John 3:18
Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.
Sermons
A Real AcquittalC. H. Spurgeon.John 3:18
Believing is Laying Hold on ChristNew Cyclopaedia of AnecdoteJohn 3:18
Believing the One Step into the Kingdom of GodD. L. Moody.John 3:18
Condemned AlreadyG. Matheson, D. D.John 3:18
FaithA. J. Parry.John 3:18
Faith and JudgmentJ.R. Thomson John 3:18
Faith Must Rest on ChristD. L. Moody.John 3:18
God's Condemnation of MenE. L. Hull.John 3:18
Ignorance May be WilfulDr. South.John 3:18
It is Madness to Refuse ChristD. L. Moody.John 3:18
Light and LibertyH. W. Beecher.John 3:18
Light Come into the WorldThe EvangelistJohn 3:18
Love of Darkness Rather than LightW. Denton.John 3:18
Neglect is RuinousA. Barnes.John 3:18
None But JesusCharles Haddon Spurgeon John 3:18
None But Jesus -- Second PartCharles Haddon Spurgeon John 3:18
Not Condemned, and Condemned AlreadyS. Martin.John 3:18
Refusing the PhysicianJohn 3:18
Salvation Through Union with ChristA. J. Parry.John 3:18
The Action of LightE. L. Hull, B. A.John 3:18
The Blessedness of LightR. Sergeant.John 3:18
The Cause of Present and Future CondemnationR. Sergeant.John 3:18
The Doom of UnbelieversC. H. Spurgeon.John 3:18
The Great AlternativeG. Mornet, M. A.John 3:18
The Test of CondemnationG. Matheson, D. D.John 3:18
The Wilful Folly of Rejecting the LightH. C. Trumbull, D. D.John 3:18
Two Great WondersR. Besser, D. D.John 3:18
Unbelief Arraigned and CondemnedPulpit Assistant.John 3:18
Christ the Saviour of Even the Worst of SinnersNauden.John 3:17-19
Christ the Saviour of the WorldR. Brewin.John 3:17-19
FaithC. H. Spurgeon.John 3:17-19
No CondemnationC. H. Spurgeon.John 3:17-19
No Condemnation to the BelieverG. Fisk, LL. B.John 3:17-19
Preliminary JudgmentsT. Whitelaw, D. D.John 3:17-19
Regeneration -- Faith the Instrumental CauseA. J. Parry.John 3:17-19
SalvationH. McNeile, D. D.John 3:17-19
Salvation and CondemnationA. Beith, D. D.John 3:17-19
Salvation is for All Who Need ItT. De Witt Talmage, D. D.John 3:17-19
The Essence of the GospelC. H. Spurgeon.John 3:17-19
The Fundamental Facts of EvangelismD. Thomas, D. D.John 3:17-19
The Gospel the Most Glorious TidingsJ. Spencer.John 3:17-19
The Mission of Christ is PlainD. L. Moody.John 3:17-19
Man's life is full of alternatives. Choice between different paths that offer themselves, often between two paths, determines the direction and the character of the journey. If it is so in the decision men form as to a profession, an abode, a friendship, etc., is it not also thus with regard to religion, with regard to the principle which shall govern our moral life and decide our lasting destiny? Immediately after propounding one of the fullest and riches statements of the gospel, our Lord reverts to the moral probation which is distinctive of human life, and which is only intensified by the privilege of bearing of and knowing himself. The question for those thus privileged is - Shall they or shall they not believe on the Son of God?

I. OUR JUDICIAL RELATION TO GOD NECESSARILY INVOLVES ONE OR OTHER OF TWO SENTENCES. Because he has devised and provided the gospel, God does not therefore cease to be a Judge, wise, holy, and just. As such he will pronounce upon all who are subject to his authority a sentence either of

(1) condemnation, which is the due of sin and the desert of sinners; or of

(2) acquittal, which proceeds from Divine grace, and which is the condition of true well being. This being the alternative, it is for us a question of supreme moment - Can we in any way affect this sentence?

