Peter Barnes: Light Versus Darkness, John 3:17-21 (Sunday 28 June 2020 Evening Service, 6.00 p.m.)
There is a real place for apologetics to present a Christian understanding of God, the world and the gospel to people but the issue of belief and unbelief is not just intellectual one but moral.
1. God desires our salvation.
– 3:17; John 12:47. Judgment is also involved – John 5:27; 9:39.
– James Montgomery Boice suggests that something like Psalm 2 might lie in the background
e.g. Psalm 2:7-9. Jesus is surely saying something like what Ezekiel 18 is saying – Ezek.18:23.
The fact that He came to earth shows that He has a gracious desire to save sinners.
2. Sinners love sinning.
– 3:18-20; see Rom.1:18. People are sinning and they do not want to stop.
– Merle d’Aubigné in Geneva in 1816: ‘I met Robert Haldane and heard him read from an English Bible a chapter from Romans about the natural corruption of man, a doctrine of which I had never before heard.
In fact I was quite astonished to hear of man being corrupt by nature. I remember saying to Mr Haldane, “Now, I see that doctrine in the Bible.” “Yes,” he replied, “but do you see it in your heart?”
3. Those who are saved turn to the light.
– 3:21. Izaak Walton said of Richard Sibbes: ‘Heaven was in him, before he was in heaven.’
– the passive voice: ‘his works have been carried out in God’. God did this, not us. God desires the salvation of sinners more than they desire it themselves. Sinners love sin more than they love God. But God brings His people to the light.