For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.
A month and a half ago, the season of Lent began on Ash Wednesday. Then, we were reminded, in the words of Genesis 3:19 that we were made from dust, and to dust we will return. Ash Wednesday confronted us with the bad news we try to avoid: Because of our sin, we will die. In the words of 1 Corinthians 15:56, “For sin is the sting that results in death.” We have all been stung by this fatal venom.
But that’s not the end of the story, thanks be to God! The law came along, but could not save us. In fact, it accentuated the power of sin by making even clearer how much we were under its power. But God had a plan, a plan he had formulated before the dawn of time. One day, he would receive the sting of death himself, thus stripping sin of its lethal power. In that day, God would defeat sin and death, offering victory to all who trust him through Jesus Christ.
In the death of Jesus on the cross, God was stung to death by sin. Yet, as he endured that sting, God broke the stinger. The resurrection of Jesus completes the shattering of the lethal stinger. Moreover, the resurrection demonstrates the good news of God’s victory in which we are blessed to share through Christ.
On Ash Wednesday, we remembered the fact that we came from dust and, because of sin, to dust we will return. On Easter, we celebrate the fact that Jesus came from life and, even though he died, returned to life in all its fullness. His resurrection not only shows us who Jesus really was and what he really accomplished. It also shows us what we will experience one day when we, too, are raised to the fullness of life.
In the meanwhile, we live as people of confident hope, knowing that God has been victorious over sin and death. We begin to experience in this world the victory that is ours through Christ as we put our faith in him and receive the Holy Spirit, the very power that raised Jesus from the dead. Thus, even now, we live as people of the resurrection, people of hope, victory, and power.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: How have you experienced the resurrection power of God in your life? In what parts of your life do you need God’s power today?
Christ, the Lord, is risen today, Alleluia!
All creation joins to say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, O heavens, and earth, reply, Alleluia!
Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now your sting? Alleluia!
Dying once, He all doth save, Alleluia!
Where your victory, O grave? Alleluia!
Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids Him rise, Alleluia!
Christ hath opened paradise, Alleluia!
Soar we now where Christ hath led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia! Amen.
“Christ, the Lord, is Risen Today,” by Charles Wesley, 1739. Public domain.
P.S. from Mark: If you are looking for more information about the season of Easter, let me encourage you to check out what I have written on my blog: Introduction to Eastertide, the Season of Easter.
Here’s how . . . .
This devotional comes from The High Calling: Everyday Conversations about Work, Life, and God (www.thehighcalling.org). You can read my Daily Reflections there, or sign up to have them sent to your email inbox each day. This website contains lots of encouragement for people who are trying to live out their faith in the workplace. The High Calling is associated with Laity Lodge, where I work.