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.”
Who is the Light who came into the world? Jesus Christ is that Light. But the light is also the truth, and it is righteousness, and it is divine revelation, the word of God, the gospel of our salvation. And why did Jesus come into the world? To save sinners. How? He was crucified on a cross in the putting to death our sins so that we, by faith in him, might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, in his power and strength.
So, when this says that people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works (deeds, actions, behaviors) were evil, it means that they chose their sin over God. They loved their sin rather than Jesus Christ, and rather than the truth and righteousness, and rather than the gospel of our salvation which frees us from our slavery to sin so that we can live holy lives. They preferred their sin to genuine faith in Jesus Christ.
And those who hold on to and who prefer their sin to loving God and to serving Jesus Christ with their lives will also prefer their sin to loving other humans, too. For when they sin, they don’t usually sin only to themselves, but they sin against someone, or else others are impacted by their sinful lifestyles. And so when they prefer holding on to their sin they are preferring to not love other humans, too, but to treat them with hate.
Half-Truth False Grace Gospel
And this, too, is why so many people are flocking to these charlatans and/or to the naive who are teaching them a half-truth gospel, for it makes no requirements for genuine and long-lasting repentance, nor for walks of obedience to the Lord, nor for submission to him as Lord (Owner-Master) of our lives. Rather it teaches them that they can “believe” (not defined) in Jesus, have their sins forgiven, and be guaranteed heaven as their eternal destiny, regardless of how they live their lives on this earth.
This way they feel as though they have believed in Jesus and that their sins are now all covered and that heaven is their destiny and so they now have a stamp of approval to continue in deliberate and habitual sin only now without conscience or guilt or remorse. For they believe all their sins are covered by the blood of Christ and thus they will never be judged for their sins, not even the ones they have not yet committed.
But sadly, they are mistaken. For the Scriptures teach that if we walk in sin, if sin is what we practice, i.e. if we continue in deliberate and habitual sin that we will not inherit the kingdom of heaven no matter what profession of faith we may have made with our lips. And if we do not obey the Lord and if we do not make righteousness and godly living our practice, we will die in our sins. Heaven will not be our eternal destiny.
Coming Into the Light
But thank the Lord Jesus, not everyone hates the light and thus refuses to come into the light. Although they may be few in number by comparison to the majority who have chosen the broad road to destruction, many people throughout the world have chosen to walk the narrow road that leads to eternal life. They have chosen to forsake their lives of sin to follow Jesus in obedience to his ways and they are now living holy and godly lives.
And many of them, too, are being persecuted by those who hate the light, because those who hate the light also hate those who have come into the light. And so those who are walking in the light, and no longer in the darkness, are facing opposition from those still walking in the darkness. But Jesus said that if we follow him that we will be treated like he was, so it should not surprise us when we are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.
But not one of us who is following Jesus with our lives can take credit for what God is doing in our lives. It is only by the grace of God that any of us can be delivered from our slavery to sin and walk in holiness and righteousness and in obedience to our Lord. For the grace of God, which brings salvation, instructs (trains) us to renounce (say “No” to) ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives.
[Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Rom 12:1-2; Col 3:5-10; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-11; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; 2 Pet 1:1; Rom 8:24; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 1:18; Ac 26:18]
By John Newton
Amazing Grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found
Was blind, but now I see.
‘Twas Grace that taught my heart to fear,
And Grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils, and snares
I have already come.
‘Tis Grace hath brought me safe thus far
And Grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me.
His Word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.
And when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall possess within the veil
A life of joy and peace.
When we’ve been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.
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