II. OUR MORAL RELATION TO GOD DETERMINES OUR JUDICIAL RELATION. In other words, his sentence will be according to the attitude, so to speak, of our hearts. It is open to us:

1. To reject or disbelieve in Christ the Saviour. The "only begotten Son of God" claims our reverence and our faith. But the language of Jesus makes it evident that we may withhold what he claims; and to neglect and disregard is the same thing as to refuse and despise salvation. Such a choice is falling back upon our own deserts; and to appeal to justice is to court condemnation. Or we may:

2. Accept or put faith in Christ. Such a choice is opening the eye of the soul to the light that shines, and welcoming it and walking in it. This is to fall in with the gracious proposals of our heavenly Father, to obey the call to spiritual liberty and life. If it be said that God judges righteously according to the character of those who stand at his tribunal, this is admitted; but it should be observed that faith is the means of forgiveness, and forgiveness is the spring of obedience and of conformity to the mind and will of the All-holy.

III. THE SENTENCE OF ACQUITTAL OR CONDEMNATION IS THEREFORE VIRTUALLY PRONOUNCED BY OURSELVES, AND THAT IN THIS PRESENT LIFE. There is an awful meaning in these words: "He that believeth not hath been judged already." Condemnation is virtually passed upon the unbelieving, even in this life; and it may be said that it is pronounced by themselves. This doctrine of Christ is in no way inconsistent with the scriptural declaration that there shall be a day in which God shall judge all men by Jesus Christ. But it reminds us of the far-reaching, the eternal influence of cur present decision, and bids us "flee from the wrath to come." - T.







He that believeth on Him is not condemned.
In the reign of George III. the son of a member of this Church lay under sentence of death for forgery. Dr. Rippon, after incredible exertions, obtained a promise that this sentence should be remitted. By a singular occurrence the present senior deacon learned that the reprieve had not been received, and the unhappy prisoner would have been executed had not Dr. Rippon gone posthaste to Windsor, obtained an interview with the king in his bed-chamber, and received from that monarch's own hand a copy of that reprieve, which had been negligently put aside by a thoughtless officer. "I charge you, doctor," said His Highness, "to make good speed." "Trust me, sire, for that," said he; and he returned to London only just in time, for the prisoner was being marched, with many others, to the scaffold. That pardon might have been given, and yet the man might have been executed. But, blessed be God, our non-condemnation is an effectual thing.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Not long ago a man said to me, "I cannot believe." "Whom?" I asked. He stammered, and again said, "I cannot believe." I said, "Whom?" "Well," he said, "I can't believe." "Whom?" I asked again. At last he said, "I cannot believe myself." "Well, you don't need to. You do not need to put any confidence in yourself. The less you believe in yourself the better."

(D. L. Moody.)

I am told that at Rome, if you go up a few steps on your hands and knees, that is nine years out of purgatory. If you take one step now you are out of purgatory for time and eternity. You used to have two steps into glory — out of self into Christ, out of Christ into glory. But there is a shorter way now with only one step — out of self into glory, and you are saved. May God help you to take the step now! Flee, my friends, to-night to Calvary, and get under the shadow of the cross!

(D. L. Moody.)

I recollect how those words "condemned already " rang in my ears, as I should think the bells of St. Sepulchre's used to sound in the ears of the condemned in Newgate, warning them that the time was come to go out upon the scaffold. When the shadow of eternal wrath falls upon the heart, nothing worse can be imagined; for the conscience bears sure witness that God is just when He judges, condemns, and punishes. When a man feels the shadow of death upon him, infidel arguments are silenced, self-conceited defences are banished, and the heart consents to the justice of the law which declares, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die."

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Neglect is enough to ruin a man. A man who is in business need not commit forgery or robbery to ruin himself; he has only to neglect his business, and his ruin is certain. A man who is lying on a bed of sickness need not cut his throat to destroy himself; he has only to neglect the means of restoration, and he will be ruined. A man floating in a skiff above Niagara need not move an oar, or make an effort to destroy himself; he has only to neglect using the oar at the proper time, and he will certainly be carried over the cataract. Most of the calamities of life are caused by simple neglect. Let no one infer, therefore, that because he is not a drunkard, or an adulterer, or a murderer, that therefore he will be saved. Such an inference would be as irrational as it would be for a man to infer that, because he is not a murderer, his farm will produce a harvest; or that, because he is not an adulterer, therefore his merchandise will take care of itself.

(A. Barnes.)

