John 3:19-21 WHY MEN REFUSE TO TRUST IN JESUS
In our previous text we learned that the reason that men go
to hell is because they do not trust Jesus Christ as Savior. In
our text today we learn why men choose not to trust in Jesus.
I. A brief review
Let me first review briefly some of the information from
recent messages. Because of Adam's sin all men were condemned.
There would have been no need to send Jesus to save men if men
were not already condemned. They were all condemned and would
have all gone to hell if God had not chosen to send a Savior.
Also, because of Adam's sin all have inherited the sin
nature. That is, they all inherited from Adam an exceedingly
strong compulsion to sin. The very desire to commit the act of
sin is within the heart. This alone was enough to condemn each
one to hell. All were thus condemned to hell if God had not
chosen to send a Savior.
In addition to this all men have personally committed sin.
They have committed all manner of sin. This is because of the
sin nature that all have inherited from Adam. Because of the sin
nature all have committed acts of sin. Thus all men were
condemned to suffer the penalty of their own sin and this means
that all were condemned to hell. If God had not chosen to send a
Savior all would have gone to hell.
But God loved man and God chose to send a Savior. He sent
His Son to the cross to die so that every man would have an
opportunity to be saved. God's plan is this: If a man will trust
in Jesus Christ for salvation then that man will be saved. He
will not perish. He will not go to hell. He will have
everlasting life. He will go to heaven.
Yet if a man fails to trust in Jesus Christ as His Savior, he
is condemned to hell. He is condemned already and he will go to
hell. Without a Savior he was already condemned as a result of
Adam's sin and his own personal guilt. Now since he has failed
to trust in Jesus for salvation he is still without a Savior and
However, the unbeliever is no longer condemned simply because
of Adam's sin alone. Through Jesus he has had opportunity to be
saved in spite of Adam's sin. He is now condemned because he has
failed to place his trust in the Savior who could save him.
Likewise, he is no longer condemned merely because of the sin
nature which he has inherited from Adam. If he would trust Jesus
Christ for salvation, he would be saved in spite of his sin
nature. His sin nature does not prevent him from being saved.
He is condemned because he will not trust in Jesus.
Furthermore, he is no longer condemned merely because of his
own personal guilt of sin. In spite of his personal guilt of sin
-- tough his sins be many -- if he would trust in Jesus he would
be saved. He would be saved in spite of the greatness of his
The only reason he is still condemned is because of his
failure to trust in Jesus. Because of the sacrifice which Jesus
a sinner going to heaven is his failure to trust in Jesus Christ
as his Savior. Because he does not trust in Jesus he is
condemned. He is condemned already. He is not condemned because
of Adam's sin. He is not condemned because of his sin nature.
He is not condemned because of his personal guilt of sin. He is
condemned because he has failed to trust in Christ the Son of God
who came to this world to save him from the pits of hell. The
destiny of the lost sinner hangs in the balance. The destiny of
the lost sinner is decided by himself. If he decides to trust in
Jesus Christ to save his soul then his destiny is heaven. If he
decides not to place his trust in Jesus Christ to save his soul,
then his destiny is hell. Each man, woman, boy and girl makes
this decision himself.
II. Jesus, the Light of the world
But now let us look at our text and let us see why men many
men fail to trust in Jesus. It would seem that all men would
take advantage of the opportunity to be saved. It would seem
that all men would want to stay out of hell. It would seem that
all men would want to go to heaven. Why then do many reject
Jesus Christ as Savior and go on to hell?
V. 19, "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into
the world..." Jesus Christ is the Light of the world. John
1:1-4 says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with
God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with
God. All things were made by him; and without him was not
anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was
the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the
darkness comprehended it not." In this passage it is said that
the Word is the light. John 1:14 says, "And the Word was made
flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, the glory as
of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."
This speaks of Jesus being born in human flesh.
Jesus is the Light of the world. He is the Light which
shines to men lost in sin. He offers salvation. He offers to
keep them out of hell. He offers to take them to heaven. He
lived a sinless life and died on the cross as a sacrifice for the
sins of man. He brought the opportunity of salvation to all men.
Jesus not only offers to save all men, but through the
preaching of the gospel He informs men of this offer. Through
the Holy Spirit of God. He draws all men to Christ. He
enlightens them so that they can understand the need of salvation
and how to be saved.
