The Bible says in I Corinthians 15:51-57,
Make special note of the very last sentence in the fifty-fourth verse, “Death is swallowed up in victory.” Have you ever been troubled by the thought of death? This passage of Scripture reminds us that it is swallowed up, gone forever, in victory. We have victory in God our Father, victory in God the Son, and victory in God the Holy Spirit. We have victory in our Lord.
We need victory. There are many people at this very moment who are defeated about something in their life. At this moment, you may have a thought of unforgiveness, a thought of anger. There may be someone you cannot deal with or something you cannot get beyond. We need victory. God has provided a way to have victory through the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ and what He came and accomplished on Calvary through His death, burial, and resurrection.
In the oldest book of the Bible, the book of Job, we find a question that has been asked in every age. The Bible says in Job 14:14, “If a man die, shall he live again?” If our Lord does not come soon, every one of us must deal with the subject of death. Whether it is our own death or the death of those we love.
There are different ideas about death. Some people have the idea that when we die, that is the end of it. The body goes into the ground, the worms devour the flesh, and the matter we behold as we look at one another is dissolved in the earth. Some people have the idea that life is cyclical. They believe in something called reincarnation. These ideas are not taught anywhere in the Bible.
When we think about death with a biblical perspective, we must first deal with the subject of the resurrection. God says that when we are separated from this body by death and our bodies are placed in the grave, our bodies are going to be resurrected. We speak of two resurrections. We speak of the resurrection of the saved and the resurrection of the unsaved.
Christ Jesus is the first fruit of the resurrection; evidence that many others are on the way. The Lord Jesus said in John 14:19, “…because I live, ye shall live also.” We know that when He comes for His own, that could be at any moment, there is going to be a resurrection of the saved, but not of the unsaved. I do pray that you will have part in that first resurrection.
There is also a second resurrection for the unsaved. They will be resurrected in body, to stand before God at the Great White Throne Judgment, to be cast bodily into hell forever. We must understand some things about life, death, life after death, and resurrection. Every man will live as long as God lives. Each person will either spend an eternity with God in heaven or without God in what the Bible calls hell.
The quote, “Death is swallowed up in victory” we find in I Corinthians chapter fifteen is taken from a verse in Isaiah chapter twenty-five. The Bible says in Isaiah 25:8, “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.” Here the Bible says that God will swallow up death in victory, that the Lord will wipe away all tears, and that He will remove the rebuke of His people.
“Death is swallowed up in victory.” If you are sitting at a table for a meal and something is prepared for you and you take it into your mouth and swallow it, it is gone. It has disappeared. It has vanished. The Bible says that death is swallowed up. It disappears. It vanishes. It is no more. It is gone forever. What a glorious thought: death gone forever! How is this possible? Where does this victory over death come from? We have victory because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Victory Over Sin
Why did Christ die? It was not for His own sin. He lived a sinless life. The Bible says, “Christ died for our sins . . .” The Word of God teaches that He was buried and that He rose from the dead on the third day. No matter how good we think we are, all of us have the same problem that keeps us out of heaven. It is the problem that separates us from God. No matter how good we try to be or how many good things we do, by our very nature, we are sinners. Our sin separates us from God. Because of our sin, we cannot get into a perfect place called heaven.
Because God does not allow sin into heaven, something had to be done about our sin. Jesus Christ, God’s Son, came from heaven, was born of a virgin, and lived a sinless life. When He went to the cross, He bled and died for our sins. He paid the sin debt of every human being. The Bible says He tasted death for every man (Hebrews 2:9). He died, was buried, and then rose again bodily on the third day.
Why did He do all that? He did it for our sin debt! When He bled and died on the cross, God the Father poured out His wrath upon His own Son. Sin was punished as Christ bore our sin on the cross. He died for us. He was buried and He rose from the dead. The resurrection is the receipt of the payment Christ made in His death.