New Cyclopaedia of Anecdote.
"Mark you," said a pious sailor, when explaining to a shipmate at the wheel, "mark you, it isn't breaking off swearing and the like; it isn't reading the Bible, nor praying, nor being good; it is none of these; for even if they would answer for the time to come, there's still the old score; and how are you to get over that? It isn't anything that you have done or can do; its taking hold of what Jesus did for you; its forsaking your sins, and expecting the pardon and salvation of your soul, because Christ let the waves and billows go over Him on Calvary. This is believing, and believing is nothing else."

(New Cyclopaedia of Anecdote.)

I. THE BELIEVER NOT CONDEMNED.

1. Christ has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

2. Faith in Christ identifies us with His sacrifice.

3. Identification with the sacrifice of Christ removes all personal guilt.

4. So the believer is not regarded or dealt with by God as a sinner. He is not condemned —

(1)by God;

(2)by the law;

(3)by Himself: remorse subsides, fear vanishes.

II. THE UNBELIEVERS ALREADY CONDEMNED.

1. What does unbelief seem to do?

(1)It despises God's unspeakable gift as superfluous, or insufficient, or comparatively unimportant.

(2)It dishonours the Son of God Himself.

(3)It refuses to listen even to God's testimony concerning His Son.

2. The cause of unbelief must be evil, and what is evil is foolish.

3. The nature of unbelief.

(1)It is sin both in the spirit and in the letter (1 John 3:23).

(2)It is the greatest folly (Acts 4:12).

4. The doom of unbelief (Mark 16:16; Proverbs 1:34-36; Matthew 11:23; Luke 12:47; Hebrews 10:29). This doom is confirmed by the conscience of the unbeliever.

(S. Martin.)

The condemnation here spoken of is not of the judge but of the architect. It is a customary thing to appoint a committee to examine a bridge or a building, but if either is condemned as unfit for use, the architect merely proclaims that repair is needed: he refers to the past, not to the future. He says, not that they are to be destroyed, but that he will not guarantee them for a single moment, that the hall or building is not safe for a meeting-place, and that the bridge is not fit to he a vehicle of commerce between man and man. The whole word lies in the word already. Some here may have read that wonderful story of George Eliot's, "Daniel Deronda," and remember the marvellous character in it, Mordecai, who, by the mysticism of his mind, is represented as having gone back. He became possessed with the idea that he was a bridge over which the whole world was passing; he felt the feet trampling over his life, and they weighed him down with agony, Never was Mordecai so little of the madman as when he possessed that thought. Whether we realize it or not, the idea is true. Every one is a bridge for the whole world. The world would not have been the same if you bad not lived, and what is that but saying you are a means of transport for the generations? Therefore it is of the more value that some are labelled, "Condemned already"; to hear a voice warning us back from the gilded parapet, from the painted structure, from the gaudy edifice; for the frail planks are ready to fall into the mighty cauldron, seething below. Stand back till the rotten materials are renewed and welded together.

(G. Matheson, D. D.)

A person who had noticed a flower of a very rare kind growing on a narrow ledge on the face of a precipitous rock, was very desirous to gain possession of it. There was no possibility of reaching it except by a person being let down from the top suspended by a rope. The person interested engaged a boy of the neighbourhood, and brought him to the spot for this purpose. But the boy, when he saw the situation of the flower, hesitated. His employer tried to tempt him by the offer of a larger reward, but still he hesitated. At last, when a very considerable sum was named, he turned to the gentleman, and said, "Yes, I will get it, if I may fetch my brother to hold the rope." Here is an example of implicit trust consciously exercised under extraordinary circumstances.

(A. J. Parry.)

In primitive times there was a law or custom that if a man or woman would consent to marry, under the gallows, a person condemned to death, the criminal would thereby be saved from execution. There are instances on record of this custom having been carried out. We have here a faint picture of the grand truths of the text. The sinner "is condemned already," is under sentence of death, but Christ consents to raise him into union with Himself, and so thereby deliver him from his terrible doom, but faith working through love must be the bond of this mystical union. And this faith regenerates the man. By it the greatest sinner is transformed into a saint.

(A. J. Parry.)

Let us consider, then, this sin of unbelief, and the two reasons, furnished by my text, for its being made the ground of condemnation.

