This is the condemnation - This is the cause of condemnation; or this is the reason why men are punished.
That light is come - Light often denotes instruction, teaching, doctrine, as that by which we see clearly the path of duty. all the instruction that God gives us by conscience, reason, or revelation may thus be called light; but this word is used especially to denote the Messiah or the Christ, who is often spoken of as “the light.” See Isaiah 60:1; Isaiah 9:2. Compare Matthew 4:16; also the notes at John 1:4. It was doubtless this light to which Jesus had particular reference here.
Men loved darkness - Darkness is the emblem of ignorance, iniquity, error, superstition - whatever is opposite to truth and piety. Men are said to love darkness more than they do light when they are better pleased with error than truth, with sin than holiness, with Belial than Christ.
Because their deeds are evil - Men who commit crime commonly choose to do it in the night, so as to escape detection. So men who are wicked prefer false doctrine and error to the truth. Thus the Pharisees cloaked their crimes under the errors of their system; and, amid their false doctrines and superstitions, they attempted to convince others that they had great zeal for God.
Deeds - Works; actions.
This is the condemnation - That is, this is the reason why any shall be found finally to perish, not that they came into the world with a perverted and corrupt nature, which is true; nor that they lived many years in the practice of sin, which is also true; but because they refused to receive the salvation which God sent to them.
Light is come - That is, Jesus, the Sun of righteousness, the fountain of light and life; diffusing his benign influences every where, and favoring men with a clear and full revelation of the Divine will.
Men loved darkness - Have preferred sin to holiness, Belial to Christ, and hell to heaven. חשך chashac, darkness, is frequently used by the Jewish writers for the angel of death, and for the devil. See many examples in Schoettgen.
Because their deeds were evil - An allusion to robbers and cut-throats, who practice their abominations in the night season, for fear of being detected. The sun is a common blessing to the human race - it shines to all, envies none, and calls all to necessary labor. If any one choose rather to sleep by day, that he may rob and murder in the night season, he does this to his own peril, and has no excuse: - his punishment is the necessary consequence of his own unconstrained actions. So will the punishment of ungodly men be. There was light - they refused to walk in it. They chose to walk in the darkness, that they might do the works of darkness - they broke the Divine law, refused the mercy offered to them, are arrested by Divine justice, convicted, condemned, and punished. Whence, then, does their damnation proceed? From Themselves.
God's people in these last days are not to choose darkness rather than light. They are to look for light, to expect light.... The light will continue to shine in brighter and still brighter rays, and reveal more and more distinctly the truth as it is in Jesus, that human hearts and human characters may be improved, and moral darkness—which Satan is working to bring over the people of God—may be dispelled.... As we near the close of time there will be needed a deeper and clearer discernment, a more firm knowledge of the Word of God, a living experience, and the holiness of heart and life which we must have to serve Him.7 TMK 347.5Read in context »
Consider this statement a moment. Why “cannot” the world receive the truth? “Because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him” (verse 17). The world is leagued against the truth, because it does not desire to obey the truth. Shall I, who perceive the truth, close my eyes and heart to its saving power because the world chooses darkness rather than light? Shall I bind myself up with the bundles of tares because my neighbors refuse to be bound up with the wheat? Shall I refuse light, the evidence of truth which leads to obedience, because my relatives and friends choose to follow in the paths of disobedience which lead away from God? Shall I close my mind against the knowledge of truth because my neighbors and friends will not open their understanding to discern the truth as it is in Jesus? Shall I refuse to grow in the grace and knowledge of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ because my neighbors consent to remain dwarfs? ... TMK 116.4Read in context »
Our time, our strength, and our energies belong to God; and if they are consecrated to His service, our light will shine. It will affect first and most strongly those in our own homes, who are most intimately associated with us; but it will extend beyond the home, even to “the world.” To many it will be a savor of life unto life; but there are some who will refuse to see the light, or to walk in it. They are of that class spoken of by our Saviour, when He said: “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” Such are in a very dangerous position; but their course does not excuse any of us from letting our light shine. RC 167.2Read in context »
The conditions of eternal life are made so plain in God's Word that none need err, unless they choose error rather than truth because their unsanctified souls love the darkness rather than the light. FW 42.2Read in context »
We cannot overestimate the value of simple faith and unquestioning obedience. It is by following in the path of obedience in simple faith that the character obtains perfection. Adam was required to render strict obedience to God's commandments, and no lower standard is presented to those who desire salvation [today].... [Christ] says, “Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it. If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive” (John 14:13-17).... The world is leagued against the truth, because it does not desire to obey the truth. Shall I who perceive the truth close my eyes and heart to its saving power because the world chooses darkness rather than light? (Letter 119, 1895). LHU 139.6Read in context »