III. The problem: The world's love for darkness
However, very few people who lived in the days of Jesus and
saw Him work miracles and heard Him preach trusted in Him as
Savior. The great majority rejected Him as the promised Messiah
and Savior. They refused to believe in Him and because they
refused to believe in Him they remained lost and condemned.
But why? Why would men who were familiar with the Old
Testament prophecies about the coming of the Savior reject the
Savior when He came? Why would men who saw the miracles that
Jesus performed reject Him as the promised Savior? Why would men
in darkness reject the Light and remain in darkness? Why would
any man even today who is headed for the fires of hell reject
God's offer of salvation and stay on the road to hell?
Jesus gave the answer to that question. (V. 19), "...and men
loved darkness rather than light..." There was a decided
preference for darkness rather than Light. There was a
deliberate rejection of the Light in preference for darkness.
There was a deliberate decision to reject Jesus as the Christ.
There was unbelief in their hearts. They simply were not willing
to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, the Savior of the world.
It was deliberate unbelief on their part. It was not that
they could not understand that Jesus truly is the Son of God and
the Savior of men. Rather it was that they would not allow
themselves to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.
They deliberately closed their minds to the possibility that He
is the Son of God. They would not allow themselves to even
consider the possibility that He is the Christ because they loved
darkness in preference to Light.
(V. 19), "...because their deeds were evil." They not only
lived in a world of darkness and sin, but they were filled with
darkness and sin in their own hearts. Their conduct was filled
with darkness and sin. Their lives were filled with darkness and
sin. They loved the sin of the world that they lived in.
They loved the sin that was in their own lives and they did
not wish to give it up. They loved their sinful pleasures and
they did not intend to give up those pleasures for any reason.
They most certainly did not wish to give up their sinful ways
just in order to please God. They were not willing to repent of
their sin. They would not repent even in order to go stay out of
hell and go to heaven. They would take their chances on hell in
order to continue in a life of unrestrained unbridled sin.
What then is the number one reason that men reject the Christ
and die and go to hell? If you should ask them they may give any
number of reasons. They may say, "I just have trouble believing
that salvation is so simple. I have trouble believing that if I
trust Jesus he will save my soul and take me to heaven." They
may say, "I have plenty of time yet. I hope to be saved some
day, but not now." They may say, "I am just as good as most of
the people who go to church. If they make it to heaven, I will,
But what is the real reason they neglect to trust in Jesus?
What is the number one reason? The basic reason they do not
trust in Jesus Christ for salvation is because they love sin and
they want to continue in their sin just as long as they possibly
can before they make preparation for heaven.
IV. The world's hatred for the Light
V. 20, "For every one that doeth evil hateth the light..."
Remember that the number one reason that the unsaved person
neglects to trust in Jesus and be saved is because he loves his
sinful ways and does not wish to turn from his sin. In the first
part of verse 20 Jesus gives us the number two reason that men to
not turn to Jesus for salvation. At least, this is the reason
they delay trusting in Him. They hate the light. The one who
does evil hates the light.
I understand that in the original language this verse speaks
not of someone who commits an occasional sin, but rather of one
who sins habitually. It is his way of life. He loves a life of
sin. He has made sin a deliberate choice. This is the way of
life that he wants and he has no desire whatsoever to change.
Therefore this man hates the Light which is presented to him.
He hates the gospel message. He hates the Bible and Bible truth.
He usually hates to go to church. He is uncomfortable there. He
does not want to be there. If he does go, he is glad when he
gets out of there.
Oh, he is not opposed to religion as such. He is not opposed
to religion as long as that religion does not hold to the truth
of God. He prefers heretical religion to Bible truth. He
especially prefers a false gospel to the true gospel. He prefers
a gospel message that bases one's hope of heaven on his own good
works. He wants to feel that he is good enough as he is to go to
heaven or, at least, he wants to feel that he can become good
enough with a little effort. He does not object to the reading
of the Bible and the preaching of the Bible as long as the Bible
is mis-interpreted. He may be perfectly willing to go to church
in a church where the gospel of Jesus Christ is twisted and where
the Holy Scriptures are twisted so as to distort the truth and a
lie is preached. But he despises Bible truth.
He hates righteous living. He prefers the way of sin and
ungodliness. He prefers the way of pretended godliness. He
prefers hypocrisy to godliness. It is difficult to get this man
to change his attitude toward God, toward Jesus Christ and toward
Bible truth because he has his mind made up and does not wish to
change his mind.