I. First of all, in regard to the sin itself, you will notice how entirely everything is made to hinge on the fact of a man's believing or his not believing. The difference between these two is all the difference between condemnation and acquittal. Doubtless it was well for Nicodemus, during whose interview with our Lord the statement of my text was uttered, that the issue should be narrowed to so definite a point. It was well he should know that however far he might be inclined to go in his acknowledgment of Jesus, nothing short of personal trust in Him as his Messias would suffice. Nor is it enough, to make a man a Christian, that he accepts, in a general way, the teaching of Scripture, and seeks to bring his life into accord with the Divine commands. There must be something much more precise and radical than this. There needs an uprooting of the life out of its old soil, a transplanting of it into new conditions, the committal of your whole nature into the hands of a Divine Person, out of whose deep inexhaustible being it shall henceforward draw its succour and sup. port. And if this be wanting, then all is wanting. Whatever your connection with Christianity may have done for you, if it has failed to connect you with Him it has failed of the one thing it seeks to accomplish. It may have begotten within you anxious thoughts and surmises about its mysteries. If your convictions of guilt have not persuaded you to have recourse to the great Pardoner and Purifier of sinners, then they have failed of their marl;. He that believeth not, whether he be serious or careless, whether he be the profane scoffer or the regular church-goer, is condemned already. Notice particularly, I pray you, the force of that word already. Sentence is not suspended till it be seen whether you succeed in attaining a certain pitch of moral excellence or fall below it. It is not unfixed and unsettled till the end of your life, and then for the first time shaped into a verdict. Then it will only be revealed and made manifest. Then it will only be pronounced and read aloud from the page of that book on which it now stands recorded. Already you are condemned if you do not believe in the only-begotten Son.

II. I pass on now to consider why unbelief should be made the ground of condemnation. Two reasons are given.

1. The first is, because it involves rejection of the only-begotten Son of God. He came, as we have seen, not to condemn men, but to save men who were condemned already. And His coming was not one of a number of similar expedients, that had been tried before. To reject Him, then, is to reject the only possible means of escape from a doomed state. It is to remain separate and apart from God, that is, in a condition of death and condemnation. If you can find any sin, or ingrained force of habit, which He cannot conquer and break, then you may hesitate to appeal to Him for help. But the fact of His Divine Sonship precludes all this. It is important to notice here the turn that takes place at this point in our Lord's reasoning. He wishes to bring out the personal responsibility of each individual. The unbeliever is condemned, not because he is involved in the sinfulness that is common to humanity, but because of his unbelief; that is to say, not because of his sharing a guilt which was brought upon him by the offence of another, but in virtue of his own deliberate deed — because he hath not believed. It has been a matter of conscious choice with him. He has had the alternative placed before him, and he has preferred to be without Christ and perish, rather than take refuge in His grace. Now, this is true of every unbeliever. And if you are not receiving and trusting Him you are choosing to reject Him.

2. The second reason specified for the condemnation attached to unbelief is, that it involves the greatest immorality. It is a very common impression that unbelief leaves a man no worse than it found him. Other sins may render him an object of suspicion. Untruthfulness may strip his statements of credibility. Fraud may exclude him from the dealings of honourable men. Excess in eating or drinking may brutalize him, and make him an unsteady customer in business. But he may be as good for all practical purposes whether he believes or not. That is a matter confined to the sphere of opinion, and need not affect his actions, to any appreciable extent. A creed does not make a Christian, unless it be wedded to a life. And a true believer in Christ is different from other men by a vast difference, a difference that works through his whole nature, turning it in a new direction, and shaping it to a new end. Do not suppose that to believe in Him is a mere act of the intellect, and nothing more. If that were all you might do so or not do so, and the effects would never extend beyond your intellect, just as one may not be a whit the worse because he rejects some purely scientific or formal truth. Faith is not a mere assent to certain propositions. It is an act of the whole moral nature, closing with Christ for moral and spiritual ends. In coming to Him, then, you come that He may achieve within you that for which He came to you. You come that you may be pardoned and purified, that He may impart peace to your conscience, and touch you with the living power of His quickening Spirit. And when you refuse to come it is because you object to this process of renewal. And in refusing to be like Him you refuse to be like God, you show your deliberate preference for the evil which He hates. So that unbelief is the most terrible of all sins, the sin in which the innermost, deepest aversion of the heart to God comes to a head and acts. Having looked upon the light, and having looked also upon the darkness, and having wished that you might live in the sunshine, but wished also still more that you might abide in the shadow of some pet sin, or of some habit of self-righteousness, have you turned away, away from Christ, away from God, away from hope? Then do not disguise the reason from your eyes. Do not set it down to a mere exercise of intellect. "This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men have loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil."

