How does the Light of the World effect those who refuse to believe?

“And Jesus said, ‘For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.’” John 9:39

Jesus came into this world to bring “judgment” based on how people respond to Him. “Those who do not see may see” (9:39a) refers to those who admit their spiritual blindness and sin and call out to Christ to heal them of their spiritual blindness so they might see and believe the gospel. Christ will give spiritual sight to those who admit their spiritual blindness and their need for God’s forgiving grace. He will forgive those who come to Him in faith. 

“Those who [think they] see may be made blind” (9:39b), refers to the self-righteous, like the Pharisees, who refused to admit they were spiritually blind. They thought they already could see spiritually. Jesus came to show unbelievers like these religious experts that they were spiritually blind. Their works-salvation was spiritual blindness. Christ does not forgive the self-righteous because they do not see their need to come to Him for forgiveness. Instead, they are deceived by their own sin into thinking that they can be saved by their own works.

The deceitfulness of sin often makes self-righteous people,who are in the greatest need of God’s help, think that they are the most spiritually enlightened people. Only God’s Spirit, using God’s Word, can break through that deep darkness, to bring conviction of spiritual blindness, and to create an openness to the gospel.

Christ says to these spiritually blind religious leaders, “If you recognized your spiritual blindness and acknowledged your sin and guilt, you would have come to Me for forgiveness. And I would have forgiven you so “you would have no sin” (9:41a). But because you claim to have spiritual sight and deny your own sin, and refuse to come to Me for forgiveness, “your sin remains” (9:41b). These leaders refused to admit their sinfulness and need for a Savior. Therefore, their sins remain. They were swollen with pride. They loved the darkness and hated the Light. 

Someone once said, “The same sun that melts butter, hardens clay.” Light gives sight to some and it blinds others. Jesus has the same effects as the Light of the world (John 8:12; 9:5). The physical and spiritual healing of the man born blind reveals the healing power of Jesus Christ toward those who respond in faith toward Him (John 3:36a). But it also reveals the condemning power of Jesus Christ toward those who refuse to believe in Him (John 3:36b).