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The Sting of Death

Certain animals “sting.” They hurt or harm you. You might think of the ones that do. Some may categorize them as dangerous.

The Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:55-57: “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. ”

The Greek word translated “sting” (kentron) is found in all its forms only five times in the New Testament, two of which are in these above verses. One of the other usages is Revelation 9:10: “And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.” This is one insect that stings, the scorpion. God will create these giant creatures with scorpion tails for a future period of judgment.

Another use of the Greek word kentron is translated “prick” in Acts 9:5 at the conversion of the Apostle Paul, when Jesus says to him: “It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.” A prick is that sharp point at the end of a goad, used to move stubborn animals.

When we think of “sting,” it’s easy to think of a bumblebee, which leaves its stinger in us when it stings. Paul is saying in 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 that what makes death painful or brings the harm of death is “sin.” Sin can be removed like removing a sting, so that death itself loses its threat or danger to us.

In 1 Corinthians 15, salvation from sin brings resurrection and a resurrected body. Death becomes glory without the sting of sin. Someone exchanges a corrupted mortal body for an eternal and incorruptible one.

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