For mankind sin is the sting of death (1 Cor 15:56), meaning that it is sin which gives man his fear of death. Some may be hardened so much as to give themselves the lie that they do not fear death, but when the reality of their own mortality sets in, it will be their sin that robs them of all comfort as they prepare to enter the grave. Sin is the sting of death, but what is the sting of sin? What makes sin sting?
Sin stings because with it comes the unpleasant reality of consequence and judgment for it. For those who know not God, they seemingly sin with impunity most of the days of their lives, their conscience sometimes convincing and other times not convincing otherwise. There will be times when they wonder why ‘bad’ things happen to them and other people they consider ‘good’, but as a whole they care not much to find out the reason these things happen. The reason is that sin stings, and each sting has an unpleasant consequence. As the sin accumulates so do the unpleasant consequences.
One example of the sting of sin is that ‘sin entered the world and death through sin’. Death happens because of sin, and because ‘all have sinned’, all will die. Now sin is so heinous that not only has it caused mankind to die, but all creation has been tainted with sin such that plant and animal-kind will die as well. There is no need for a coroner investigation, the root cause of every death in the history of the world is sin. Deep inside every man realizes this, and it is this which naturally gives each person a fear of death.
Were we perfect we would live forever, but sin has so corrupted creation that sooner or later all in it must die. What gives us the consternation of soul is, then what? This is what imparts the fear of death to all, this is the sting of sin. Sin has caused all of us to die, proving that the effects of it are indiscriminate, and have come upon all, ‘for all have sinned’, even to the very best! We know that there will be an unpreventable day of reckoning for all and realize that we are poor, wretched, miserable, blind and naked. We are without covering, and all will be laid bare before all; that stings.
God also knew that we would be without covering which is why He provided the covering we need in the blood of Christ. Through Christ and only through Him, we can say, ‘O death, where is thy sting, O grave, where is thy victory?’. In Christ, we know that though we must die because of sin, the sting of sin which is the sting of death, has been removed. We know that because He was raised again, He has completely put away the sin of those who trust Him, just as He said He would. Therefore we can say with all joy, ‘Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.’
1 Cor 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.