Oh Death, Where is Your Sting
The black shroud will pass over your eyes and Death will come at its appointed time with his icy metallic scythe to cut the cord between soul and mortal body. At that final hour what will prevent those permeating chills that would wash over your consciousness like asphyxiating waves? At that moment would we dare to come to our Creator, standing before him in our own righteousness, matching his gaze as he peers into our souls with his omniscient stare exposing every deed done in our body? Not even the angels did a thing so foolish in their sinless state. In Isaiah Ch 6:2-3 “Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said, Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.” The angels would not even dare to look at Him for he is above them, holy, uncreated, eternal and they are just his finite creation.
I have had a person tell me when they were presented with the Gospel, that on that terrible day of judgement, they would look God in the face and tell Him that He is wrong for condemning their sin, right before they are cast into Hell, by a pure and just God. I fear that they would not stand before him in such an arrogant, proud, and boastful state. Their faces would instead be in the dust as they avoid his gaze. Those who say that now would indeed be covered with those asphyxiating waves of terror as they are cast into eternal torments.
Will you not consider your own mortality? Tomorrow is not promised. On that day, a man would not dare to gaze in the eyes of God when all remaining hope for the lost soul is snuffed out for life eternal. Likewise, let us not look into the heavens as the Pharisee did in self righteous pride, for he will not be able to gaze upon him on the last day. Let us rather be as the tax collector, was who would “not even lift his eyes up to heaven, but beat his breast saying, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner’." Jesus said: “I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”(Luke 18:13-14). The Baptist Confession of Faith says in Ch 6: “Conceived in sin and by nature children subject to God’s anger, the servants of sin and the subjects of death, all men are now given up to unspeakable miseries, spiritual, temporal, and eternal unless the Lord Jesus sets him free. We all have a taste of the unspeakable miseries that are spiritual and temporal. We are all under the curse of sin that brings misery to these bodies of death and are polluted by sin to our very core experiencing spiritual misery and death as well. The inevitable terminus of those hints of death and misery will lead to the misery of death eternal. Even our worst days on earth would not compare to a minute of the full wrath of God. There is good news as we reflect on these sobering truths. The Lord Jesus Christ will set those whom he chose to shed his electing grace upon free: free from sin, free from his wrath, and free from the terrors of death. Those who would not gaze to heaven now, but repent with bitter tears and trust in Jesus Christ and his death and resurrection will also experience the sweet, life giving waters Jesus gives. Someday we will see Him face to face. We will have the Beatific vision and gaze upon Him who is our source of joy. When that moment of death comes we will not experience fear for “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear." For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love (1 John 4:18). Romans 5:8 says this about whom he loves “God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” He justified His sheep, legally declaring us righteous and bearing our sin and wrath upon the Cross. In light of Resurrection Sunday, will you not turn to Him who does such marvelous things? He lived the perfect life we couldn’t; died on a Cross, and rose again, that all whom He called to believe in Him may have eternal life. The grave had no victory over him, and likewise we as Christians can say with the apostle Paul “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55). On that day when we go to meet the Lord all of our fear will be washed away. All the sufferings of this present world will not compare to the joys that await us. Those temporal miseries will be erased. Rev. 7:17 states: “The Lamb In the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” There will be no tears due to the trials of life, because of sin, because of affliction, disease, or pain. Spurgeon has said “But in heaven, no aching head or weary heart. There, no palsied arm, no brow plowed with the furrows of old age. There, the limb shall be recovered and old age shall find itself endowed with perpetual youth. There, the infirmities of the flesh shall be left behind, given to the storm and devoured by decay. There, they shall flit, as on the wings of angels, from pole to pole and from place to place, without weariness or anguish. There, they shall never need to lie upon the bed of rest or suffering, for day without night, with joy unflagging, they shall circle God's throne rejoicing and ever praise him who has said, “No inhabitant will say, ‘I am sick’” (Isaiah 33:24).
Christian, repentance is not just at the moment of salvation, but is rather a work of God in the believer’s life. We continually abhor sin, have a sorrow of it, turning from it in obedience because of what the Lord has done for us. What wonderful grace He has shown upon us despite that we are merely unprofitable servants. May we humble ourselves as we think about His resurrection, and understand the infinite cost it took to redeem the infinite sins of His Bride. Thomas Watson once said that repentance is checkered with faith. May we mourn over the sin that so easily ensnares us and rejoice as we strive to live in obedience to Him in true faith as we reflect upon His mercies. May we preach the Gospel to a dying world in these strange times.