Summary: Falling into line with the will of God in our lives.
LIGHT AND FAITH
Here in the midst of paragraph two of John’s Gospel we are being given a revision lesson on the Light of the world, and catch our first glimpse of one of the Evangelist’s great themes. John has just made his first intimation of the testimony of his namesake, but already the Baptist is decreasing, and Jesus is increasing (John 3:30). It is the intention of the inspired writer to encourage faith in our Lord Jesus Christ (John 20:31).
We have already established that the life of the Word of God was the source of light for all men (John 1:4). That light shines forth out of the darkness, and the darkness cannot overwhelm the light (John 1:5). John the Baptist was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light (John 1:7-8).
1. The true Light lightens everyone that comes into the world (John 1:9).
The palest understanding of the world around us comes from the light of God. Any truth found in philosophy or even worldly religions comes from the same source. Supremely, Bible wisdom and prophecy is informed by the light of the Word of God.
2. The Light has been with us since the very beginning (John 1:10).
The light shone in the primeval darkness, and the darkness was vanquished (John 1:5). Light shows up all the hidden places, so that there is no escaping from it (Romans 1:20). Our consciences also bear witness to the light, no matter how hard we try to suppress it (Romans 2:14-15).
3. The ultimate revelation of the Light is seen in the incarnation (John 1:11).
The incarnation brought light to bear upon a fallen world, but the world could not bear it. Jesus came to the world he created, and His own chosen people rejected Him (Acts 2:22-23). Yet we are all guilty: it is our sins that nailed the Lord of glory to the Cross (1 Corinthians 2:6-8).
Thankfully, however, there were those who received Him. There are those who put their trust in Jesus to this very day. These are those who are described as having been born of God.
1. All who receive Him are given authority to be children of God (John 1:12).
There is a universality to Christ’s offer (Isaiah 55:1). It is for every one who receives Him (John 3:16). This is regardless of their nationality, religious privileges, status, education, age or gender (Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:11).
The authority which we carry is the right of children within the family of God. We are heirs of God, joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8:16-17). We are no longer servants of sin and of death, but have all the privileges of true-born sons.
2. To believe on His name is to trust in His Person (John 1:12).
We are not here talking of the casual belief of the person who agrees to a set of ideas but who has no need to put them to the test. Even the devils believe the basic propositions of the Christian creed, and they tremble (James 2:19). The mark of a true believer is a whole-hearted trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour, and abandonment to His will in all things.
3. New birth is a sovereign act of God (John 1:13).
We are given several negatives so that we can understand this teaching. To be born of God has nothing to do with natural descent (bloods), fleshly desire, nor human will. It is to be born again, born anew, born from above; to be born of the Spirit (John 3:3-8).
Whatever plans our earthly parents may have had about bringing us into the world, we were not there to influence their actions. This is important, because what we must see is that conversion to Christianity is the work of God, not the work of man. He must have the glory: and man’s part must be to fall into line with the will of God in his life (Philippians 2:12-13).