(V. 20), "...neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds
should be reproved." Remember that the number one reason that a
man will neglect to trust in Jesus and get saved is because he
loves sin and does not wish to turn away from sin. The number
two reason is because he hates the Light. He hates the Christ
and all that represents the truth pertaining to Christ.
In this part of verse 20 Jesus tells us the number three
reason that a lost sinner does not want to trust in Jesus and be
saved. It is because doing so would expose his own guilt of sin.
It would not only be an admission to others that he is a sinner,
but it would be an admission to his own conscience. He does not
want to acknowledge to anyone that he is an unworthy sinner. He
does not want to acknowledge even to himself that he is not fit
for heaven. He does not want to acknowledge that he deserves to
go into the fires of hell. He desperately wants to hold onto a
false idea that he is not really so bad and that he will surely
make it to heaven by his own merit.
If he were to come to Jesus he would have to acknowledge his
sin and repent of his sin. If he were to come to Jesus he would
have to stop depending on his own merit to make it to heaven. He
would have to depend entirely on the grace of God through Jesus
V. The decision of some to come to Christ
V. 21, "But he that doeth truth cometh to the light..." Thank
God not all men refuse to trust in Jesus. There are some who
have a change of mind and a change of attitude toward their sin
and toward God and toward Bible truth and particularly toward the
gospel of Jesus Christ. This is called "repentance." Even the
word, repentancbegins to consider calling upon Jesus and asking
Jesus to save his soul.
Note that the verse says, "He that doeth truth cometh to the
Light." This statement does not teach that one gets to heaven by
his own works. In order that we may know that one is not saved
by his own good works, we need only to look back to verse 18 of
this chapter. Verse 18 reads, "He that believeth in him is not
condemned..." It does not say, "He that does enough good works
is not condemned." It does not say, "He who is worthy of heaven
is not condemned." But rather it says that if one believes in
Jesus he is not condemned. This means that salvation does not
depend on one's own good works. It depends on whether or not one
has placed his faith in Jesus to save his soul.
Ephesians 2:8-9 reads, "For by grace are ye saved through
faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not of
works lest any man should boast." Titus 3:5 reads, "Not by works
of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy
he saved us..."
Since this statement does not mean that salvation is obtained
by one's good works, that leaves the question: What does it
mean? It means that one who does good works is one who has come
to the Light. He has come to the Lord Jesus Christ for the
salvation of his soul. He has repented of his sin and trusted in
Jesus for salvation. He has been born again. A change has taken
place on the inside which has brought about a change in his
conduct -- in his life style -- in the deeds that he commits.
It does not mean that he has altogether stopped committing
sin. But it does mean that his life style has changed because he
has come to the light and has been born again.
Note also that he comes to the Light in order that it may be
made evident that his deeds have changed. (V. 21), "...that his
deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God." He
came to the Light that he might be saved. He continues to come
to the light that he may do the kind of works that God would
approve of. He looks to the Bible, the word of God, to teach him
the will of God. He looks to the Holy Spirit of God to help him
rightly understand the will of God. He leans upon the Christ of
God to help him live for God in a way that will please God.
This does not mean that he stops sinning altogether. As long
as he lives in a depraved sinful human body he will continue to
commit sin. But it does mean that his life style has changed as
a result of the new birth. He now continuously strives to please
the Lord in the way he lives and the things he does. He no
longer hates the Light, but he loves the Light. He loves the
Lord who saved his soul. He tries to live in a way that will
bring honor and glory to the Lord. He desires his actions to
please the Lord. He desires his actions to be wrought in God.
In closing, let me ask you a few questions: How do you feel
about your sin? Do you excuse your sin? Do you pretend that you
have never done anything very bad? Or do you realize that you
are an unworthy sinner in the sight of God and that you deserve
to spend eternity in the fires of hell?
If you do realize that you are an unworthy sinner, do you
really want to be saved? Do you have a desire to be forgiven of
all your sin or do you merely want to find some way that you can
continue in your sin without interference from God?
Do you realize that God loves you and sent His Son, Jesus
Christ, to the cross of Calvary for you so that you can be saved?
Are you ready to place your hope of heaven in the hands of
Jesus Christ and trust in Him to save your soul?
If so, will you call on Him right now and ask Him to save
you? Will you come and acknowledge Him before men as your
of sin. Thus all men were
condemned to suffer the penalty of their own sin and this means
that all were condemned to hell.