Works done in God

Posted by admin on 6 November 2022 in John, Mark, The Book of Romans |


John 3:21  

But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.  

The title of today’s message is “Works done in God”. ‘done in the sight of God’ in v21b could be expressed as ‘done what is divinely wrought and divinely approved [1]’.  

I. Overview  

Let us read John 1:4 and John 1:10-11.  

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome (or comprehended) it (John 1:4).   

10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognise him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him (John 1:10-11). 

Therefore, all men would fall into the case of John 3:20 and no one would come to Christ or only the reborn men would be the case of John 3:21 [Tholuck, 2]. “The good conscience, which may present its strivings, weak as they are, before Christ, whatever of darkness is still about them, however, thereby receiving its judgement.”[Tholuck, 2]   

So, God sent Baptist John as a witness to the light so that through him, all might believe (John 1:6-8). The witness makes difference!  

Tholuck refers to John 8:47, John 18:37, John 6:44-45, and Mark 12:34 and places another interpretation, which may be seen by some as contrary to the biblical interpretation.  

The interpretation of John 3:21 by [2] has been summarised or quoted in sections II and III.    

II. Truth in John 3:21a  

‘living by the truth’ (21a) means ‘to be upright, sincere’. It cannot mean the doing of revealed truth but the doing of objective truth as it shines upon the consciousness [2].   

III. Works done in God (21b)  

“And to endeavour earnestly to conform to this truth would be, `to be upright`, `to act according to the best of one’s knowledge and conscience`. The works which proceed from this are works done in God, i.e., relatively good works, striving towards their perfection in God (Romans 2:7). Thus, the uprightness is not to be conceived without the fruit of such deeds, nor indeed the doing without the root of uprightness. They are wrought in God. The upright man works unconsciously under the influence of the Logos, and thus his works, having their starting point in God, will continually reach out towards their full manifestation in the light." [2]  


[1] Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown, Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, vol. 2 (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 132. 

[2] John Peter Lange and Philip Schaff, A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: John (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008), 136. 

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