John 3:19-21 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. 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.”
The Light vs the darkness
The Light is Jesus Christ, God the Son, who came into the world to save sinners. The light is also truth and righteousness, and it is the word of God, and it is the gospel of our salvation from sin. Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through him, and no one comes to faith in Jesus Christ unless drawn to Christ by God the Father.
Even though Jesus Christ came into the world to save us from our sins, and thus he died on a cross to deliver us from our slavery to sin, many people reject him and his plan of salvation from sin because they prefer to remain in the darkness in their sins. And some of them are among those who actually profess faith in Jesus Christ, too.
And that is largely because so many people today are listening to and they are following a false half-truth (lie) gospel which is an adulterated, altered, and diluted gospel, which is for the purpose to make “the gospel” more acceptable to human flesh and to the people of the world. So, they don’t see a connection between faith in Jesus Christ and the necessity for holy living.
And this is because they are being taught that they can believe in Jesus, and that they can have their sins forgiven and have heaven guaranteed them when they die, but that they don’t have to repent of their sins, or walk in obedience to the Lord, or submit to Christ as Lord. For, they are being persuaded that submission, obedience and repentance are “works-based salvation,” which is to be ignored.
Lovers of Darkness
But the Scriptures do not support that adulterated and altered gospel message which permits its adherents to continue living in habitual, deliberate, and premeditated sin against God and against other humans. For, Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, not so we can continue in sin unhindered.
And listen to what this passage in John 3 says. People love the darkness rather than the light, why? Because their works (DEEDS) are evil. For everyone who DOES wicked things hates the light. So, those who make sin their practice hate Jesus. They hate his gospel. They hate righteousness and godliness. And they hate the truth, and they prefer the lie.
Why? Because the truth tells them that they must deny self and die daily with Christ to sin and that they must walk in obedience to the Lord’s commands and that they must walk in the fear of the Lord and honor him, revere him, worship, and obey him, and that messes with their lives.
But the lie tells them that “faith” in Jesus merely acknowledges what Jesus did for us, and it accepts his forgiveness of sins, and now they are promised that they won’t be punished for their sins, that God can’t even see when they sin anymore, and that heaven is their eternal destiny regardless of how they live their lives from this moment forward.
Lovers of Light
So, when this says here that “whoever does what is true comes to the light,” this is not teaching works-based salvation. It is not saying that we are first those who live by the truth and therefore we come to the light, to Jesus Christ.
But it is saying that those who come to the light are not those who love the darkness. So, if someone says he believes in Jesus, and that Jesus is his Lord, but he still loves the darkness, and he is still walking in that darkness, making sin his practice, then he is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
But if someone claims to believe in Jesus, in order for that faith to be genuine God-given faith, they have to forsake the darkness and they have to come into the light, and they have to walk in obedience to the Lord in doing what he says, so they are those who are doing, in practice, what is true.
And this passage in John 3 is not the only place in the Scriptures which describes true faith vs false faith in this way. Paul and the other apostles also taught this. Paul taught that if we walk in sin, making sin our practice, that we will not inherit eternal life, but we will die in our sins.
He said we are slaves of the one we obey. If it be sin, it ends in death, but if it be obedience, it leads to righteousness, sanctification, and to eternal life. He said, too, that if our minds are set on the things of the flesh, it results in death, but if our minds are set on the Spirit, it is life and peace. And he said if sin is what we practice that we will not inherit eternal life with God.
So, please take this to heart, and please believe what it says. For many people are thinking that their sins are forgiven, and that heaven is their eternal destiny based on an emotional decision they made to accept God’s forgiveness of their sins, but absent of humility, submission, repentance, and obedience to our Lord.
But if we love God, we will do what he says, for love is not an emotion, it is not an experience, but love for God is what we do in heart response to what he did for us on that cross in putting our sin to death so that we would no longer be enslaved to or under the control of sin, but so we would now be slaves to God and to his righteousness and under Holy Spirit control.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 3:4-10]
By Ann Aschauer
Well, some folks think that “love” means emotion,
So it comes and goes their whole life through.
Some folks never know that when the magic goes,
If you keep on lovin’, it’ll come back to you.
I was so afraid we’d lose the special feeling,
And someday we’d find our love wasn’t true,
But then God opened up my eyes and made me realize,
Love is not what you feel, it’s what you do.
And so we stood side by side at the altar,
As our wills and God’s power combined.
With His help I could say, “I do love you today,
And I will for a long, long time.”
c 1987 Ann Aschauer
Used by permission