O GRAVE WHERE IS THY VICTORY?
Leslie M. John
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. (1 Corinthians 15:55-56)
Man has an unflinching curiosity to know about the power of death, the death, and the life after death. There are many myths about the death and even among Christians there are differing views. Bible gives a believer in Christ great comfort that he or she will be with the Lord for ever and ever after death.
The life after death is extremely pleasant and good according to Scriptures and, therefore, a believer in Christ does not need to be afraid of death. Lord Jesus Christ defeated the power of death and the death once and for all by His own resurrection. The grave could not hold Jesus. He was raised and His body did not see corruption.
“He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption” (Acts 2:31)
Jesus said He had the power to lay down His life and take it back at his own discretion. He also assured His followers that they need not be afraid of death because He gives them everlasting life. According to Bible Lord Jesus Christ is the only one who has the authority to pardon sins of a person, and salvation is by grace through faith in Him.
Jesus is the Son of God, and the very God Himself. Jesus became one like us and came to this earth, lived like a man among us. Jesus was fully divine and fully human and this truth is very hard to understand by an unbeliever. Jesus died, rose on the third day and ascended into heaven. He is seated at the right hand of the Father highly exalted. He is given the name above all names and every knee shall bow to Him. Jesus will come again soon.
God commanded the man saying to him that he may freely eat of every tree of the garden but shall not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The wages of transgression of God’s command was that he shall surely die in the day he eats thereof. (Genesis 2:16-17).
God made woman out of one of the ribs of man and she became man’s wife. Adam and Eve lived happily until sin entered their lives through the deception by serpent who enticed Eve to eat from the forbidden tree. She not only ate the fruit from the forbidden tree but she gave it to man also and thus they became enemies to God.
Later God visited them and pronounced punishments on Serpent, Adam and Eve. Serpent was cursed and the ground was cursed for man and God said that woman will bear children in pain. God clothed Adam and Eve with coats of skin signifying that God made a way for their reconciliation (Genesis 3:1-21).
It was when Adam and Eve sinned that Satan gained power over death and death remained in his domain. It is evident from the words of Jesus that Satan has his own kingdom and demons are as his followers. (Cf. Matthew 12:24-27)
“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous” (Romans 5:19)
We have assurance by the Words of Jesus that we will not be left in the grave nor is the death cessation of life. The dead in Christ shall rise first and will say… “O death, where is thy sting”, and then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds and say… “O grave, where is thy victory?”
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord”. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)
“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:52)
Does it mean that the dead will be in the grave without being able to recognize one another, or be without the Lord until the second coming of Jesus? Jesus spoke of the death of Lazarus as his sleep and, therefore, it is evident that in the sight of the Lord a believer’s death is not the cessation of life.
“These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep” (John 11:11-13)
In the words of Jesus, who gave assurance to the second thief on the cross by His side, we have hope that we will in paradise the day we die. In the words of Apostle Paul we have the hope that although we are absent in body, we will be present in Spirit with the Lord.
“And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43)
“We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord”. (2 Corinthians 5:8)