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John 3:19

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

This is the condemnation - That is, this is the reason why any shall be found finally to perish, not that they came into the world with a perverted and corrupt nature, which is true; nor that they lived many years in the practice of sin, which is also true; but because they refused to receive the salvation which God sent to them.

Light is come - That is, Jesus, the Sun of righteousness, the fountain of light and life; diffusing his benign influences every where, and favoring men with a clear and full revelation of the Divine will.

Men loved darkness - Have preferred sin to holiness, Belial to Christ, and hell to heaven. חשך chashac, darkness, is frequently used by the Jewish writers for the angel of death, and for the devil. See many examples in Schoettgen.

Because their deeds were evil - An allusion to robbers and cut-throats, who practice their abominations in the night season, for fear of being detected. The sun is a common blessing to the human race - it shines to all, envies none, and calls all to necessary labor. If any one choose rather to sleep by day, that he may rob and murder in the night season, he does this to his own peril, and has no excuse: - his punishment is the necessary consequence of his own unconstrained actions. So will the punishment of ungodly men be. There was light - they refused to walk in it. They chose to walk in the darkness, that they might do the works of darkness - they broke the Divine law, refused the mercy offered to them, are arrested by Divine justice, convicted, condemned, and punished. Whence, then, does their damnation proceed? From Themselves.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

This is the condemnation - This is the cause of condemnation; or this is the reason why men are punished.

That light is come - Light often denotes instruction, teaching, doctrine, as that by which we see clearly the path of duty. all the instruction that God gives us by conscience, reason, or revelation may thus be called light; but this word is used especially to denote the Messiah or the Christ, who is often spoken of as “the light.” See Isaiah 60:1; Isaiah 9:2. Compare Matthew 4:16; also the notes at John 1:4. It was doubtless this light to which Jesus had particular reference here.

Men loved darkness - Darkness is the emblem of ignorance, iniquity, error, superstition - whatever is opposite to truth and piety. Men are said to love darkness more than they do light when they are better pleased with error than truth, with sin than holiness, with Belial than Christ.

Because their deeds are evil - Men who commit crime commonly choose to do it in the night, so as to escape detection. So men who are wicked prefer false doctrine and error to the truth. Thus the Pharisees cloaked their crimes under the errors of their system; and, amid their false doctrines and superstitions, they attempted to convince others that they had great zeal for God.

Deeds - Works; actions.

Ellen G. White
Lift Him Up, 139.6

We cannot overestimate the value of simple faith and unquestioning obedience. It is by following in the path of obedience in simple faith that the character obtains perfection. Adam was required to render strict obedience to God's commandments, and no lower standard is presented to those who desire salvation [today].... [Christ] says, “Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it. If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive” (John 14:13-17).... The world is leagued against the truth, because it does not desire to obey the truth. Shall I who perceive the truth close my eyes and heart to its saving power because the world chooses darkness rather than light? (Letter 119, 1895). LHU 139.6

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Ellen G. White
Lift Him Up, 361.2

It is Satan's settled purpose to cut off all communications between God and His people, that he may practice his deceptive wiles with no voice to warn them of their danger. If he can lead men to distrust the messenger, or to attach no sacredness to the message, he knows that they will feel under no obligation to heed the word of God to them. And when light is set aside as darkness, Satan has things his own way. LHU 361.2

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Ellen G. White
That I May Know Him, 116.4

Consider this statement a moment. Why “cannot” the world receive the truth? “Because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him” (verse 17). The world is leagued against the truth, because it does not desire to obey the truth. Shall I, who perceive the truth, close my eyes and heart to its saving power because the world chooses darkness rather than light? Shall I bind myself up with the bundles of tares because my neighbors refuse to be bound up with the wheat? Shall I refuse light, the evidence of truth which leads to obedience, because my relatives and friends choose to follow in the paths of disobedience which lead away from God? Shall I close my mind against the knowledge of truth because my neighbors and friends will not open their understanding to discern the truth as it is in Jesus? Shall I refuse to grow in the grace and knowledge of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ because my neighbors consent to remain dwarfs? ... TMK 116.4

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Ellen G. White
Reflecting Christ, 167.2

Our time, our strength, and our energies belong to God; and if they are consecrated to His service, our light will shine. It will affect first and most strongly those in our own homes, who are most intimately associated with us; but it will extend beyond the home, even to “the world.” To many it will be a savor of life unto life; but there are some who will refuse to see the light, or to walk in it. They are of that class spoken of by our Saviour, when He said: “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” Such are in a very dangerous position; but their course does not excuse any of us from letting our light shine. RC 167.2

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Ellen G. White
Faith and Works, 42.2

The conditions of eternal life are made so plain in God's Word that none need err, unless they choose error rather than truth because their unsanctified souls love the darkness rather than the light. FW 42.2

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