“You shall die in your sins.” The word used in John 8:21 and 24, “die” is a physical death. This is a strike to the heart of the religious leadership who think that they have the corner market on God’s laws and heavenly home. When Jesus says, “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” He is talking to those “spiritual leaders” of Israel in the day. We who minister would be wise to heed these words. If we think this is only for the spiritual leadership, we should be mindful that we are all of the “holy” or “royal” priesthood (1 Peter 2:5, 9)
Where legalists rely on a faithful fulfillment of the law instead of God and His truth, we are like them. Where we press our agenda upon others instead resting in the Holy Spirit’s influence in others lives, we are like them. Where we judge others and select only who will benefit our ministry in society, we are like them. Equally, where we let any of these things and especially the worldliness of the unsaved guide and direct how we minister, organize or preach from the pulpit, we are like them. All these attitudes fail.
Where we teach the love and grace of Christ, His salvation, the truth in scripture, even the tough parts that call for purity, we are like Christ. Where we say to people, “now go and sin no more,” we are like Christ. Paul verbally eviscerated the church at Corinth over their sinfulness. The people in their church not only committed, but were regularly practicing sin. These letters tell us we must keep our ministries pure. We cannot let those practicing sin wantonly, publicly and without repentance lead or influence the ministry. Yet, we must love them, care for them, share Christ with them, show them they an avenue of escape in Christ.
Jesus asks only one thing, go and sin no more. We have to stop the sin. It is not about denying anything, it is actually about accepting who we are, what we are, what we do. Accepting it does not mean we have to continue in it though. We are supposed to choose Christ over our sinful desires. That is what Christ wants. Choose Him over religion. Choose Christ over the sins of the flesh. Choose Christ over the things of the world. Choose Christ over fame, fortune, publicity, success and all other things. Choose a relationship with Christ over any other relationship or desire. Choose Christ.