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John 3:19-21

Reactions To The Light

John 3:19-21 HCSB "This, then, is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. (20) For everyone who practices wicked things hates the light and avoids it, so that his deeds may not be exposed. (21) But anyone who lives by the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be shown to be accomplished by God."

The light has two possible reactions: fear and scurrying away like cockroaches, or attraction to the light - like moths.

Evil people run from the light of God, they dwell in moral darkness, extinguishing even the light of conscience, and sometimes they even dwell in physical darkness as well, in graveyards and dim back alleys. “For everyone who practices wicked things hates the light and avoids it, so that his deeds may not be exposed.”

Evil reacts against exposure because exposure could bring judgment. Exposure could face them up to themselves, to their shame and to their punishment and to what they have done – which they hide even from themselves.

But quite ordinary people also avoid God’s light as well because they do not want to change. They do not want to be probed by God. They do not want certain matters brought up or certain attitudes changed, and they fear pastors and counsellors and all those who ask awkward questions about the state of their souls.

Living by the truth is very hard. It takes real courage to come into the light and talk face-to-face with the God who does not condemn us. There are two bible verses that are very important in this regard:

Romans 8:1-2 HCSB Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus, (2) because the Spirit's law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

1 John 4:16-18 HCSB And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him. (17) In this, love is perfected with us so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; for we are as He is in this world. (18) There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears has not reached perfection in love.

Romans 8:1,2 tells us that we are without condemnation if we are in Christ and 1 John 4;16-18 tells us that God is fundamentally love and that we do not need to be terrified that He will punish us on the day of judgment.

So when we face a miniature “Day of Judgment’ and look into our life and actions we can do so honestly, without fear of condemnation or punishment. We can look at our mess dispassionately as a surgeon looks at an open wound. We can let God deal with it, without feeling condemned, any more that we would by dealing with a medical problem.

The ability to confidently come into God’s light and let Him deal with our sin, and folly and pride and waywardness is at the very heart of sanctification:

1 John 1:4-10 HCSB We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. (5) Now this is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light, and there is absolutely no darkness in Him. (6) If we say, "We have fellowship with Him," and walk in darkness, we are lying and are not practicing the truth. (7) But if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. (8) If we say, "We have no sin," we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (9) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (10) If we say, "We have not sinned," we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

Denial “makes God a liar”, so covering up sin is a serious sin itself. We have to be open with God; we cannot have fellowship with Him, and run away from being open and honest with Him about our faults. We need to be honest with Him just as we would be honest with a good psychiatrist who was trying to cure us. If we ‘fess up – that is confess our sins, in an open and light-filled relationship with God, we do not condemned as we feared, instead we get the forgiveness and cleansing we truly need.

As we do this it becomes obvious that God is changing us. Our deeds are no longer our deeds - but become the deeds of God working in us. Our ministry becomes “wrought by God”. We stop battling to hold on to a crucified and dying old nature, instead we eagerly embrace the new nature, and the indwelling Christ.

In the light we are eager to say “these are not my works – they are the works of Jesus in me” and “these are not my fruits, they are the fruits of the Holy Spirit in my life”. We become connected to the vine and we abide in it and we bear much fruit. Honesty before God keeps us in the light and connected to the vine so do not fear little flock for God is gentle with the contrite in heart!

Psalms 34:18 MKJV Jehovah is near to the broken-hearted; and saves those who are of a contrite spirit.

Psalms 51:17 MKJV The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.

Isaiah 57:15-18 MKJV For so says the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity; whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, even with the contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. (16) For I will not contend forever, nor will I be always angry; for the spirit should fail before Me, and the souls I have made. (17) For the iniquity of his covetousness I was angry and struck him; I hid Myself, and was angry, and he went on turning away in the way of his heart. (18) I have seen his ways, and will heal him. I will also lead him, and restore comforts to him and to his mourners.

Isaiah 66:2 MKJV For all those My hand has made, and all those exist, says Jehovah. But to this one I will look, to the afflicted and contrite spirit, and the one who trembles at My Word.

Blessings in Jesus,

John Edmiston