Follow the Burning Torch
“I am the light of the world.” John 8:12
Jesus says, “I am the light of the world.” That means you have God to thank for everything good in your life and everything good in the world. Without Him there is no light, no love, no hope, no peace, and no joy. Take Him away and everything is darkness.
Walking in a dark tunnel
“Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness…” John 8:12
Imagine that we’re in a dark tunnel. One man has a light, and he’s walking towards us through the tunnel. If we walk with him, we walk in his light. But if we refuse to follow him, his light will get further and further away from us, and eventually we’ll be left in the dark.
That is true in this life, and of course it’s also true in the world to come. Beyond this world there is a place where Christ is. Because Christ is there, it is a world of light and love and peace and joy. But beyond this world there is also a place where Christ is not. Because Christ is not there, it is a world of darkness and hate and turmoil and misery.
Jesus’ audience immediately begins to question what qualifies Him to speak: “That’s just your opinion!” (John 8:13). But Jesus cuts through the rhetoric: “I’m going away and you will seek me and you will die in your sin. Where I’m going you cannot come” (John 8:21). These folks are certain they’re going to heaven, so they reason: “We’re going to heaven. If we can’t go where he’s going, he must be going to the other place. Is he going to kill himself?” (John 8:22).
Where are you from?
“You are from below; I am from above.
You are of this world; I am not of this world.” John 8:23
Jesus is saying, “Earth is your home. You don’t belong up there in heaven. And heaven is my home. I don’t belong here on earth.” In other words, heaven does not naturally belong to us.
Suppose someone comes to your house and knocks on the door. You open the door and a stranger you have never seen is standing there. Before you say anything, he forces the door open, brushes past you, walks straight upstairs, and begins unpacking his stuff in one of the bedrooms.
You say to him, “What do you think you’re doing?”
He says, “This is a very nice house. I’ve decided I’d like to live here.”
Your jaw drops to the ground. “Excuse me! This is my house, and I’m calling the police.”
If you invite me to your house, I could stay there as your guest. But I have no right to stay at your house. It’s a matter of your invitation. If I stay there at all, it will be at your pleasure.
Heaven is Christ’s home. We have no right to it. We are from below. We don’t belong there.
“I told you that you would die in your sins…” John 8:24
What does it mean to die in your sins? It means to carry your sins into your death with you. There is nothing more tragic than this—dying in your sins. How can I make sure that this does not happen to me? I know I will die. How can I be sure that I will not die in my sins?
Jesus says just a few verses earlier: “You will die in your sin” (John 8:21). Notice there is one sin – what is it? What is the one sin these people are in danger of dying in?
What are you carrying?
“…for unless you believe that I am he, you will die in your sins.” John 8:24
Unbelief towards Jesus Christ is the one sin that leaves you taking all your other sins into your death with you. Unless you believe… you will die in your sins. Turn that around and you have the hope of the gospel… If you believe that Jesus is the Christ, you will not die in your sins.
Why is believing so important? Faith is the bond of a living union in which you give yourself to Christ, and Christ gives Himself to you. Christ becomes your Savior. Christ becomes your friend. Christ becomes your Lord and master, and when you belong to Him, His home is yours.
Jesus lived a sinless life. He is the only person who has ever done that or ever could. The Bible tells us that “he bore our sins in his body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24). “The Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). This is true for every person who has faith in Jesus Christ: Christ carried your sins into His death, so you won’t carry then into yours.
This LifeKey is based on the message (Jan 8, 2012) called: “Dying in Your Sins,” by Pastor Colin S. Smith, from the series, “The Inside Story of Your Future Life.”
Colin currently serves as Senior Pastor of the The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in Arlington Heights, Illinois. He is committed to preaching the Bible in a way that nourishes the soul by directing attention to Jesus Christ.