even so must the Son of Man be lifted up;
that whoever believes may in Him have eternal life.
For God so loved the world
that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him
should not perish, but have eternal life.
God did not send the Son into the world
to condemn the world, but that the world
should be saved through Him.
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.
And 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.
For everyone who does evil hates the light,
and does not come to the light,
lest his deeds should be exposed.
But he who practices the truth comes to the light,
that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”
With such a grand display of such amazing love one might ask, “Why wouldn’t everyone jump on the band wagon?” This is the deal of deals. This is the free gift of a life time – of an eternal life time. Yet, while myriads accept the gift by faith, many mock it, scoff it, ignore it, disdain it, and refuse it. Why?
The last 3 verses of this text give a plain answer. “Light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil.” We sinners love our sin. We love the darkness in which we believe we can hide out with our sin. Loving our sin and the shadows which cover it, we want nothing to do with a light that will expose it. “Everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.”
We won’t be able to blame God for our lost condition if that is where we find ourselves on the last day. The fault is our own – all our own. We have worshipped our lusts as lord of our life. And that lustful love of darkness will be our ruin!
God has loved us. He has loved us to such a degree that He has sent Christ to die for our sins if only we will believe on Him. Clearly God is willing to save. Certainly He has sent light into the darkness. Sadly, many have loved the darkness and have therefore hated their only hope. “His blood will be on his own head, if he makes shipwreck of his soul. The blame will be at his own door, if he misses heaven. His eternal misery will be the result of his own choice. His destruction will be the work of his own hand. He loved darkness, and therefore darkness must be his everlasting portion. He would not come to Christ, and therefore he could not have life.” (Ryle)
Dear reader, what do we love? Darkness or light? Are we fearful of the exposing light of the gospel or do we long for it to search us and chase out our darkness? “He who practices truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”
Here are the final words of Christ’s sermon preached to Nicodemus. Here we have most clearly heard Christ Himself expound the gospel. He has held forth the necessity of a new birth – “you must be born again.” He has foretold the ordained death of Himself as the only atoning sacrifice for sinners – “so must the Son of Man be lifted up.” He has trumpeted the need for justifying faith as the only way to heaven – “whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” “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.” Christ has kicked out from under us the crutch of any excuse for our unbelief – “Light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil.”
Do we believe? Do we love the light? Are we resting in Christ alone and living as those who are resting in Him? Let us look upon Him, believe on Him, live for Him, and die in Him knowing that we will go to Him! O Lord, increase our faith and search our hearts, test our ways, chase out the shadows that we still long to lurk in. Let us love Your light for in it there is life. In it and in no place else there is life. Life eternal!
Believing, by grace,