defiantly) proclaims, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” he is not directly quoting from Hosea 13:14, nor mistakenly misquoting from it either. Rather he is borrowing from it in a sense, knowing that the Lord Jesus Christ through His own death and resurrection has been death’s “plagues” and has been the grave’s “destruction,” just like Hosea 13:14 said “the LORD” would be. And Paul knowing that he, and we, are made partakers of Christ’s victory over sin and death; and that in view of it we should rejoice in that victory; he triumphantly voices his knowledge of it, and his confidence in it, by defiantly proclaiming, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” Death no longer has any “sting” for us, nor does the grave have any “victory” over us. The “sting of death is sin” just like Paul goes on to say, and “the strength of sin is the law” as he also declares. “But,” as Paul proclaims, “thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Both of those issues (sin and the strength of sin) have been victoriously dealt with for us by our Lord Jesus Christ when He functioned for us as our substitute-Redeemer, and as such He has also ‘ransomed us from the power of the grave, and has redeemed us from death.’ Hence, there is no “sting” of death for us to face, nor no “power” of the grave. And so should it be, that we physically die in this dispensation; when it occurs, we will experience no “sting” of death from sin as it begins to pain the soul in judgment. Nor will the grave victoriously hold our bodies in corruption. Rather we will experience the separation of our soul/spirt from our bodies without “sting,” and will “depart and be with Christ, which is far better.” As such there need not be any “fear” of death for us either. Knowing that we are not going to experience the “sting of death,” nor any of death’s grievous, judgmental, or painful consequences; but rather that upon being “absent from the body” we will be “present with the Lord”; this knowledge is designed to effectually work within us and to lay to rest any fear of death.

Keith Blades

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