(1 Corinthians 15:54-57) “So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 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. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
You know it and I know it and the Bible says it; there is sting in death. This is one reason that men fear death. The sting of death is the wrath of God. We know that the wrath of God is against all that sin. Who are the ones that sin? The ones that are sinners are every man and every woman. (Romans 3:23) “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
The sting of death is sin.
I think that we can say if there was no sin there would not be any sting in death. If sin could be taken out of our life there would be no sting when we die. But there is sin in all our lives. (1 John 1:8) “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” Saint John is including himself by using the pronoun “we”. He could say, “If I say that I have no sin, I deceive myself, and the truth is not in me.” John is saying that all have sinned, the saved and the unsaved.
If we want to take the sting out of death, there is only one way to do it and that is by believing in Jesus. (John 3:36) “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
So then how do we remove sin from our life? We do not. We can only be forgiven. (1 John 1:7) “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”
Once one is saved, then one must walk in the light. John is not saying that walking in the light is living a sinless life, but is living a life that is open; a life where one is not trying to hide his sins. This is why he says in (1 John 1:9) “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” If we want to walk in the light we must be willing to confess our sins. Paul says, (Ephesians 5:13) “But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.”
If one wants to be right with the Lord, that is walk in the light, we must be willing to acknowledge our sins; our past sins, and our present sins.
Now the only way for one to have victory over the sting of death is by being in Christ. It is God who gives us victory over the sting of death through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have victory over the sting of death when we walk in the light. Why? Because the blood of Jesus Christ God’s Son has cleansed us from all our sins. As I said before, we cannot say that we have no sin, but we can say that Jesus’ blood has cleansed us from all unrighteousness so that we can walk in the light and have victory over the sting of death. So we all need to confess all of our known sins to God.
Now there are two more points I need to make so that you understand the first chapter of 1John; 1 John is written to the saved not to the lost. John is not asking the lost to confess their sins – he is asking the saved to confess their sins. God asks the lost to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ so they can be saved. He says, (Romans 10:13) “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
*Devotional written by Ralph Williams, retired pastor and member of One Hope Mobile.