Seeking in vain?


John 8:21-24  So he said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.”  So the Jews said, “Will he kill himself, since he says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” 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.”

J.C. Ryle comments:

This passage contains deep things, so deep that we have no line to fathom them. As we read it we should call to mind the Psalmist’s words–“Your thoughts are very deep.” (Psalm 92:5.) But it also contains, in the opening verses, some things which are clear, plain, and unmistakable. To these let us give our attention and root them firmly in our hearts.

We learn, for one thing, that it is possible to seek Christ in vain. Our Lord says to the unbelieving Jews, “You shall seek Me, and shall die in your sins.” He meant, by these words, that the Jews would one day seek Him in vain.

The lesson before us is a very painful one. That such a Savior as the Lord Jesus, so full of love, so willing to save, should ever be sought “in vain,” is a sorrowful thought. Yet so it is! A man may have many religious feelings about Christ, without any saving religion. Sickness, sudden affliction, the fear of death, the failure of usual sources of comfort–all these causes may draw out of a man a good deal of “religiousness.” Under the immediate pressure of these he may say his prayers fervently, exhibit a strong spiritual feelings, and profess for a season to “seek Christ,” and be a different man. And yet all this time his heart may never be touched at all! Take away the peculiar circumstances that affected him, and he may possibly return at once to his old ways. He sought Christ “in vain,” because he sought Him from false motives, and not with his whole heart.

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