“Whoever does not believe is …”

Once again our readings remind us there is no middle ground, you either believe – or you do not. There is a limit as to how long you can stand at the crossroads trying to decide, the signposts are clear to those with eyes to see and those who cannot see – are in darkness.

Today the contrast between right and wrong ways has never been greater. The right way is always narrow as Jesus plainly said (Matthew 7:14): and as we read words in John’s Gospel today, words which are very familiar to many; but maybe not so familiar are the words which follow, but they are just as significant.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already” (John 3:16-18).

Jesus uses the simple illustration of the contrast between light and darkness – half light is of no value. When the truth of the Gospel begins to “dawn” in our minds we must not turn away from it, nor can we hold it at a distance, although some might think they can. Jesus sadly observes, “people loved darkness rather than light” (verse 19).

Then we noticed how Jesus used the word “true” and relates it to “light”. He says, “But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been carried out in God” (verse 21). Those who believe – must be conscious of this at all times and read God’s word constantly; remember David’s words, “Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105).

Again today in Proverbs (chapter 21) we had repeated reference to the contrast between the two paths; but note Solomon words, “Every way of man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the heart” (verse 2). If our “heart” is guided by the light of the gospel then we will demonstrate the truth of verse 11 – “when a wise man is instructed he (or she) gains knowledge” and verse 29, “the upright gives thought to his ways”. Let us give thought to our ways, and make sure we see the light with ever greater clarity for it shines brightly in the darkness for those with “eyes” to see.