Paul S. Dixon (dixonps@juno.com)
Wed, 19 Nov 1997 18:35:21 EST

This verse has always intrigued me. It is the order stated that is
somewhat baffling. Christ says: hO DE POIWN THN ALHQEIAN ERCETAI PROS TO

If coming "to the light" refers to salvation, and if doing "the truth"
refers to the practice of righteousness (cf contrasting parallel in v.
20, hO FAULA PRASSWN), then I would have expected the opposite order: he
who comes to the light practices the truth. This would be in line with
John's instruction in 1 John 3:9-10, "no one who is begotten of God
practices sin ...and he cannot practice sin ... by this are manfest the
children of God and the children of the devil."

So, this verse seems to be saying that the doing or practicing of the
truth precedes and results in a coming to the light. Furthermore, it
seems to be saying that such works were performed (EIRGASMENA, perfect
passive indicative) in God, that is, in and by the power of God (EN QEWi
+ passive voice).

This harmonizes well with Christ's practice of evangelism. Jesus looked
for people who were "poor in spirit" (Mt 5). And, more than once when
asked what must be done to inherit eternal life (Lk 18:18ff, 10:25ff)
Jesus answered they should keep the law.

Is it possible some have missed the boat in downplaying the importance of
doing good works, of obeying the law of God, as a sign that such
individuals may be the most likely candidates to be evangelized,
especially since they give evidence that such good works have been done
in God and that they will come to the light?

Is there any other way to take this verse?

Paul Dixon