John 1:9 ESV
The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.
Light to Everyone
The true light that this is speaking of is Jesus Christ, God the Son, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God the Father sent his Son into the world via having him be born as a baby from the womb of a human mother, but conceived of the Holy Spirit. So, when Jesus walked the face of this earth, he was fully God yet fully man, except that he never sinned, although he was tempted in like manner as we are tempted.
The reason that God the Father sent his Son Jesus Christ into the world was to save us from our sins. For, since the fall of Adam in the Garden of Eden, all of humankind has been born into sin, with sin natures, separate from God, and unable, in themselves, to be acceptable to God or to be righteous in his sight. For sin is what separates us from God, so we needed a solution to that problem if we were going to be united in heart and mind with our God (See: Rom. 3:23; Rom. 6:23; Rom. 5:12-19; 1 Co. 15:21-22, 42-49).
Jesus in the World
When Jesus walked this earth, during his years of ministry, in particular, he healed the sick and afflicted, raised the dead, delivered people from demons, fed the hungry, and he comforted the sorrowful. He also gave sight to the blind and opened ears that were deaf, both physically and spiritually.
He also preached repentance for the salvation of sin and the hope of eternal life with God. And repentance, in this context, has to do with leaving our lives of sin behind us, forsaking our idols, and turning to follow Jesus Christ with our lives in obedience to his commands and in surrender to his will. He, as well, taught that we must die with him to sin, and live with him to righteousness, if we want to live with him for eternity (See: Jn. 6:35-66).
He said that if we want to come after him, to be his disciples, that we must deny self and daily take up our cross and follow him, i.e. daily we must deny self and die to sin. He also said that if we try to save (hold on to) our lives (of living to sin and self), we will lose them for eternity. But, if we lose our lives for his sake, i.e. if we die with him to sin, then we will have eternal life (Lu. 9:23-25; cf. Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:19-21).
For this is why Jesus came, and it is why he died for our sins, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24; Rom. 6:1-23; 2 Co. 5:15).
John 1:10-11 ESV
He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.
Yet the World
Jesus Christ is the Son of God, but he is also God, who was with God from the beginning, and he is also our creator. And, scripture teaches that all humankind has had God and his divine nature revealed to them through his created works, so that we are without excuse (See: Rom. 1:18-32).
So, it isn’t that the people of the world do not know about God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – but that they suppress the truth that they know. And, they do not honor him as God or give him thanks, but they allow darkness to overcome them, instead, so that the eyes of their hearts are blinded to the truth. And, thus, they exchange the glory of God for what is mortal.
And, so God turns them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity to do what ought not to be done, because they exchange the truth of God for a lie, and they worship and serve the creature rather than the creator.
His Own People
Jesus’ own people of that day were the Jews. Today they are those who have trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of their lives, so they are Christians. And, yet so many who call themselves Christians are doing exactly what the Jews did to Jesus in his day, and they are doing exactly, too, what is described for us in Romans 1 concerning those who knew about God through his created works, but who exchanged the truth for a lie.
So many people today, especially in America, who profess the name of Jesus are not much different than the people of the world who make no profession of Jesus Christ at all. They don’t honor God for the holy God that he is, but it is as though they think that God works for us, rather than we work for him and that he is our boss, not the other way around.
So many of them, too, are not truly thankful to God for all that he has done for us, and for all that he has provided for us. They may or they may not give him thanks with their lips, but by their lifestyles they deny him and they do not show that they are truly thankful for all that he has done for us and provided for us. And, we all need to guard our hearts against this attitude.
For, if we are truly thankful to the Lord for saving us from our sins, and for giving us new lives in him, to be lived to his righteousness and for his glory, no longer conformed to the ways of this world, then we would live that way, wouldn’t we? We would live what we say we believe.
Suppressing the Truth
Yet, so many who profess the name of Jesus have suppressed the truth that they know and have truly exchanged the truth for a lie, and are now worshiping what is created rather than worshiping the creator, Jesus Christ.
For, the truth says that in order to come to Jesus Christ we must deny self and take up our cross daily and follow (obey) Jesus, and that we must leave our old lives of sin behind us and we must surrender our lives to Jesus Christ. We must no longer live in slavery (addiction) to sin, for Jesus set us free from our bondage to sin, but we must now conduct our lives according to the Spirit of God, and daily we must be putting sin to death.
Yet this is the truth that so many Christians today are suppressing. For, they are exchanging that truth for a lie which says that all they have to do is “believe” in Jesus and they have eternal life with God. And, that is true, but it must be understood in light of all that the New Testament teaches us on what it means to believe in Jesus. For, many have reduced belief to a one-time event or to some prayer once said or to some intellectual assent to who Jesus is and was and to the fact that he died on a cross for our sins.
But, that is not all there is to belief in Jesus. For one, the word is believing, i.e. it is present tense, not past tense. For, our salvation is a process of a lifetime, i.e. we are saved (past), we are being saved (present) and we will be saved (future) when Jesus Christ returns and our salvation is complete. And, belief is also of God, and is divinely persuaded as to God’s righteousness and holiness, and of the necessity that we must walk in that righteousness and holiness in the power of God’s Spirit within us.
Plus, the New Testament says over and over again that if we live to sin we will die in our sins, but if we live to righteousness, we will have eternal life with God. For, we will reap what we sow. The one who sows to please the flesh, from the flesh will reap decay (death). But, the one who sows to please the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life (Gal. 6:7-8).
So, we must know the truth, retain the truth, believe the truth and then live the truth. For so many Christians are now living the lie instead, and they are so worldly, and Jesus is barely on their radar, if it all. Some of them surely have never truly believed in Jesus, but we must remember here that belief is not past tense. Belief is present tense and it is continuous and ongoing and persevering and persistent and it endures to the end of time.
John 1:12-13 ESV
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
Again, so many people have this idea that “receiving” Jesus is some words we say in a prayer one time in our lives, and then we are good to go. And, coupled with that they believe that “believing” in Jesus is also something we do once. But, that can often be more of a spiritual ritual of some kind rather than the choice of a lifetime and of a radical change in their lifestyles.
So, we don’t become children of God merely by praying a prayer or making some decision if when we make that decision or we pray that prayer we are also not dying with Christ to sin and choosing to live with him the rest of our lives to him and to his righteousness. For, to receive Jesus is to receive (accept) all of him – his divine character and will for our lives, his holiness and righteousness as applied to our daily lives, his purity, his honesty, and his faithfulness, too, imparted to us and lived out through us day by day.
“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God” (Rom. 8:14).
So, if we want to be born of God, we need to submit to God and we need to make Jesus Christ our Lord (owner-master) and realize that he is the boss of our lives, not us, for he bought us back for God with his blood, so our lives are no longer our own, but we are now his possession for his honor, praise and glory.
And, since he requires death to sin and living to righteousness, and leaving our lives of sin behind us to follow (obey) him, then that is what we must do if we want to have salvation from sin and have heaven as our eternal home.
Basically, we have to see our lives as no longer ours, and we need to see Jesus as truly boss of our lives, and then we need to allow him to lead us and guide us each day in the way he has for us, rather than us still trying to rule our own lives and trying to fit Jesus into our lifestyles, for he won’t fit.