The Bible says in John chapter 3 verses 19-21, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”
There is a preacher I know that explains this passage of scripture as the psychology of salvation. The ultimate reason a person will or will not repent of their sins. It is very simple. Those who want to do what is right will put their faith in Jesus Christ, and those who want to do evil things will not put their faith in Jesus Christ. This is one of the basic and most important concepts for you to understand, especially if you want to be effective in the spreading of the gospel. As a Christian your primary and most important work is the sharing of the gospel through word and deed. Jesus said to seek and ye shall find. Do you desire to share the good news of Christ risen from the dead? Then as you go through your daily path of life look for those who in their hearts are seeking the truth and who want to do what is right. Do not cast your pearls before swine.
A person who wants to do what is right is also an honest person. An honest person will admit to himself and to God all the sins which he has done. There is no righteousness in a lie. And Jesus said in John chapter 14 verse 6, “I am the way the truth and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Jesus is truth incarnate. And the Word of God is Jesus Christ in written form. Therefore if you’re a person who desires to do what is right and who is honest, you will believe the truth when it is given to you. And therefore you will believe the Word of God, and you will believe in Jesus Christ.
The Bible says in John
chapter 3 verses 22-27, “After these things came
Jesus and His disciples into the
Jesus had just finished one of His great teachings on the doctrine of salvation. Although Nicodemus probably did not realize the great opportunity he had been given to stand before the very Christ, and although he certainly did not realize that these very words spoken to him would be kept for me and for you to hear, you and I do not have to make that mistake. Jesus said that until the time of the gentiles be fulfilled the gospel of repentance will be preached throughout the entire earth. Therefore we can be certain the opportunity for salvation is here to be taken by anyone if one only repents. The mercies of the Lord are new every morning. Every day of your life is an opportunity to repent of your sins and turn to Jesus Christ for salvation.
Examine the world around you, search your own heart, look at the lives of other human beings and you will wind that there are few indeed who ever understand or grow to appreciate the great and glorious gospel of Jesus Christ. It seems apparent here in verses 22-26 that the disciples of John did not understand salvation as they should have either.
When Jesus when into
Just as in the Old Testament where the Jews and the priests had ceremonial washings, in New Testament times we were given the symbolic ceremony of baptism. Both the ceremonial washings and the baptism of the New Testament are physical illustrations given by God to teach spiritual truths. They illustrate one of the most important results of being forgiven of your sins, beings cleansed in your soul. Baptism is a physical symbol which helps us in our minds to understand the cleansing of our souls from the filth of sin when we repent of our sins to Jesus Christ.
Mark chapter 16 and verse 16 says, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” It’s not being baptized that saves you but putting your faith in Christ. That is why the Bible says he that believeth not shall be damned. The Bible does not say, he that is not baptized shall be damned. The Bible also says in Galatians chapter 5 verse 6, “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; But faith which worketh by love.” In this particular verse you could replace the word circumcision or uncircumcison with the word baptism or even fasting. It’s a very simple idea. It’s not physical works that do anything for you spiritually but faith in Jesus Christ. That is why the Bible says in Hebrews chapter 11 verse 6, “But without faith it is impossible to please God, for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” It is faith and faith alone that saves, and faith and faith alone that will bring you close to God. Why? Because it’s all about the grace of God and not your works. You are just a sinner.
One of the most beautiful stories in the Bible that illustrates the cleansing found in Christ is the story of Naman the leper. The Bible says in II Kings chapter 5 verse 14 speaking of Naman, “Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.” Naman dipped into the river 7 times. He was washed thoroughly and instantly cleansed and restored physically from his rotten flesh of leprosy. Any human being, male or female, black or white, young or old, that repents of his sins and trusts in Jesus Christ is instantly forgiven and restored spiritually. Sin is a filth that covers the soul like leprosy and eats away at our being until there is nothing inside but a dark and empty chasm. When God forgives a person of his sins, He thoroughly washes away the stains and the filth of sin. The blood of Jesus Christ is a river flowing deep and wide, which has the power to restore any soul from the sin which has decayed it. A soul that is cleansed of its sins will find a fresh and new purpose to life. A life that is without the guilt and stains of sin will not be prevented from enjoy the blessings of life that God wants all humans to experience. You will never have the ability to enjoy and value each moment of time, or the ability to be satisfied in the relationships that you have, or the satisfaction in all that you desire and strive to accomplish until you first surrender your heart to Jesus Christ.
We know that the disciples of John did not understand salvation as they should have because they looked at the ministry of Jesus and saw it as competition. It is very common for organizations and men to compete against each other. Businesses compete for customers, governments compete for power, and celebrities compete for fame. Even churches and religious organizations compete against each other. Very often the competition that occurs between churches is simply because the leaders of those particular organizations are filled with pride and oppose each other’s differences in tradition, traditions that are not taught in the Word of God. Life is a spiritual contest. The forces of light against the forces of darkness, and you are either on the side of God or the side of the devil. Be careful who you oppose, If you oppose anyone who is a true believer in Jesus Christ because of competitiveness or pride, or differences in traditions, you may very well be opposing the will of God. John did not see Jesus’ ministry as competition but rather he understood the concept of teamwork and the purpose behind the ministry that God had given him.
The Bible says in John chapter 3 verse 27, “John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.” The basic truth behind this teaching is the idea of salvation. Salvation is something God freely offers you through His Son Jesus Christ. It is not by your own works or by the works of other men but by God alone. The Bible says in James chapter 1 verse 17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
The opportunities God gives you to serve Him, whatever ministry you have is an opportunity given by God and should glorify Him, not you. All praise belongs to God. Man should not be praised. If you understand the basic truths about salvation then you will not oppose other Christians just because they do not agree with you on every little issue. Also as you grow in Christ you will be able to say successfully just as John the Baptist does here in a few verses farther into the chapter, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” Salvation is everything in the Christian life. In my heart I should always be thankful to God for forgiving me of my sins, and in my mind I should be thinking about this wonderful forgiveness I have been given, a forgiveness which is based upon the suffering, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Paul put it best when He said in I Corinthians chapter 2 verse 2, “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.”
The reality may be that we will never fully understand or constantly be thankful for our salvation until we get to heaven. But this is one of the great challenges of the Christian life. It is also one of the important secrets to having the zeal to be dedicated to God and determination to pick up your cross daily and follow after Christ. It is also the key to be able to successfully love and forgive those who treat you cruelly. Remember Jesus said blessed are the poor in Spirit. How poor in Spirit are you? Do you see your spiritual needs? Do you see your desperate need for Christ? Do you see how wicked of a sinner you are? If any man lack wisdom let him ask of God. Only Jesus can open the eyes of the blind. If you are going to ask God for anything, ask God for the grace to show you your sins each day and the grace to help you repent of them. And also ask God for the grace to see your desperate need for Him and then grace to trust in Him. Hebrews chapter 4 verse 16 says, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
The Bible says in John chapter 3 verses 28-30, “Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before Him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice; this my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.” Those in the world who are false religious teachers will always seek their own glory and not seek to give glory to Jesus Christ. But He who is led by the Spirit of God will seek the glory of God and not His own glory. He will rejoice, just as John did here, when the name of Christ is glorified, but he will not rejoice when man is praised, for praise belongs to God who created all things and who by His Son Jesus has saved us all from our sins. Jesus said he that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory, but he that speaketh of Him that sent Me, the same is true. Who do you talk about? Whose accomplishments do you boast of, yours or Jesus Christ’s?
Copyright; 2001 by Charles
F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved