There are probably few—if any—of you who have not experienced the burning pain of a bee sting. Some of you may even be allergic to bee stings and have to be prepared with an antidote should it happen. We initially inherited some bee hives because the previous keeper had become allergic to the stings. Normally honeybees are pretty docile, but if they feel threatened (like you step on one in the grass) or you are taking their hard-earned honey from the hive, they get pretty excited and will protect themselves and their honey.
One of the unique things about being stung by a honeybee versus a hornet or yellow jacket or wasp is that only the honeybee leaves behind its stinger. Sinking her poisoned stiletto into human flesh costs the honeybee her life. She is making the ultimate sacrifice for the good of the colony of bees. Gripping with tiny claws, she lowers her abdomen, thrusts in her slender tail lance, and then pulls away. The stinger, studded with microscopic barbs, stays fast in the victim and the tug disembowels the bee. But, the sting to the victim exacts fiery vengeance for her sacrifice. A living hypodermic needle, the barbed stinger carries its own powerful injection mechanism. Twenty minutes after penetration, muscles torn from the bee’s body still pulse. They drive the stinger deeper and deeper and inject poison as potent, drop for drop, as rattlesnake venom. (NOTE: That’s why it is important when you have been stung by a honeybee to immediately scrape out the stinger using your fingernail or a credit card).
A honeybee can only sting you once. They may continue to buzz around you (before they die) but are no longer a threat to you. That should bring to mind a passage in Scripture by the Apostle Paul where he is sharing about the Christian’s victory through Christ’s death and resurrection and writes (quoting from Hosea 13:14): “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? 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” (I Cor. 15:55-57). The sting of death is sin because it is by sin that death gains authority over man, and the power of sin is the law, because the law stirs up sin (Ro. 5:12; 7:8-11). But, our Savior, Jesus Christ, took upon Himself the sting of death by bearing our sins. Paul, in his second letter to the Corinthians writes: “He (God) made Him who knew no sin (Christ) to be sin on our behalf that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (II Cor. 5:21). Peter writes in his first epistle: “And He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed” (I Pet. 2:24).
When we believe in Christ as the incarnate God and trust in His work on the cross on our behalf, admitting that we are sinners and under the condemnation of the law and sin, an amazing thing transpires—the judgment of our sin is exchanged for Christ’s righteousness. Satan may “buzz around” threatening us and telling us we can’t possibly have eternal life but the “stinger’ was taken by Christ at Calvary and all Satan can do is “buzz.” We need to refute Satan’s lies. He is called in Scripture “the father of lies” (Jn. 8:44) and “the accuser of the brethren” (Rev. 12:10). As believers, we still have an old sinful nature, and will on occasion give in to its desires and sin. Satan will accuse us before God, but Christ, our advocate, our intercessor, is there to remind the Father that He (Christ) died for those sins. The penalty was fully paid, and “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Ro. 8:1).
But, lest you think it is okay to sin all you want because God’s grace is greater than all your sin (Ro. 5:20) and you won’t ever again come under condemnation, remember that sin still grieves God’s heart, ruins our fellowship with Him and robs us of our joy. So, as Peter wrote: “Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God” (I Pet. 2:16). And Paul writes: “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Gal. 5:13). When we think about what Christ went through to take the sting of death in our place, our attitude should be one of eternal gratefulness and a desire to please Him in all we do. If someone “takes a bullet for you,” how do you feel about what they did? Well, our Savior suffered hell on our behalf as He took the stinger meant for us. “After all He’s done for me…how can I do less than give Him my best and live for Him completely.”