Hating the Light; Loving the Darkness

Video Talk

John 3:16-21 ESV

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 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. 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.”

Many people have built an entire doctrine of salvation just from a surface read of John 3:16 absent of its context and absent of understanding what it means to be believing in Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior of their lives. For this is not about a one-time belief in Jesus that secures you forgiveness of sins and heaven as your eternal destiny, regardless of how you live your life on this earth. The verb tense is rendered “believing,” which is continuous and ongoing, and if it is not, then it is not God-given belief which saves.

Also the word “believing” (or faith) is authored and perfected by Jesus Christ, and so it comes from God (Hebrews 12:1-2), and it is gifted to us by God, and it is not of our own doing (Ephesians 2:8-10). And we can’t even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless God the Father draws us to Christ (John 6:44). And the word “faith” means to be persuaded. And since the faith comes from God, he is the one persuading us. And what is he persuading us? He is persuading us as to his holiness and righteousness, and of our sinfulness, and of our need to repent of our sins and to obey our Lord.

So, we can’t just say we believe in Jesus, that he died on that cross to save us from our sins, and that he rose from the dead. But by faith in him we must be crucified with Christ in death to sin and be raised with him to walk in newness of life in him, not like our old lives, but now in walks of holiness and righteousness, in obedience to our Lord, for this is what Jesus taught, and it is what his New Testament apostles taught. For if we don’t, but we keep on in making sin our practice, then we will not have eternal life.

And yes, when Jesus came to the earth the first time, it was to save us from our sins, not to condemn us. That will take place at his second coming, when he returns to judge all of us on the earth according to our works and he takes his faithful ones to be with him for eternity. But this does not mean he did not speak words of judgment. He did. For he said that not everyone who says to him, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one DOING the will of God the Father in heaven (Matthew 7:21-23).

And then when we read this section about whoever believes is not condemned but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in Jesus. Again, we must look at what that word “believe” means, both in context, as defined by God and Scripture, and as defined by verb tense, because this is an ongoing faith that must still be present and active when our Lord returns, and this faith involves dying daily with Christ to sin and walking daily in obedience to his commands (Luke 9:23-26).

And then this whole next section gives us a clear picture of those of genuine faith and those not of genuine faith which saves. For if you are still holding on to your sin and you love the darkness and you don’t want to come into the light, then your faith is not saving faith, but fleshly. But if your faith is genuine, then you love the light (truth, righteousness, godliness), and you no longer love the darkness, and so you want to obey the Lord, and so you desire to live a godly and holy life to the praise and glory of God.

[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

He Lifted Our Burdens

An Original Work / February 15, 2014
Based off Isaiah 9:2-7

People walk in darkness.
They abide in their sin.
It has power o’er them.
True belief escapes them.

Jesus Christ came to save them.
He gave His life up for them;
Crucified; died for our sin,
So we might be forgiven,
And have life up in heaven.

Many come to know Him.
God’s love now o’erflows them.
They rejoice in vict’ry.
Their sin is but hist’ry.

We were once bound in slav’ry.
Jesus lifted our burdens;
Set us now free from Satan,
So we now walk in freedom.
Sin has no more dominion.

Praise be to our Savior!
He showed us His favor.
He took all our burdens;
Cast them all upon Him.

He is our mediator;
The Light which shines in darkness.
Counselor in our troubles;
He gives peace now in our hearts;
Joy which is everlasting.

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