9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.
Verses 9-13 present the work of Christ.
9 That was the true [authentic] Light
The Word was the “true” Light in contrast to a false light (Jn 3:33; 5:31; 8:13). “True” in the Greek is something real or genuine as over against something fanciful or counterfeit. The Word is no type or symbol of the light; He was the authentic light. Jesus and His ministry were the genuine light that can change people’s lives. He was not a symbol of the truth; He was the truth (Jn 14:6).
which gives light [enlightens, brings to light, illumines]
Exposure to Christ as the Light exposes what we are and also what we can be. Christ Himself, not John the Baptizer, was the true light.
to every man coming into the world.
Jesus gives spiritual light to each and every person born into the world. He provided supreme illumination for all mankind. Whatever men may know about God, they know it through the Light of the world. He sheds this light whether men believe it or not.
The words “every man” means everyone without exception or distinction. God illumines both the elect and non-elect. The non-elect do not accept God’s revelation in Christ. They prefer darkness. If any do receive this message, it is due to God’s grace and conviction working on their hearts. “Many are called but few are chosen” (Mt 22:14). Light came into the world, but those who love darkness reject the gospel (Jn 3:19). There is an illumination that does not lead to salvation.
Enlightening every person who has ever been born does not convey universal salvation but simply illumination or exposure to the Light. Each individual must make a decision to respond to that Light.
God gives every man born into the world grace to become a Christian.
God sheds the light of Jesus on everyone. This light makes clear the spiritual need of the world and its solution. Those who respond to this light become born spiritually. Those who reject it end in spiritual darkness.
God gives grace that precedes human decision. It exists prior to and without reference to anything a human may have done (prevenient grace). There is enough light from God that any person who has ever been born into the world can believe. God’s provision of this grace does not mean that every person will believe. There is no truth in the idea that there are people who have never heard. Note this study: http://versebyversecommentary.com/romans/romans-118/
Jesus is the authentic Light from God (Jn 8:12; 9:5; 12:35, 46). Other men were mere flickers of the “true Light.” Jesus gave spiritual illumination that dispels sinful darkness and unbelief.
Eternal life does not come through general revelation or by some light within man. People receive it through the person and work of Christ.
Many refuse to come to the light (Jn 3:19-21). They will remain in the darkness of unbelief not because they did not receive revelation from God but because they deliberately prefer darkness to Christ (Jn 8:12; 9:5).
Does John 1:9 support the teaching of prevenient grace? According to this doctrine, God graciously and mercifully restores to all human beings the freedom of will lost in the fall of Adam. Prevenient grace provides people with the ability to choose or reject God. Some contend that ‘to give light” does not refer to inward illumination of the heart/mind/will, but rather means to expose the moral state of the heart, i.e., to shed light upon someone so as to reveal and uncover (see John 3:19-21).
JROCK, I always have a problem with mutual exclusive terminology. For example, “prevenient” was originally a Catholic term. Later, Reformers used it for “irresistible grace” (which I don’t believe in the sense that no one can resist becoming a believer. If it is used in the sense no person can resist being exposed to God’s work on his life, then I can accept it in this sense). However, it is clear that no one can become a Christian without God taking the initiative (Jn 16:8ff). There is much more work by God before a person becomes a Christian than any human agency. However, this does not mean that people will necessarily respond to the Holy Spirit’s ministry. Note the imperatives to believe in the NT. God has given every person free moral agency otherwise they would be robots who follow a god who is completely deterministic and who treats his subject as puppets.
Dr. Grant, what about all the lost tribes that have never even heard the name Jesuus?
Pam, I presume that your question relates to those who have never heard the gospel. Do they have culpability before God? Romans 1 answers that question. Start reading here and advancing to the next studies and you will see God’s answer to that question: https://versebyversecommentary.com/romans/romans-118/