The Test by which Men are Judged

Posted by admin on 23 October 2022 in Hebrews, John, Matthew, The Book of Romans |

John 3:19–20 (NIV 2011):

19 This is the verdict: light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.

“This is the verdict” (19a) has often been translated as “This is the judgement”. King James Version translates it as “This is the condemnation”. The Bible in Basic English says “This is the test by which men are judged”.  Common English Bible says “This is the basis for judgement”. God’s Word Translation says “This is why people are condemned”.

What is the test by which men are judged? See 19b~d.

light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.

 I. “light has come into the world” (19b)

‘light’ is explained in John 1:1-4. See John 1:4.

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

 ‘life’ in the Word (Greek: Logos) is ‘light’. ‘life’ may be explained based on the definition of eternal life in John 17:3. That is, ‘life’ is the experiential relationship with God. That is, ‘life’ in Him may let your relationship with God restored and let you experience God.

In the Parable of the Tenants (Matthew 21:33-46), the landowner sends his son as the last resort (Matthew 21:37). Likewise, God’s Son (light) was sent to the world as the last resort, for whom our respect was expected and deserved (Matthew 21:37) because the Son is the exact representation of God (Hebrews 1:3) and the perfect sinless man.

That is, Jesus Christ came to the world to forgive and save us.

 II. but people loved darkness instead of light (19c)

Here, ‘light’ is due to ‘life’ in him (John 1:4). If we replace ‘light’ with ‘life’, we can say that people loved death instead of life.

Let us check out the definition of ‘life’ and ‘death’ in Romans. See Romans 8:5-6.

5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.

Here, ‘life’ is defined as ‘the mind governed by the Spirit’ (Romans 8:6b). And ‘death’ is defined as ‘the mind governed by the flesh’ (Romans 8:6a). Based on these definitions, we can say that they loved their mind governed by the flesh instead the Spirit.

In the Parable of the Tenants (Matthew 21:33-46), the tenants took his son, threw him out and killed him (Matthew 21:38), after which the judgement against the tenants follows (Matthew 21:40-41). Likewise, people in the world did not recognise and receive the Son (John 1:9-10) but killed him on the cross (John 19:18). Last week we have already studied about the present and future condemnation of the unbelievers.

 III. “because their deeds were evil” (19d, 20)

Why do those whose deeds were evil love darkness instead of light? V20 answers the question. See v20.

Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.

This shows that they love darkness and hate the light because they fear that their deeds will be exposed because light exposes and darkness hides them. So, their negative response to God’s Son Jesus proves that they have their evil deeds behind and so they want to hide their deeds. Their degree of hatred toward light may be proportional to their evil and guilt.

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