The Greatest Evil Is Found In the Presence of the Greatest Light (John 15:18–16:4)

“But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father.”

—John 15:21–24

Because of Jesus, the Jews are guilty of sin. It is not that they were sinless and guiltless before Christ came, but that now because He has come, they are guilty of great sin. They’ve sinned against the remedy for sin. John 3:19–20 tells us “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.” As the light draws near, their darkness is illuminated, exacerbated, and intensified. The principle of judgment at work here is the same one seen in Luke 11:31–32.

“The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.”

The Jews are not in the dark for lack of light. The abundance of light intensifies their guilt. The magnitude of their guilt can be seen in that by hating Jesus, they hate the Father (15:23). This is because Jesus doesn’t simply come as light exposing their darkness, but as light revealing the Father. “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known” (John 1:18). Jesus has just told the disciples that in seeing Him, they have seen the Father (John 14:9). Inversely, in hating Jesus, the Jews have hated the Father. Jesus’ works bear witness that He is in the Father and that the Father is in Him (John 14:10–11). The works Jesus does are the very works the Father does (John 5:19). These works are given to Him by the Father as a testimony to the Son (John 5:36–37). By these works the Son reveals the Father.

Here then is the greatness of their guilt: They have sinned against the Father’s revelation of the Son. They have sinned against the Son’s revelation of the Father. They have sinned against the Spirit’s witness to the Son as a witness to the Father. And they have sinned against them in the revelation of their grace. This is a sin against the Father who gave His only begotten Son. This is a sin against the Son who loved and obeyed His Father unto death. This is a sin against the Spirit who was sent by the Father and who anointed the Son. All in grace to sinners. Oh how great is this sin. Sin in the dark is evil, but sin in the light is greater evil, and sin in the greatest of light is the greatest of evil.

Dear soul, are guilty of such sin? If so, you have not sinned in the dark. You have sinned in the light. You have sinned against the Light. J.C. Ryle warns, 

“Let us settle it down as a first principle in our religion, that religious privileges are in a certain sense very dangerous things. If they do not help us toward heaven, they will only sink us deeper into hell. They add to our responsibility. ‘To whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required’ (Luke 12:48). He that dwells in a land of open Bibles and preached gospel, and yet dreams that he will stand in the judgment day on the same level with an untaught Chinese, is fearfully deceived. He will find to his own cost, except he repents, that his judgment will be according to his light.”

Dear soul, know this, the Father counts indifference to the Son as hatred. Don’t attempt to give soft names to your hatred. If you do not trust and love the Son, it is not well with your soul. You have no excuse. If you will not receive this great grace, you will bear great guilt. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ who bore judgment for sinners, receive His grace, and you need bear such guilt no longer.

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