|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
15:51-58 All the saints should not die, but all would be changed. In the gospel, many truths, before hidden in mystery, are made known. Death never shall appear in the regions to which our Lord will bear his risen saints. Therefore let us seek the full assurance of faith and hope, that in the midst of pain, and in the prospect of death, we may think calmly on the horrors of the tomb; assured that our bodies will there sleep, and in the mean time our souls will be present with the Redeemer. Sin gives death all its hurtful power. The sting of death is sin; but Christ, by dying, has taken out this sting; he has made atonement for sin, he has obtained remission of it. The strength of sin is the law. None can answer its demands, endure its curse, or do away his own transgressions. Hence terror and anguish. And hence death is terrible to the unbelieving and the impenitent. Death may seize a believer, but it cannot hold him in its power. How many springs of joy to the saints, and of thanksgiving to God, are opened by the death and resurrection, the sufferings and conquests of the Redeemer! In verse 58, we have an exhortation, that believers should be stedfast, firm in the faith of that gospel which the apostle preached, and they received. Also, to be unmovable in their hope and expectation of this great privilege, of being raised incorruptible and immortal. And to abound in the work of the Lord, always doing the Lord's service, and obeying the Lord's commands. May Christ give us faith, and increase our faith, that we may not only be safe, but joyful and triumphant.
Verse 56. - The sting of death is sin. Because death is the wages of sin (Romans 6:23). Death is represented as a venomous serpent. The strength of sin is the Law. The best comment on this expression is to be found in the Epistle to the Romans; see especially Romans 4:15; Romans 7:10-12. It must be admitted that this passing allusion to a distinct doctrine does not seem, at first sight, to harmonize with the glorious unity of the subject. No one can read it without a slight sense of jar, because it seems to introduce the element of dogmatic controversy. But this sense of incongruity is removed when we remember how intensely St. Paul felt that man is confronted with the horror of a broken Law, which at once reminds him of a Being infinitely holy, and of his own self condemnation (Romans 7; 2 Corinthians 3.). It is the sense that the Law in its deathful aspect is annulled, and the sinful soul delivered, which prompts the outburst of the next verse.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The sting of death is sin,.... Death has a sting, and which was originally in it, and that is sin; sin is the cause of death, it is what has given rise and being to it; it entered into the world by it, and is supported in its empire through it; it gives it its resistless power, which reaches to all sorts of persons, young and old, rich and poor, high and low, bond and free; it gives it all its bitterness, agonies, and miseries; and it is by that it does all the hurt and mischief it does; and it may fitly be compared to a sting, for its poisonous and venomous nature:
and the strength of sin is the law; not that the law of God is sinful, or encourages sin: it forbids it under the severest penalty; but was there no law there would be no sin, nor imputation of it; sin is a transgression of the law: moreover, the strength of sin, its evil nature, and all the dreadful aggravations of it, and sad consequences upon it, are discovered and made known by the law; and also the strength of it is drawn out by it, through the corruption of human nature; which is irritated and provoked the more to sin, through the law's prohibition of it; and this is not the fault of the law, but is owing to the vitiosity of nature; which the more it is forbidden anything, the more desirous it is of it; to which may be added, that sin is the more exceeding sinful, being committed against a known law, and that of the great lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy; whose legislative power and authority are slighted and trampled upon by it, which makes the transgression the more heinous; it is the law which binds sin upon a man's conscience, accuses him of it, pronounces him guilty, curses, condemns, and adjudges him to death for it.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
56. If there were no sin, there would be no death. Man's transgression of the law gives death its lawful power.
strength of sin is the law—Without the law sin is not perceived or imputed (Ro 3:20; 4:15; 5:13). The law makes sin the more grievous by making God's will the clearer (Ro 7:8-10). Christ's people are no longer "under the law" (Ro 6:14).
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