Gracious Lord, challenge me where I have faltered, encourage me when I have despaired, and strengthen me when I am weak.
Read 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.”[a]
55 “Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”[b]
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.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Lord, thank you that you have defeated death through your death on the cross.
What extraordinary verses these are, full of drama and power. They draw this great chapter to a fitting climax and give us a thrilling vision of the final victory of Christ on behalf of his people. Death is literally swallowed up by the victory of Christ as the perishable is ‘clothed’ with the imperishable (vs 53–55). Take a moment to take in the wonderful scene and allow it to lift your faith and your spirits. What we see here is the final culmination of what a Puritan writer called ‘the death of death in the death of Christ’.1 Turn these thoughts into praise and worship.
We respond in heartfelt praise, but is anything else required of us? In verse 58 Paul gives us two applications. First, he once again encourages us to ‘stand firm’. What in the world compares to this? No philosophy, no formulaic religion, no idols such as consumerism or materialism should draw us away. We are urged to ‘Let nothing move’ us. Here we take our stand on the life-Changing, eternal gospel. Second, we are challenged to give ourselves unstintingly to God’s work. ‘Labor’ carries overtones of back- breaking toil. Perhaps this is how you feel about the work God has called you to do right now? If this is the case, Paul is alongside you with a pastor’s heart to urge you forward (note his tender ‘dear brothers and sisters’). Allow verse 58 to speak to you and God’s Spirit to strengthen you. The labor is tough, but what a cause and what a reward! There are many who start well in the Christian life but then stumble and fall, sometimes dropping out of the discipleship race altogether. Let’s finish well, depending on God’s extraordinary, amazing grace to us in his risen Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Is there an aspect of the work to which God has called you, which at the moment is tough? Pray that God will strengthen you to continue your ‘labor’.
Yes Lord, thanks indeed! Thanks to you for the victory that is mine, in and through Christ Jesus my Lord.
1 John Owen, The Death of Death in the Death of Christ, 1648
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Last Updated on October 21, 2022 by kingstar