(G. Mornet, M. A.)

I. THE NATURE OF UNBELIEF.

1. A denying of the truth of the gospel.

2. A doubting or wavering uncertainty of mind about the truths of the gospel.

3. When, though a person may be convinced in his mind, by rational arguments, that the Bible is the Word of God, he does not fall in with the great design of the Scriptures by receiving Christ, and resting upon Him alone for salvation as He is there presented and discovered.

II. THE CAUSES OF UNBELIEF.

1. The devil has a great hand in it.

2. Ignorance.

3. Pride.

4. A pretended humility and self-denial is another great bar in the way of believing, to many; they thrust away Christ and the mercy of God from them, under a pretence that they are not fit for it.

5. A secret jealousy, as if God were not in good earnest with us, when He offers Christ and His salvation to us in the gospel.

III. THE SENTENCE.

1. Prove that the sentence is passed against the unbeliever. "He that believes not in the Son shall not see life" (John 3:36).

2. The unbeliever is condemned already.(1) In the court of the law, as a covenant by which he is seeking to be justified and saved: "There is one that accuseth you, even Moses" Romans 3:19).(2) The unbeliever is already condemned in the gospel court. The sentence passed against him in the court of the law is aggravated and heightened by his contempt of gospel grace (Hebrews 2:3; Hebrews 10:28, 29).(3) The unbeliever is condemned already in the court of his own conscience.(4) The unbeliever is already condemned in the court of the Church; or, may I call it, in the ministerial court.(5) The unbeliever is condemned in the court of the great God. "Consider this, ye that forget God" (Psalm 1:22).

3. A few qualities of this sentence of condemnation passed against the unbelieving sinner.

(1)A most mature and deliberate sentence.

(2)A most righteous sentence.

(3)A most awful and terrible sentence.

(4)An irrevocable sentence.Application:

1. See hence a very sufficient reason why ministers of the gospel do so much urge the necessity of faith.

2. See hence the miserable and mournful condition of the generality of gospel hearers; they are a company of condemned men, under sentence of death.

3. How ill-grounded the joy and triumph of a Christless, unbelieving sinner!

4. See hence how fitly the gospel is called a joyful sound (Psalm 89:15).

5. It is every man's duty and interest to examine and try whether be be under this heavy sentence or not.

(Pulpit Assistant.)

This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world
The first entrance of light produces two effects — it makes manifest and it separates. By this well-known result of the dawn we understand that when the Light that saves entered the world His appearance at the same time became the complete condemnation of men. But these words do not refer simply to the immediate effects of Christ's advent. They contain a truth for all time.

I. THE PRINCIPLE OF DIVINE CONDEMNATION. On what ground does. God condemn humanity? It has been said that God deems men for evils which it was beyond their power to avoid; as saving some few, and sending the rest to perdition because he chooses to do so. Christ here affirms that God finally condemns men, not for being sinful, but for content to be sinful.

1. Contemplate sin as a power slumbering in human nature. It is there, even in the child. The most virtuously educated, when thrown suddenly into some unusual companionship, will show it. God cannot doom a man for sinful impulses which any temptation may draw forth.

2. Pass on to the rise of sin into conscious deeds. Has man power in himself to free himself from its slavery?(1) Every act of sin darkens the light of conscience. God has given man a conscience whose eye is quick to detect evil; but the misery of sin is that the very first action begins to darken the light which was given to guard against sin's blinding power.(2) Every step decreases the power of resistance; for the longer a man lives in sin, the more deeply he becomes conscious of self-degradation. Destroy a man's self-respect, make him feel that his character is gone, and see how carelessly and recklessly he will act. If, then, sin has such a power, do you think that God finally condemns a man for being sinful? Is it not rather for being content to remain in sin, for loving darkness rather than light?

