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.”
So they said to him, “Who are you?”
Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning. I have much to say about you and much to judge, but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.” (John 8:23-26, ESV)
There is much more to the universe than what men can grasp with their sensations and investigations, and they are mistaken in even what they think they have attained. No matter how hard they try, they cannot arrive at reliable information about this natural world. Under rational analysis, even the most established theories of science and philosophy are shown to be groundless in a matter of seconds. In his divine wisdom, God has so arranged it so that men will never know him through human wisdom. But since God is the creator, sustainer, and controller of all things, not one thing in creation can be truly understood unless it is considered in relation to God. Men are from below, and are of this world. By human wisdom, they can understand nothing.
Jesus Christ was not of this world, but as God himself he came from above and dwelled among us as a man in all the fullness of his deity. He was not bound by the ignorance and sinfulness of the men of this world, but he brought knowledge and salvation with him. He was the one predicted by the prophets, but the Jews did not believe their own prophets, and they did not believe that Jesus was who he claimed to be. Jesus said, “Then you will die in your sins.” The best of their intellectual and ethical achievements were still the products of this world, and could never rise to the realm of God. Since men do not recognize Jesus Christ as the one who came from above, even their religions are the results of worthless speculations, derived from a natural development of their culture. The Christian faith is the only religion that came from God. It is not of this world.
Christians are those who believe that Jesus Christ is indeed who he claimed to be, the Messiah and Son of God who came from heaven, to bring us salvation and knowledge from another world. In receiving the mind of Christ and the fullness of his Spirit, Christians are elevated above the men from below, so that even as they remain in this world, they are not of the world.
Jesus said that he had much to say in judgment of the people. There was so much wrong with them, and so much about them that he could criticize and condemn. As we continue to mature in Christ, we gain his perspective on the world, and we also see more and more about non-Christians that we could criticize and condemn. Christ did not allow the people to despise him, but he declared that they were people from below, while he came from above. Likewise, we are to tell the people of our generation, “You are from below. We are not like you because Christ came from above and saved us, so that even as we are in this world, we are not of this world. If you remain stubborn and do not believe what he said about himself, you will die in your sins. Listen, unless you believe in Jesus Christ, things will not get better for you. You will die in your sins.”