Jul 21, 2010

John 1:9 - William Styles

John 1:9, “That was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world:” cited to prove that the Spirit, in Christ’s name, imparts some measure of saving light to every man, which, if used and followed will result in his salvation. A. Barnes, however, explains the verse to mean that Jesus would enlighten, not every individual of the human family—but men of all nations, Gentiles as well as Jews which (1) accords with the context, which is a contrast between the ministries of John and Jesus, and a description of the latter; and (2) is necessitated by the verb rendered lighteth, which means enlighten, and cannot be understood to indicate the partial and transient illumination contended for (compare, “doth give the light” Luke 9:36; “will bring to light,” 1 Cor. 4:5; “enlightened,” Eph. 1:18; “made manifest,” 2 Tim. 1:10, “once enlightened,” Heb. 4:4, “illuminated,” Heb. 10:82, “lightened,” Rev. 18:1, ”lighten” Rev. 21:28, “giveth them light,” Rev. 22:5.) It is therefore clear that spiritual and saving illumination is intended, of which truly saved sinners only are the subjects, and that the text teaches the anti-national and world-wide character of the work of Him who “came into the world to save sinners.”

The verse has by some been supposed to refer to the light of reason or Conscience, bestowed by Christ on all men. It is certainly true that the Three-one God in the person of Christ created all men (page 12), and that the Lord may thus be considered as the author and giver of our rational and moral faculties. This, however, does not harmonize with the evident design of the passage which is to set forth the results of the incarnation and death of Jesus.

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