II. THE MANIFESTATION OF THIS PRINCIPLE IN THE COMING OF CHRIST. When the light came, every man who rejected Him proved his contentment in sin. Two things are requisite to prove this.

1. Man must be brought into a state in which he shall be able to choose deliberately between God and sin: and into this state the coming of Christ brings him. Through Christ the strongest and holiest powers — love, pity, sorrow act in man's nature and appeal to him to enter the light and liberty of the sons of God.

2. Man must show his contentment in sin, and thus doom himself. The rejection of Christ is utter self-condemnation.(1) Within man is an evil power, and from that power Christ comes to deliver, but man chooses subjection to that power rather than deliverance.(2) Behind man is a blackened past — man says I accept it; before man is an awful future springing out of his evil — man says I dare its doom: although Christ came to forgive the one and avert the other.

(E. L. Hull.)

I. A FACT STATED. "Light is come in the world."

1. The light of conscience which —

(1)Condemns or approves now.

(2)Is prophetic of future acceptance or condemnation.

2. The light of nature.

(1)Astronomy teaches us the existence of an Almighty Creator.

(2)Microscopy reveals one infinite in resources.

(3)The wonderful order of nature shows one manifold in wisdom.

(4)The beneficence of providential arrangements exhibits one conspicuously good

3. The light of Divine revelation.

(1)Confirming the lessons of natural theology.

(2)Making known to us the provisions of redemption.

4. The light of the Holy Spirit.

(1)Enlightening the mind.

(2)Teaching the way of salvation.

(3)Guiding into all truth.

(4)Witnessing to our adoption.

5. The light of reason.

(1)To this faculty God directs His revelation.

(2)This faculty vindicates the claims of Christianity as consistent with the principles of human nature and the attributes of God.

II. MAN'S PERVERSENESS ILLUSTRATED. "Men loved darkness rather than light." Darkness signifies ignorance and sin; light, knowledge, and purity. How strange the sinners infatuation.

1. Instead of paying attention to the inward monitor, he seeks its destruction.

2. Men walk about the temple of nature and admire its workmanship, but see no Supreme Being.

3. Men have the Word of God and treat it as a fable:

4. They resist to grieve the Holy Spirit.

5. They reject the great salvation.

III. THE REASON ASSIGNED FOR THIS MORAL OBLIQUITY. "Because their deeds were evil."

1. Sin is not an accident of our lives.

2. Sin is the choice and love of our hearts.

IV. MAN'S CONSEQUENT CONDEMNATION.

1. Sinners are condemned in this life.

2. Sinners will be condemned in the life to come.

(R. Sergeant.)

When the Bastille was about to be destroyed a prisoner was brought out, who had long been lying in one of its gloomy cells. Instead of joyfully welcoming his liberty, he entreated that he might be taken back to his dungeon. It was so long since he had seen the light that his eye could not endure the light of the sun. Besides this, his friends were all dead, he had no home, and his limbs refused to move. His chief desire now was that he might die in the dark prison where so long he had been a captive.

(W. Denton.)

The Evangelist.
This is one of the most important announcements ever made in a sinful world, and to lost mankind.

I. LET US EXAMINE THE ASSERTION, that — "Light is come into the world." It is a strong and beautiful metaphor, signifying knowledge — salvation — happiness.

1. It is revelation. It dawned on Adam, rose upon the patriarchs and prophets — but has arrived at noonday by Christ and His apostles.

2. What it reveals.

II. THE WORLD IS REPRESENTED AS IN A STATE OF DARKNESS. It may have natural light and intellectual light — but it is in moral darkness.

1. What this darkness is. Ignorant of God as the true God — ignorance of sin and guilt of sin.

2. This darkness I preferred. Sinners avoid the means of conviction — are afraid of the light-neglect the word, the house, and the service of God.

III. THE REASON WE DARKNESS IS PREFERRED.

1. The innate love of sin. It is their element — the delight.

2. They find ease in sin. No alarms — conscience lulled.

3. The few rays of light that do occasionally break in are unwelcome and painful. They excite suspicion and fear.

4. If the light were admitted it would require an abandonment of evil practices which are pleasant; hence darkness is preferred because it is more congenial with sin.

