Dearest hijas and hijo,
“The person who sins will die. The daughter will not bear the punishment for the mother’s iniquity, nor will the mother bear the punishment for the daughter’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon herself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon herself” (Ezekiel 18:20).
Jesus was in the temple in Jerusalem one day and all the people were coming to Him, and He sits down and begins to teach them. The scribes and Pharisees—always following Jesus around and tracking His whereabouts—were also there listening to Him.
Beginning in verse 12 of John chapter 8, Jesus says this: “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
This is one of the several great “I AM” statements in John’s gospel (6:35; 8:58-59; 10:9; 10:11; 11:25-26; 14:6; 15:1). The reference that Jesus is drawing them to is in Exodus 3:14 where God is speaking to Moses and says, “I AM WHO I AM.” This is known as the tetragrammaton. Look it up. In essence, Jesus was equating Himself with the Yahweh of the Old Testament; the God of Israel and the Sovereign LORD of the universe. The Pharisees go apoplectic. “You can’t say that! You’re a liar! You’re falsely inflating yourself! Why, you’re just a man, how can you say that? Who do you think you are?” (v.13).
You see, the Pharisees were walking in darkness, “from below” and “of this world,” Jesus says, and were mockingly sneering at Him. “He was not of this world” (v.23), and tells them “I am going away and they will look for Him, but they shall die in their sin“, because “where He is going they cannot come” (v.21). He further clarifies that for them in verse 24, “Unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins.”
Sin is individualistic, isn’t it? I am not held accountable for your sin and you’re not held accountable for my sin. We are each held accountable for our own sin before God. How does one die in their sin? Be willfully and obstinately ignorant of it. A sure-fire guaranteed way to miss heaven is to be willfully and obstinately ignorant of your own sin—to live and act as if it doesn’t exist. It’s always dark when you love your sin—a willful darkness. When you pretend you’re not a sinner and think your own self-righteousness is good enough, then that’s when you have to worry. Jesus says in John 3:19 that judgement has come upon men and women due to their love of the darkness rather than the light because their deeds are evil. In other words, they love their dark evil deeds and want to obstinately and willfully stay there in that place of darkness. This hardening of one’s heart is the judgment and the damnation. As long as you are obstinately loving your sin, and cherishing it like it was your favorite Dove ice cream bar, you will die in your sin. Pride and self-righteousness will damn one to hell just as quick as murder and theft. All are the evil deeds of darkness.
The remedy? Believe that Jesus is “I AM WHO I AM.” Bend the knee of the mind and repent. Stop being obstinately and willfully ignorant. Forsake your sin and call out to Christ for mercy and forgiveness. Walk not in darkness but embrace Him as the light of life.
Thanks be to God, mis hijas y hijo, that He has regenerated you into ‘born again’ status. Do you thank Him every day for that? Do you give Him praise for this act of mercy on your behalf? It is His work, His grace that you bent the knee of repentance and moved from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. Continue then to “Keep yourselves in the love of God” (Jude 21).
All my love,
Vaya con Dios!