Die In Your Sins
The phrasing here—that a man could "die in his sins" - has become unpopular. Hellfire and brimstone preaching is out; the Gentle Jesus is proclaimed. But this misses an important point.
Jesus Christ is the creator of all things; all things were made by him and through him. He therefore cannot be "of this world" anymore than the potter can be the pot. But the rest of us can certainly be "of this world" - for we were born to it.
Those of this world would be well warned to be familiar with the Old Testament thought on this. God is described as merciful, and one way that mercy is shown is that he does not visit the sins of the fathers on the children—each man dies "for his own sin." Unlike the kings of the time, who had a habit of wiping out not only their enemies but their enemies' families, God deals with us individually.
So what does it mean, to "die in your sins?"
· It means to die without a mediator between you and the Holy God—no one to plead your case, to argue your cause.
· It means to die without the Atonement—no way to pay for the sins of your life.
· It means to face the Holy and Sovereign God with no hope. It means, therefore, to be condemned to hell.
But there is hope. If you will look carefully at your Bible, you will note that the words following the phrase "I Am" are in italics. That means they are not there in the original. They are supplied by the translators. Without them, the phrases carry a double meaning—for "I AM" is the name of God. Therefore, Christ is the self-existent one, in fundamental union with God the Father, and as the Author of Life itself he can offer such life to us.
How? He tells us here that when he is "lifted up" they would know. He is speaking, of course, of the Crucifixion, when he was lifted up on a Cross. It is no accident that the symbol of Christianity is a cross, for in the Cross we have life from the Author of Life. In the Cross he became our great Mediator, pleading our case before the Father. In the Cross he became our Atonement, and paid for our sins, in full. In the Cross—and only in the Cross—we can face the Holy God, the pure one, and not be condemned but welcomed. Welcomed? Yes, but not for our own good deeds and merits, but because the Son of God was lifted up—and we were drawn to Him.