IV. THIS PREFERENCE OF DARKNESS IS THE OCCASION OF AN AWFUL CONDEMNATION.

1. God condemns all that refuse the light He has condescended to impart. He will send on such strong delusions, that they should believe a lie.

2. Christ condemns all that refuse His light.

3. Unbelievers will condemn themselves in retirement, on a sick bed, and in a dying hour.

4. All will condemn them at the judgment because they loved darkness, not for want of light, but because they hated it: preferred sin and darkness, not from force or necessity, but from the love of it.Application:

1. Consider the awful state of sinners under the light of the gospel. Their greater light exposes to a greater condemnation. Not like heathens.

2. Their condemnation will be final — eternal.

3. The condemnation is now come, but not the execution of the sentence, therefore there is yet time for repentance.

4. The Redeemer waits to translate us out of darkness into His marvellous light (Hebrews 10:29).

(The Evangelist.)

What is a test of this condemnation? Our Lord's words are so very liberal that I would not have used them if He had not; I would have been afraid of the presbyteries. He does not place the test upon inadequate belief or doctrine, or even on deficient morality, but on deadness of aspiration. This is the condemnation, that men have loved darkness rather than the light. But that alone does not prove unfitness; our Lord's liberality is not yet exhausted. There is another condition — the light must have come into the world. If you get up at midnight and enter your dark sitting-room the mirror that was wont to flash in the daytime will show no light. Why don't you smash the mirror? It seems to love the darkness, and why? Because its light had not yet come. And there are hundreds in this city in precisely the same position. They are dark because no light has come to them. Suppose I ask you if you have the spirit of a poet, and you say, "Oh no, I haven't; I never wrote a line of poetry in my life. I once tried and failed miserably. I have no idea of metre or scansion." But I take you to the top of a mountain when the light is coming, when the morning is dawning and nature is about to drench the dark world in a liquid bath of gold; and I watch the gleam of enthusiasm brighten over your countenance as from your heart rise the words, "Oh, it is beautiful!" Then, my brother, I know you are a poet, though Tennyson be ignorant of you and Wordsworth acknowledge you not. So if you want to know if you are within the pale of Christianity stand on the mountain when Jesus passes by, and should you feel one fond desire, one punting aspiration which makes you cry, O to be like Thee, to be near Thee I then, though your Thirty-Nine Articles be reduced to ten, though your morality lags faintly behind, by that thrill of aspiration in your heart you will know you have seen the Bright and Morning Star and that your light has come. How could it be possible for any man or woman to love darkness rather than light? The answer to that, too, is here, "Because their deeds are evil;" and this condition comes at the end of a long process. No man ever stretched his hands to Satan and prayed, "O Prince of the Power of the Air, I want to be bad, to break hearts, to bring tears to loving eyes, to cultivate malice and envy and all uncharitableness." No, he began by evil deeds, and his beautiful aspirations continued to survive long after. I have heard the birds singing in October, and they seemed to say, It was once summer, it is summer no longer. It is a survival of old culture and the golden summer-time. Young man, listen to them, and go back. I knew a youth, brimming over with music, poetry, and aesthetic culture, but he returned, all his high aspirations gone through a life of intemperance and debauchery. Sin had taken away the aesthetic glow and his power of admiration. Is there any hope, then, for those who have got to this stage, who have put out their eyes? Yes, by retracing their steps over past deeds, never seeking to go into the past but keeping their hands from past sins in the future; and the beauty will come back in the way by which it went. In the words of the Israelitish Psalmist, the first joy comes back after a life of abstinence. The beauty of old days returns when in God's law "he doth meditate day and night." The 33rd of Isaiah is grander still, telling us we must begin by the life of self-denial if we would see the glory of the Lord. By traversing the narrow defiles of duty, the morning at last shines. A few more strokes of the oar, a little more straining of the muscles, a few more struggles against the angry foe, and, courage! you will see the land at last.

(G. Matheson, D. D.)

There is a sort of ignorance, which is not an ignorance of an empty understanding, but of a depraved heart; such an ignorance as does not only consist in a bare privation, but in a corrupt disposition; where the understanding is like that sort of blind serpents, whose blindness is attended with much venom and malignity. This was such a blindness as struck the Sodomites: there was darkness in their eyes, and withal villany in their hearts.

