John 3:17-18 ESV
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”
When Jesus came to the earth the first time, he did not come to condemn the world. He came to save the world. But he will come again, and when he does, he will come to condemn the world which rejected him as their Messiah, Lord and Christ (2 Tim 4:1; 2 Thes 2:8; Ac 10:42; 1 Pet 4:5).
But when it says here that he did not come to condemn the world, it is not saying that he did not speak words of condemnation or judgment. He did! And that is why his enemies put him to death on a cross, because he told them things they didn’t want to hear about their own sinful conditions.
And it wasn’t just to the Pharisees, Sadducees, priests, scribes, and teachers of the law that he spoke words of judgment and condemnation. He spoke such words to the crowds of people who were following him, too, which is why many of his followers stopped following him because they said his words were too hard (Jn 6:25-71).
So, don’t get this idea that Jesus didn’t warn of judgment or that he won’t judge. He did and he will. His messages were not light and fluffy. His messages did not tickle itching ears. They were hard truths which many rejected because he taught that there was a cost to following him.
For he taught that if we want to come after him that we must deny self, die daily to sin, and follow him in obedience. He wasn’t looking for part-time disciples. He was looking for people who would be fully committed to him, no looking back (Lu 9:23-26, 61-62; Lu 14:25-33; Matt 10:34-39).
So, when this speaks of those who believe or who don’t believe in Jesus, this is not some mere acknowledgement of him or some mere verbal confession of him. Jesus demanded all or none. We are either with him or we are against him. It doesn’t mean we are perfect, but that we are moving with him in a forward direction, that we are growing in him, and that we are following him and we are no longer living for our sinful flesh (Rom 8:1-17).
In the Old Testament the Lord regarded disobedience (habitual) as unbelief. And in the New Testament, it is the same (Rom 8:1-17; Gal 5:16-21).
John 3:19-20 ESV
“And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.”
Jesus is the light. Jesus is truth. The light is truth. The truth is God’s word. Jesus is the Word. Jesus is God. Jesus came into the world, and his truth came into the world. The light is also righteousness, and Jesus is righteous.
Darkness is the absence of light. It is the absence of Jesus Christ, his truth, and his righteousness. Darkness is wickedness, evil, idolatry, adultery, hatred, murder, stealing, lying, cheating, and the like. It is the opposite of light, truth, and righteousness. And it is a lie of Satan.
The judgment here is that human beings (not all of them) love (prefer) the darkness (their sins) rather than the light (Jesus, truth, righteousness) because their deeds (actions, behaviors) are evil and they don’t want to give up their sinful behaviors.
The sad reality here is that many who prefer their sins to following Jesus Christ with their lives claim to have faith in Jesus Christ. Some of them are convinced their sins no longer matter to God and others have this false idea that God no longer requires repentance, obedience, or submission to Him.
Whatever their justification for continuing in their sins and for not coming into the light, they are believing the lies of Satan, and it will not end well for them, for God calls that unbelief. And he will judge their sins even if they have convinced themselves that he won’t.
[Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; 1 Co 6:9-10; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; 2 Co 5:10]
John 3:21 ESV
“But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
Whoever does what is true, what is of God, what is righteous and holy in God’s sight, in the power of God’s Spirit living within them comes into the light. Whoever dies with Christ to sin, is now free from slavery to sin, by God’s grace, and who walks according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh comes to the light (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24).
But this is not works-based salvation. Not one of us can be righteous in God’s sight in our own flesh of our own works. We can do nothing to earn or to deserve our own salvation. But our salvation is not absent of works. They are just the works of God which he prepared in advance that we should walk in them (Eph 2:8-10; Tit 2:11-14; Eph 4:17-24; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17).
But we don’t do these in our own flesh. We can’t! We are God’s workmanship. We obey him only in his power and strength as we surrender our lives to him and as we yield to him the control over our own lives. So, he gets all the glory and praise for what good is accomplished in our lives.
So, what’s the bottom line here? It is that Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us. Coming to faith in Jesus Christ means giving our lives to him, not holding on to them (Lu 9:23-26; 1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15, 21; 1 Co 6:19-20; Rom 12:1-2).
Jesus didn’t die on that cross just to forgive us our sins, but he died to deliver us from our slavery (addiction) to sin so that we might become slaves of God and of his righteousness (Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24). And if we don’t die with him to sin and live to his righteousness, but we continue living in our sin, we don’t have eternal life with God (Gal 5:16-21).
So, please know the truth, believe the truth, and live the truth in the power of God for it is the truth which will set you free from your life of bondage to sin and will free you to live holy and godly lives, pleasing to God.
The Lord’s Anointed
An Original Work / December 16, 2011
Based off Isaiah 61
The Spirit of the Sov’reign Lord on me;
Anointed to preach the Good News;
Sent me to bind up the brokenhearted;
Proclaim freedom for the captives.
He sent me to preach release for pris’ners
Who are walking in sin’s darkness;
Proclaim God’s grace to all men who’ll listen;
And tell them about God’s judgments;
Comfort all who mourn;
Give crowns of beauty;
Oil of gladness and thanksgiving.
They will be called oaks of God’s righteousness,
A planting of our Savior, God,
For the display of our Lord’s splendor, and
They will rebuild God’s holy church.
God will renew them, and will restore them,
And you’ll be called priests of the Lord.
You will be ministers of our God, and
You will rejoice in salvation.
The Lord loves justice;
He is faithful to
Reward those who are seeking Him.
I delight greatly in the Lord;
My soul rejoices in my Savior, God.
He has clothed me with His salvation,
And in a robe of His righteousness.
He has given me priestly garments to wear,
As the bride of Jesus Christ.
As the garden of our Lord and Savior,
He causes us to grow in Him.
He makes righteousness,
Praise, and thanksgiving
Spring up before all the nations.