But let me tell you something wonderful, a mystery I’ll probably never fully understand. We’re not all going to die—but we are all going to be changed. You hear a blast to end all blasts from a trumpet, and in the time that you look up and blink your eyes—it’s over. On signal from that trumpet from heaven, the dead will be up and out of their graves, beyond the reach of death, never to die again. At the same moment and in the same way, we’ll all be changed. In the resurrection scheme of things, this has to happen: everything perishable taken off the shelves and replaced by the imperishable, this mortal replaced by the immortal. Then the saying will come true: Death swallowed by triumphant Life! Who got the last word, oh, Death? Oh, Death, who’s afraid of you now? It was sin that made death so frightening and law-code guilt that gave sin its leverage, its destructive power. But now in a single victorious stroke of Life, all three—sin, guilt, death—are gone, the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ. Thank God! (I Corinthians 15:55-57)
It was guilt brought on by trying to keep 'all the rules' on our own that gave sin its leverage. The 'law-code' that says we have to obey all these rules upon rules actually did more to keep us under a load of guilt than anything else. We just aren't capable of keeping all the rules on our own. Rules are boundaries - some are set by men to keep men in line; others are set by God because he knows the destructiveness of sin's full consummation in our lives. Either way - they are hard to keep all of the time in our own effort or 'will-power'.
In a single stroke - sin, guilt, and death - all are wiped away. How is that possible? Guilt seems to linger on long after we have confessed our short-comings. Sometimes shame replaces the feelings of guilt, making the 'sting' of our sin felt time and time again as we come to believe we are never going to be free of the sin's pull. Yet - - - in a SINGLE action, Christ dealt with all three! Sin was swallowed up in the action of the cross - along with the guilt and shame of that sin. Death - life lived apart from God for all of eternity - was dealt a final blow.
Don't miss it - freedom from sin; victory over shame; and triumph over the 'finality' of the grave is ALL ours - as a gift given by the one who holds all three in his claim - Christ. Not anything we earn, but everything we count on as ours from now through all of eternity. So, why do we live as though we don't have victory over our sin and shame? We likely do so because we are listening to the lie that we will never be good enough, do enough good, or influence enough good in this life. That is true - apart from Christ's presence within us.
With the presence of Christ within, 'good enough' is made 'so much more than just good enough'. We are exalted into the position of Kings Kids - we are royalty! With the presence of Christ within 'doing good' isn't about keeping all the rules, it is about living the way he desires because we are so in love with him that we desire to do nothing less. With the presence of Christ within, our life is an influence for good and a deterrent to evil. We are light and life - examples of his love, grace, and peace. We are living testimonials of his ability to release from the hold of this 'do good' spin we try to convince ourselves we can do on our own.
Death swallowed by triumphant life - sin brings death in the spiritual sense - separating us from the presence of God and the peace that comes by living close to his heart. Christ did what none of us is capable of doing - triumphing over death's pull and sting. Nothing pulls us toward eternal death any longer - everything pulls us toward eternal life - a life lived in the presence of the One True God himself. We can 'try' to live good, but only the presence of a good God within us can make us truly 'good'. Just sayin!