(Dr. South.)

Two gentlemen were fellow-passengers in a vessel bound for a distant port. One was in vigorous health, and the other emaciated with disease, and manifesting premonitory symptoms of a speedy dissolution. He was young and intelligent, but had not made what he knew to be the necessary preparation for the event which was rapidly approaching. His fellow-passenger, as they were drawing near the port whither they were bound, advised him to consult an eminent physician who resided there. "No," he replied, "I shall not consult him." He was asked, "Why?" To which he answered, "It is not because I do not entertain the highest opinion of his skill, but he will honestly tell me that my disease is incurable, that I must die; and I do not wish to receive the announcement from such a source." It is just so with the multitudes who know that they must die, and that they are totally unprepared for the event. They are afraid to consult the great Physician, lest they should be told the worst of their own case. In opposition to their better judgment, they endeavour to hide from their eyes the doom which awaits them. Their deception is voluntary; it is of their own choosing. They wish it to be so, and therefore do they avoid the means of detecting and exposing it.

Suppose I was going over London Bridge, and saw a poor miserable beggar, bare-footed, coatless, hatless, with no rags hardly to cover his nakedness, and right behind him, only a few yards, there was the Prince of Wales with a bag of gold, and the poor beggar was running away from him as if he was running away from a demon, and the Prince of Wales was hallooing after him, "Oh, beggar, here is a bag of gold!" Why, we should say the beggar had gone mad, to be running away from the Prince of Wales with the bag of gold. Sinner, that is your condition. The Prince of Heaven wants to give you eternal life, and you are running away from Him. "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life."

(D. L. Moody.)

Going to Helena I saw piles of boxes and goods and all manner of things on the landing, and I said to the superintendent, "Do the slaves buy as much as used to be bought for them by their masters?" "A great deal more." "Well, what things do they buy?" "Buy? Looking-glasses and candles." "Looking-glasses, of course: candles, however?" said I. "What do they want with candles?" In the old slave-times a slave was never allowed to have a lighted candle in his cabin after it was dark; nothing, unless it was a fire, was allowed, and the candles became in their eyes the signal of liberty; and the moment that they were free they said, "Give us light."

(H. W. Beecher.)

There are two wonders, one from above, the other from the depths of Satan: "God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son" — and the world so loved darkness that it rejected the only-begotten Son of God who was given for it.

(R. Besser, D. D.)

The world of darkness is a world of false terrors and confused appearances. In the night, old and familiar objects fake new forms; common things seem to stand out like strange dangers in our way; well-known things are changed; and we cannot distinguish shadows from realities, or the dangerous from the secure. But the first morning beam that pierces the dark world restores the confusion to order; the shadowy perils fly, and the strange night-world disappears. That first beam manifests things in their reality, and by making manifest it separates the false from the true.

(E. L. Hull, B. A.)

Imagine a traveller passing through a wild and unfrequented country. He misses his road. Night overtakes him. The storm rages; winds howl around him; the rain descends in torrents; thunders break in loud and terrific peals; whilst lightning fires occasionally discover dangerous precipices, rendering his condition imminently perilous. At length a faint but steady light comes gleaming from a distance; he follows the light, he treads the bright pathway, it leads to a human habitation — to shelter, warmth, and security. Sinner, you are that traveller. Human life is a wilderness. You are in the night of sin; wandering on the dark mountains of transgression; in imminent danger. The next step you may be irrevocably lost. But light has come into the world. Oh follow it! It will lead you to peace, security, and heaven.

(R. Sergeant.)

None of us can prevent the sun from shining, but all of us can prevent the sun from shining on us. The great orb of day still floods the earth with undimmed lustre; but we can shut ourselves away from his beams, in caves and holes of the earth. So we may shut ourselves away from that Sun of the soul who lighteth every man that cometh into the world. We cannot make God less loving, less merciful, less gracious than He is; but we can stand apart from that love, that mercy, that grace. "Behold the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear: but your iniquities have separated — are separating — between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that he will not hear." Would you have the Sun shine on you? Tear down the wall and roof of separation which you have built between you and him.

(H. C. Trumbull, D. D.)

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