“This, then, is the judgment” writes John, the beloved one. The judgment is that those who do evil avoid the Light because they hate the Light while those who do good seek out the Light because their deeds are done by God Himself. The Light exposes evil and those who do evil things hide from exposure.
And those who do good discover that those good things can not originate from themselves; instead the good emerges from the Light Himself.
19 “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.”
Jesus’ blood, shed to save the world, cleanses us from all sin – not from some, but from all. As we join with God where He dwells, “we too live and move in Light” and we have “fellowship between us.” Living within Light overshadows the darkness that surrounds us; therefore we are clean despite living in a dirty, fallen world. Our fellowship is with the Holy Spirit and with each other. We live and move in Love.
God dwells in light; if we too live and move in light, there is fellowship between us, and the blood of his Son Jesus Christ washes us clean from all sin.
Our battle is not against other people. “Our wrestling” is rather “against the rulers of this darkness” and “against the spirits of wickedness.” We battle “principalities and power” that exist “in high places.”
For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.
And our position in this battle is defensive.
Therefore take unto you the armour of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and to stand in all things perfect.
We are called to take up “the armour of God.” With this armor – the Word – we “resist in the evil day.” Our position in this battle is “to stand in all things perfect.”
And where is our perfection? In Christ. As we stand in Christ and in the Word of God, we overcome.
If a man wins the whole world yet impairs his own soul, Jesus rhetorically asks what profit — what gain — is that for the man?
“For what profiteth it to a man , if he win all the world, and do impairing to his [own] soul?”
Every day, people seek profits for the investments they make in time, in effort, in monies. Every day, some people win — what seems to them — “the whole world.” I’m not sure Jesus equates winning the whole world with loss of one’s soul. Rather, I think Jesus implies one’s focus ought not to be on getting “the whole world”, but on getting a relationship with Him so as to keep one’s soul.
William Shakespeare writes:
“This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.”
Perhaps it works the other way around as well. If you are not false with others, then doesn’t it follow that you are true to your own self — your own soul? Gaining things means very little if you are false with others and with your own self.
How are you true to your self? By recognizing your nature is to be connected to your creator. Without God, you are literally lost. You wander about like a blind man, thinking you can see when you can’t. Winning the whole world, in this instance, is pointless. You are like a child sitting in a dark corner in a dark room. You may own the whole room, but you’re still blind.
Paul encourages us with these words, “The night is nearly over;” “our salvation is nearer than when we first believed;” (Romans 13:11) and “the daylight is near.” Because the night is almost finished, and the light is dawning upon us, Paul exhorts us to “discard the deeds of darkness” since it is fading away and “put on the armor of light” since it is shining already and soon is to be in full glow. We are to “make no plans” to remain in darkness, but are to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 13:14) We are to actively avoid “quarreling and jealousy.” (Romans 13:13)
Notice Paul exhorts us to put off arguing which creates barriers between we who are brothers and sisters in the Lord. Paul says, “Let us no longer criticize one another. Instead decide never to put a stumbling block or pitfall in [our] brother’s way.” (Romans 14:13) “Accept anyone who is weak in faith, but don’t argue about doubtful issues.” (Romans 14:1) “Who are [we] to criticize another’s household slave? Before his own Lord he stands or falls. And he will stand. For the Lord is able to make him stand.” (Romans 14:4)
Therefore, Paul encourages to be accepting of one another in Christ for we are all members of the same body, who is our Lord.
The second great commandment and the one Jesus gives us is “that we should love one another.” (1 John 3:11) “Whoever does not love abides in death” rather than in life. (1 John 3:14) And if we hate one another, then we are become as murderers, “and you know no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” (1 John 3:15) Simply, the author is telling us that hatred leads to eternal death while love leads to eternal life.
The first murderer, Cain, murders his own brother in a fit of jealous rage. “And why did he murder [Abel]? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous.” (1 John 3:12) And this is the judgment: the Light has come into the world, and people love the darkness rather than the Light because their works are 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 are carried out in God.” (John 3:19-21)
The author of 1 John actually warns us that “we should not be like Cain.” (1 John 3:12) If we become like Cain, then we are “not of God” for the “one who does not love his brother” can not be “born of God” (1 John 3:10,9)
Yet, “whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and He knows everything.” (1 John 3:20) “Little children, let us not love in word or talk, but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3:18) Let us come to the Light so that our “works are carried out in God.” (John 3:21)
What is a lamp to my feet? What is a light to my path? The Word of God, sings the psalmist.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1: 1 – 5)
The Word shines in the darkness, and darkness is unable to overcome it.
Paul exhorts us to “hold fast to the Word.” (1 Corinthians 15: 2) He tells us that we “shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the Word of life.” (Philippians 2: 15, 16)
And James commands us to “be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving [ourselves.]” (James 1: 22) He writes, “But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” (James 1: 25)
“The righteousness based on faith says…’The Word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.’ ” (Romans 10: 6, 8) The Word is a lamp to our feet, a light to our path. Hold fast to the Word of God.
We are “a people for His own possession.” God “calls [us] out of darkness into His marvelous light.” God creates us as “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation.”
Of course, this is how we start in the first place. God fashions humankind out of clay, and makes us in His image. From the beginning, we owe our existence to Him. At the beginning, something mysterious and evil happens; the image of God in us distorts and we are lost. We look to something else other than God; and we fall away into the darkness, into death.
Something mysterious and marvelous happens; “God calls [us[ out of darkness.” He makes a way with His own body and blood for us to become “a people for His own possession, a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation.”
“Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of His Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.” (Revelation 12: 10, NIV)
If we are in God, then our actions are of the Light, of God Himself. This is how we are able to come to and stand in the Light of the World. We have identified ourselves as belonging to that Light. Hence we no longer hide from the Light; we step into it so that our deeds are exposed as being not our own, but His. Our deeds are deeds of Light; of Goodness and do not emanate from us, but from the Son of God and from His Holy Spirit who is within us. For, from out of our hearts, come goodness and mercy, love and kindness, peace and holiness. And this, not of ourselves, but of God, lest any of us should suddenly be inclined to boast.
Those who remain in the darkness of hell, of sin — they hide from the Light for the Light of the world exposes all that does not belong to Him, all that stands outside of His Holy Spirit and His domain of influence. Those in the darkness do hide from the Light so that their deeds will not be exposed for what they are — rubbish, worthless acts, doomed deeds. These are destined to be burned up, to float away as ash on the winds of destruction.
Let us rejoice for “we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.” (Hebrews 10: 39, ESV)