St. John's Gospel (07) - Why People Turn Away
The Word Manifest in St. John’s Gospel (07) - Why People Turn Away
John 3 - “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20 “For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 “But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”
Review - Jesus explains to Nicodemus that to “see” the kingdom you must have new life from above (i.g., begotten of God). This was not “new revelation” (e.g., Ezek. 36:26, Jer. 31:33, Is. 59:19ff). Entering the new kingdom age is explained: a) The cross as the basis of our kingdom acceptance (v15); b) God’s love is the motivation for kingdom salvation (v16); c) God’s kingdom purpose is that the world might be saved (v17).
Trust in the goodness of God’s purposes v17 - God’s action in sending Christ was “that the world might be saved through Him.” God’s purpose and intention is expressed as world salvation (1Jn 2). Like many kingdom promises, this can only be fulfilled progressively. Like the mustard seed, the leaven, the growth of the waters covering the sea and entrance of nations into the new Jerusalem, this is best understood as the cumulative outcome of all salvation history. Do you believe that God is good and that good will be ultimately seen in the world?
Know the basis for God’s judgment vv18 - If this is God’s purpose, then who is to be condemned? Those who believe are not condemned, but those who don’t believe have been judged already. Drawing upon the previous type (brazen serpent v14), humanity has been bitten by the red winged-serpent/dragons set loose on the ungrateful grumbling complainers. They are already poisoned/condemned. Salvation is only in seeing the cross and beholding your sin as it is. Release from condemnation is believing in the name of the unique Son, Jesus. Have you been released from condemnation by looking at the cross?
Examine the cause of rejecting Christ vv19-21 - Finally in this passage, there is an explanation of both the motivation of rejecting Christ and coming to Him. Men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. They do not want cherished evil to be exposed. On the other hand, those who “do” (poieo) truth, come to the Light. Their deeds have been “made in” or accomplished by God. Are you drawing nearer to Christ or turning away from Him? If you are secretly or publicly rejecting Christ, it is because you are doing evil and you do not want this to be exposed. Face this fact and you may be saved, deny it, and your heart will grow harder and less receptive to the Light. Do you love darkness or the light of Christ?
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more