We have victory over sin. When I asked God to forgive my sin and trusted Jesus as my Savior, God gave me Christ’s sinless record. The Bible refers to this as having the imputed righteousness of Jesus. His holy, perfect record has been put on my account and my sin has been put on His account. Now I can enter into heaven, not on my own merit or my own record, but on the record of Jesus Christ because His record now appears on my record and my record appeared on Him on Calvary. He gives me victory over my sin debt.
He also gives us victory over sin on a daily basis. We have the resurrected Christ living in us. Philippians 3:10 says, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection…” It is this same power of His resurrection that God says lives in us. This means that when temptation comes to us, we are not to fret about it and say, “I don’t how I’m going to live. I don’t know how I’m going to do it.” You have the power of the resurrected Christ living in you! You can say, “God, help me.” There is victory in looking to the Lord, calling on the name of Jesus, and asking God to help you.
Victory Over Death
Death can be a frightening thing. In I Corinthians 15:26 the Bible says, “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” I have marked in my Bible the word “last” in verse twenty-six. Verse fifty-two says, “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump…” In that verse I have marked “the last trump.” I have connected “the last enemy” and “the last trump.” Death will be done away with when Christ comes and the dead in Christ are raised!
Often when we played outside as children, bees would buzz around us. There is a certain type of bee that once it stings you, it leaves its stinger in you. That same bee cannot hurt you anymore because its stinger is gone. We would say to one another, “That bee can’t hurt you. It’s just buzzing around you. Its stinger is gone.” We need to believe by faith what God has taught us in His Word, that death is like that bee buzzing around us. It can buzz all it wants to, but it cannot hurt us because its stinger is gone. Jesus took the stinger out of it. He gives us victory in the hour of death.
He said in Hebrews 13:5, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” He did not say, “I’m going to take you right to the edge, and then I’m going to leave you alone until you get to the other side.” No, no, no! He said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” He gives us victory over death. May God help us to rest in this great truth.
Victory Over the Grave
To stand with a weeping family in a graveyard and see them turn and walk away can be a very emotional thing. The people who care for the funerals are as kind as they know how to be. They take the body and try to make it look as good as they can possibly make it look. They place flowers all around to keep it bright. They take the casket out to a graveside where the fresh earth has been uncovered. They cover it with artificial grass, and they place flowers on it to make it a little more pleasant for the family. I am glad all of these things are done, but the stark reality cannot change the fact that there is a dead body there that is going into an earthen grave. What shall become of it?
The same question was asked, and Paul wrote to answer it in I Corinthians 15:35, “But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?” The Lord is able. The same God Who spoke the world into existence and created us from the dust of the earth, Almighty God, is able to raise a new, redeemed body at the resurrection to be reunited with my soul and spirit. He gives us victory over the cold grave.
In the resurrection chorus, when Jesus comes again, one group is going to sing, “Oh grave, where is thy victory? You couldn’t hold me, could you?” Those who are alive when the Lord comes are going to answer back, “Oh death, where is thy sting? You never got me, did you?” What a wonderful song that is going to be! We could be singing it at any moment because Christ is coming soon.
We have so much to celebrate in our Savior, especially as we think about His resurrection on that Easter morn. Christ is alive and because He lives, we have victory over sin. We have victory over death. We have victory over the grave. No wonder the Bible says I Corinthians 15:58, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.“
God has not only given us the ability to do whatever He wants us to do; He has given us a holy desire, because of the resurrected Christ living in us, to want to do it. How we praise His name!
Are you on the winning side? In your own personal experience, do you have this victory? Do you have to say, “There are so many defeated things in my personal life. There are so many defeated things in my home. In my mind, there are so many worries and frets. There are so many things that trouble me greatly.”
No doubt, some of you reading this have never trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior and if you died today, your body would go into that grave. The soul and spirit would be separated from God forever, but that body resurrected at the second resurrection will have to stand before Christ at the Great White Throne and be cast into hell forever. You say, “I try to be as good as I know to be. I am religious. I believe in God. I try to do good to my fellow man.” Something must be done with your sin problem. The only thing that satisfies God is what Christ did with our sin problem when He died for our sin and was buried and rose from the dead. Trust Him. Claim that victory over sin, death, and the grave today!