24 Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”
Jesus gave the reason for His statements about sin in verse 21.
I said to you that you will die in your sins;
People will die in their sins if they do not accept the one who paid for their sins. Their multiplied “sins” (plural) were the result of their singular “sin” of rejecting Christ as their Savior.
for if you do not believe that I am He,
Believing in Christ is the central issue of becoming a Christian. Not believing that Christ is the great “I am” condemns one to a Christless eternity. The words “I am” is an expression of His deity, the eternally existing One (Ex 3:13f).
The “if” of this phrase indicates choice. Those who refuse faith in Christ will die in their sins. Those who deny the deity of Christ will go to hell.
you will die in your sins.”
This is the second time Jesus said that if they were to reject Him they would die without anyone paying for their sins. They would spend eternity in hell because they were not fit to go into the presence of God.
The singular “sin” in verse 21 refers to unbelief. The plural “sins” here refers to the many beliefs, attitudes, and actions that arise out of unbelief.
People die because they are sinners.
“Die in your sins” refers to rejection of Christ. There is an unbreakable link between sins and unbelief (Jn 3:19-21). If a person does not believe that Jesus is more than man, then he or she cannot enter eternal life.
There are those who teach that Jesus died only for believers and that He did not pay for the sins of unbelievers. They use John 8:24 as a proof text to establish the point—”you shall die in your sins.” However, there is a difference between Christ paying for sins and people accepting that fact (2 Co 5:14,15; 1 Jn 2:2).
Christ died for the sins of everyone (John 3:16; 2 Cor. 5:19; Heb. 2:9; 1 John 2:2). He did not limit His payment for sin (2 Cor. 5:14; 1 Tim. 2:6; 4:10; Titus 2:11; Rom. 5:6) but offered the gospel universally to all men (John 3:16; Acts 10:43; Rev. 22:17, etc.). People do not go to hell because they sinned; they end in a Christless eternity because they reject the One who paid for their sin.