Sunday, October 2, 2016

Day 167: John 8:1-30 & Psalm 25 - What Did Jesus Mean by Dying in Your Sins?

Today's Reading: John 8:1-30 & Psalm 25

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What Did Jesus Mean by Dying in Your Sins?

He said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.” - John 8:23-24, ESV

What's the worst news you could hear from someone? Is it a diagnosis of advanced cancer that appears terminal?  Is it some dreadful news about your children? Well, these things are terrible, and I would never want to make light of them, but Jesus speaks even more terrifying words three times to the Pharisees: You will die in your sins. But what did He mean by these sobering and dreadful words? 

We all know that everyone dies. The famous saying is that the only two sure things in life are death and taxes, but many people have managed to avoid paying taxes. The Bible says instead that the only two sure things are death and judgment: "it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment." (Hebrews 9:27)

When Jesus said, "You will die in your sins," He was warning the Pharisees that they would die and face judgment with their sins still counting against them. The reason they would die in their sins is because they refused to believe in Jesus. 

Nothing is more unpopular in our culture than the message that you must believe in Jesus in order to go to heaven. People balk against this belief as narrow-minded, judgmental, harsh, arrogant, intolerant, etc. But most people who despise this message misunderstand what Christian believe and what Jesus taught. 

Believing in Jesus does not make you a morally superior human being, more deserving in and of yourself to gain entrance into heaven. All people are sinners and all of us have committed countless sins, violations of the holy law of our holy God. The real question is: Will we die in our sins or is there some way for them to be removed from our record when we face judgment? Jesus came to take our sins upon Himself so that we would not have to die in them. By trusting in Jesus, His work of forgiveness and His perfect record of righteousness become ours by faith alone, not by works.

The Pharisees were going to die in their sins for one simple reason: They would not believe in Jesus. They had ample evidence and sufficient reason, but they were blind to it and were hardened in their unbelief and rejection of Jesus. The same of true for unbelievers today: Jesus has proven who He is as the Son of God and Savior of sinners, The evidence is clear and the case is compelling, but they are hardened in unbelief, as we would all be apart from the intervening saving grace of God.

Without Jesus, you will die in your sins because only Jesus can remove them. No one else and nothing else can. But the good news is that is you die in Jesus, you do not die in Your sins. He takes them all and replaces them with His righteousness. So, will you die in your sins or will you die in Jesus?

Prayer Based on Psalm 25:

To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in You I trust;
    let me not be put to shame;
    let not my enemies exult over me.
Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame;
    they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

Make me to know Your ways, O Lord;
    teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
    for You are the God of my salvation;
    for You I wait all the day long.

Remember Your mercy, O Lord, and Your steadfast love,
    for they have been from of old.
Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
    according to Your steadfast love remember me,
    for the sake of Your goodness, O Lord!

Good and upright are You, O Lord;
    therefore You instruct sinners in the way.
You lead the humble in what is right,
    and teach the humble Your way.
All of Your paths, O Lord, are steadfast love and faithfulness,
    for those who keep Your covenant and Your testimonies.

For Your name's sake, O Lord,
    pardon my guilt, for it is great.
By Your grace, I fear You, O Lord.
    Instruct me in the way that I should choose.
Let my soul abide in well-being.
The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear You,
    and You make known to them Your covenant.
My eyes are ever toward You, Lord,
    for You will pluck my feet out of the net,
        the snare of my enemy who seeks to trap me in sin, shame and doubt.

Turn to me and be gracious to me,
    for I am lonely and afflicted.
The troubles of my heart are enlarged;
    bring me out of my distresses.
Consider my affliction and my trouble,
    and forgive all my sins.

Consider how many are my foes,
    and with what violent hatred they hate me.
Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me!
    Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in You.
May the perfect integrity and uprightness of Christ preserve me,
    for I wait for You.

Redeem Your people, O God,
    out of all our troubles.

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