“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:14-18
Why is it that some will be saved and have everlasting life in heaven while others will be condemned to everlasting torment in hell? Those who are saved have forgiveness for their sins and everlasting life entirely because of God’s love and mercy in Christ Jesus. Those who are condemned are so entirely by their own fault for rejecting God’s grace and mercy in Jesus Christ.
Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). And, as Jesus said, God’s only begotten Son was “lifted up” for us on the cross and paid in full the punishment for the sins of the whole world (cf. John 3:14-15; cf. 1 John 2:1-2).
Therefore, as Jesus said, whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.
And it is as John writes: “He who believes in Him [Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son, who died for our sins and rose again] is not condemned.” The one who, by the grace and mercy of God, hears God’s Word and believes and trusts that in Jesus atonement has been made and his sins are paid for in full — is not condemned but is forgiven and has everlasting life. But, the one who does not believe and place his trust and confidence in the atoning sacrifice of God the Son “is condemned already”! And why? Not because his sins are worse than those of others and not because Christ Jesus did not pay in full for his sins when He suffered and died on the cross for the sins of the world; rather, it is “because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
Jesus is the only source of salvation — when God sent His only-begotten Son into the world to fulfill all righteousness for us and then pay the just penalty for our transgressions, He was and is the only way provided for lost sinners to be saved (cf. Acts 4:12; John 14:6). Those who do not look in faith to Jesus and His cross will not be saved!
It is just that simple. God, in love, “gave his only-begotten Son” as a true man, born of the Virgin Mary, to suffer and die for the sins of all. Those who, by the grace of God, look to Jesus and rely on Him for forgiveness are not condemned but have everlasting life! Those who do not look to Jesus and trust in His atoning sacrifice for their forgiveness are condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s only-begotten Son, the only Savior of lost sinners!
In his first epistle, John says it this way: “God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:11-12).
So, if by the grace of God, you look to Jesus for forgiveness and trust that He has paid in full for all your sins, you are not condemned but have everlasting life.
If, on the other hand, you do not look to Jesus and His blood shed on the cross for the forgiveness of all your sins, you are condemned already, not because your sins are too great or because Christ did not pay in full the just punishment for your sins, but because you have not believed and placed your trust in the only-begotten Son of God, the only Savior of the world!
Dear Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God and Son of man, grant that I repent of my sinful ways and trust in You alone for the forgiveness of all my sins and for life everlasting, and so be saved. Amen.
[Scripture is taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]