Reflections

Victory over sin and death

Reflection on 1 Corinthians 15:56-57
“The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Death is all around us. On every side, in every place.
It does not discriminate nor wait for us to be ready for it.

Just when we might have thought we had avoided it for a time, it hits again those we love so dearly, and we are reminded of its power and its effects.

Death comes to us all. And it comes to us all because of sin. Because sin entered the world, death entered the world through sin. We do not need a magnifying glass to search out sin or its effects for they are all around – inside us, and outside us.

The law of God functions to highlight the extent of our sinfulness, as “sinful beyond measure.” (Romans 7:13).

We see for example the commandment of God to have no other God but Him – to worship and serve Him only – and we know that simply we all fail every day to do that.

His word says of humanity that “although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” (Romans 1:21).

This is our plight, the predicament we cannot overcome in our power. Our sin condemns us before the Holy God that we have all betrayed and turned away from.

But what does the text say? Does it finish there? No…
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Friends, for the follower of Jesus, as one person put it, “Christ invaded death’s domain and robbed it of its sting.” Jesus lived perfectly according the law of God, and Jesus took the curse of sin upon Himself and died to destroy its power.

If we trust in Jesus, we do not need to fear death – its sting has been taken away… Because Jesus bore its sting on the cross for us. A life of thanksgiving and praise to the God who so loved us that sent us His One and Only Son… is the only thing fitting for us…

Thanks be To God! We have the victory over sin and death, through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Reflections

The King over fear.

Reflection on Mark 5:35-36
35 While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” 36 But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.”

Our world is a place of constant fearfulness. We live in the 24-hour news cycle of stories that cause us heart ache, despair and to be filled with fear.

Stories of death and disease, stories of disaster and despair if we are not careful will give way to a despair in our own hearts and minds and we will be overwhelmed by, and overcome by… fear.

So, what can quell our fears? What can alleviate our worries and drown our despair? When our hearts are overwhelmed, anxious, troubled, fear filled… what can dispel the storm of fear?

Jesus says to this father who has just been told that his daughter has died not to fear but rather to believe. Jesus shortly after this raises his 12-year-old daughter back to life. Fear is overcome with “amazement” in these parents’ hearts.

Truth be told we live in a fearful world; we live in a place where brokenness surrounds us and indwells us and we are tempted to give way to fear. And we can come up with all sorts of phrases to seek to drive out these fears but in the end our fears can still dominate, and they can still become reality no matter how positive we try to be.

The Only Hope we have is the One who is the King over our fears. Jesus came to give us a glimpse into what His kingdom will be like: a place without death and disease, a place without disaster and despair… a place without fear.

Jesus came to destroy the one who has the power of death (the devil) and to deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery (Hebrews 2:14). Jesus did this when He went to the cross and took on our all our sins, all our wrongdoings – He suffered for us, in our place to make us right with God, to take away our fear of judgement.

To trust in Jesus does not mean we will not suffer, even deeply so, but it does mean that we do not need to give way to fear like the world because Jesus has conquered our greatest fear, our greatest enemy: even death itself. And by trusting in Jesus we will enjoy eternal fearlessness in His love and freedom forever.

The King has triumphed over all fear.