Behind all of one’s evil deeds stands one’s disbelief in Christ and the rejection of Christ’s light or revelation.

Posted by admin on 18 November 2018 in John |

John 3:17 - 21

17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

After John 3:1-16, Jesus continued to explain to Nicodemus in John 3:17-21.

See v17.

17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

By the Son’s incarnation, death and resurrection, Jesus can save the world if it believes, but that means that part of the world may and will reject the Son’s accomplishments and thus will be condemned. [2]

 

See v18.

18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

 

The idea expressed here is that the one who chooses to disbelieve Jesus has already been judged and received the sentence of condemnation. Jesus thus divided humanity into two groups when he came (or was sent) into the world in accord with their response to him; those who are being saved and those who have been condemned. This probably is John’s way of confronting unbelievers with the harsh realities that face them—not only will they be condemned, they already have been condemned. [2]

 

There is in John a present and a future condemnation, as well as a present and a future element or aspect of salvation. [2]

 

See v19.

19 This is the verdict: light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.

 

Verse 19 states the cause or grounds of judgment: the light has come into the world—this light is Jesus (John 8:12) and the light came at his incarnation—but many persons have loved darkness instead of light. One’s faith produces one’s personal actions. What one believes, one becomes and does. [2]

 

See v20.

20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.

 

Those who practice evil works love darkness, under the cover of which their evil deeds are done; they, therefore, reject the light because they do not wish their evil deeds to be exposed, Behind all of one’s evil deeds stands one’s disbelief in Christ and the rejection of Christ’s light or revelation. The unbeliever stays as far from Christ as he/she can, because Christ’s standards of truth, by contrast, will brand the unbeliever’s deeds for what they are. [2]

 

See v21.

21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

On the other hand, the one who lives by the truth comes readily to the light. “To do the truth” or “to live by the truth” reproduces the Old Testament’s אמת עשׂה (’emeth ‘asah) which originally meant “to demonstrate one’s faithfulness,” and then came to mean “to act faithfully” or “to act uprightly.” Notice the close connection between doing and being: one’s deeds spring from what one believes. This is expressed by Jesus in slightly different language, though the concepts are the same, in Matt 12:34, “Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks” [2]

 

Finally, I share a great illustration of John 3:16 I found in [3]:

God The greatest Lover
so loved The greatest degree
the world The greatest company
that he gave The greatest act
his one and only Son The greatest gift
that whoever The greatest opportunity
believes The greatest simplicity
in him The greatest attraction
shall not perish The greatest promise
but The greatest difference
have The greatest certainty
eternal life The greatest possession

 

References

[1] The Holy Bible: New International Version (Anglicised Edition, 2011). (2011). (Revised and updated edition., Jn 3:16–21). London: Hodder & Stoughton.

[2] Bryant, B. H., & Krause, M. S. (1998). John (Jn 3:17–21). Joplin, MO: College Press Pub. Co.

[3] Hughes, R. K. (1999). John: that you may believe (p. 86). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

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